People have been saying it for years—some of the most successful business models of the near future will be those that focus on caring for the aging population. This is because the number of senior citizens in the world is rising at a rapid rate, making this age group one of the largest sectors of society.

This is something to consider in the realm of massage therapy and bodywork as well, especially if you are seeking a niche that will allow you to thrive as a practitioner of healthy touch. The specialized field of geriatric massage and bodywork is one that might appeal to touch therapists on a variety of levels.

For one, the ability to provide a satisfying service to the elderly—who too often are woefully starved for touch—could be highly rewarding. In addition, with the aging population on the rise, it could also mean good things for your bottom line in business. There also exist numerous outlets that may be amenable to offering geriatric massage.

One great way to “dip your toes in the water” of this specialized bodywork niche is by enrolling in a continuing education class that focuses on massage for the elderly client. That way, you can get a taste of what this work might be like and decide if it’s the niche for you, or simply another tool to add to your bodywork skill kit.

Before you go ahead and reserve your spot in such a class, be it online or in person, first consider whether you need continuing education credits to renew your massage or bodywork license. This is typically the case for those touch practitioners who live in areas where the field of massage and bodywork is regulated.

If you live in one of these areas, check in with the governing board to find out if there are any specific requirements in terms of what kind of courses or providers will count toward the continuing education credits you need in order to keep your credential current.

Needless to say, if it’s possible for you to rack up continuing education credits while exploring new niches in massage and bodywork, you have a win-win situation.

Once you’ve sorted out such details, you can go about selecting a continuing education course that will introduce you to the basics of geriatric massage and bodywork. Such a class should cover foundational topics, such as how best to interact with elderly clients, what type of lubricants to use on their skin, the amount of pressure that works best and other basic and important issues.

This course may also introduce its pupils to a few of the outlets where a massage therapist or bodyworker skilled in geriatric touch therapy might find great work. These might include hospitals, nursing homes, businesses that offer in-home care for the elderly and more.

If you enjoy what you learn about geriatric massage, you may then consider enrolling in more advanced continuing education courses on the topic, where you could learn about touch techniques for common ailments among the elderly.

—Brandi Schlossberg