The woman—in her 80s—hadn’t spoken in months. The nursing home staff figured she had lost the ability. But after six silent months of regular massage sessions, massage 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, not-so-mobile clients.

In addition to boosting circulation, easing stress and relieving aches and pains … massage bestows a basic human need the elderly often go without: touch.

The Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Illinois, Dec. 14, 2011