The woman in her 80s hadn’t spoken in months. The nursing home staff figured she had lost the ability. But after six months of massage sessions, therapist Dawn Nelson heard a soft voice utter: “That feels good.”

Nelson, author of From the Heart Through the Hands and creator of the program “Compassionate Touch For Those in Later Life Stages,” says massage has improved quality of life for many older clients. In addition to boosting circulation, easing stress and relieving aches and pains, all important physiologically for people who don’t move around much, massage bestows a basic need the elderly often go without: touch.

The Charlotte Observer, Charlotte, North Carolina, Jan. 3, 2012