As the U.S. population ages, massage and movement therapies will benefit elderly clients in a variety of ways.

Massage has been shown to benefit elderly stroke patients. In other research, movement therapy was shown to benefit balance and gait in older clients.

Just-published research shows that massage and mobilization of the feet and ankles in elderly adults assist them with balance and agility.

According to the U.S. Department of Disease Control and prevention, the number of people in the U.S. over age 65 will grow to 19.6 percent of our population—or 71 million people—in 2030. (Up from 35 million people in 2000.)

For the new study, researchers at the Universitaire de Grenoble in France aimed to evaluate the effects of a session of plantar massage and joint mobilization of the feet and ankles on clinical balance performance in 28 elderly people, and administered a randomized, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial.

The research is running in the May 7 issue of Manual Therapies.