When older adults fall, the results can be catastrophic, resulting in decreased mobility and independence, increased morbidity, and even death.

Massage can help.

Research conducted recently by investigators in the Department of Kinesiology at Auburn University, in Auburn, Alabama found massage therapy resulted in “immediate and long-term improvements in postural stability and blood pressure, compared to a controlled condition,” according to an abstract published on www.pubmed.gov.

This study, which was published in the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, looked at the effects of six weekly 60-minute, full-body massage sessions on balance, nervous system and cardiovascular measures in older adults.

Long-term benefits were assessed by comparing the massage and control groups on pretreatment baseline measures at week six and a follow-up assessment at week seven, according to the abstract.

Among the results:

• The massage group showed significant differences relative to controls in cardiovascular and displacement area/velocity after the week six session, with decreasing blood pressure and increasing stability over time from immediate post- massage to 60 minutes post-massage.

• Long-term differences between the groups were detected at week seven in displacement area/velocity and systolic blood pressure.