Swedish massage an effective way to handle everyday aches

Posted May 18, 2012, at 8:46 a.m.

Gardening is hard work, no doubt about it. While the end result is beautiful, you might end up with more than pretty flowers or fresh vegetables to show for your trouble. You might find yourself with kinks in all the wrong places. Now think about fragrant essential oils, soft music and getting the stiffness and soreness worked out of those tired muscles.

People used to think of massage as something solely for the rich or professional athletes. Not so anymore. What was once reserved for “someone else” is now commonly used by everyone. Tight muscles, stiff joints, or simply the need for relaxation are but a few of the reasons the art of Swedish massage has rapidly gained popularity.

While massage can be advantageous for everyone, seniors may derive added benefits:

• Improved circulation, which naturally lubricates joints, brings heat and more nutrition to muscles, and increases the removal of waste.

• mproved skin function by stimulating sebaceous glands, which lubricate the skin with the body’s own oils.

• Reduction in anxiety and nervousness as the body releases natural endorphins and relaxants.

• Relieves muscle aches, pain while improving muscular tone.

• Increased flexibility and strength, which is needed for tasks such as climbing stairs, getting in and out of a tub or chair.

• Increased range of motion and coordination.

Typically, new clients will fill out forms regarding their health status. And while massage can be very therapeutic, if there are any health concerns, such as osteoporosis, high blood pressure, or edema, check with a physician before booking an appointment. If you aren’t asked to complete a health status form, be sure to let your massage therapist know if you have these conditions. It is also important to disclose if you are taking certain medications, particularity blood thinners.

So what can you expect from a massage? Your therapist will use techniques to relax you and ease stiff muscles, such as tapping, rolling the skin and kneading gently. You are in charge of how much pressure is used. A massage can also be tailored to a client’s needs. Specific parts of the body can be avoided if necessary or targeted for extra work.

The whole idea behind therapeutic massage is to facilitate change and balance within the body, mind and spirit.

When looking for a massage therapist it is important to verify credentials by asking questions such as:

• Are you licensed to practice massage?

• What types of massage do you offer?

• Where did you receive your massage training?

• Do you have experience working with seniors and conditions such as arthritis, etc.?

Again, feeling relaxed is of utmost importance. If you are not comfortable, aside from possible first-time massage jitters, look for another therapist.

Come get a chair massage at the Senior Expo, at 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Friday, May 20, at Spectacular Event Center, 395 Griffin Road, Bangor. There are more than 80 vendors, dozens of door prizes, screenings all day and refreshments.

Bring your expired medication for the Penobscot County Drug Drop-Off box so they can be disposed of properly. The Gold Experts will be on hand if you want to sell any old gold or silver and you can take a rest on the Sleep Number bed. Visit all the vendors. You never know what you’ll find.

Extra parking is behind the Airport Mall. Hop on a free shuttle bus provided by Winterberry Heights or Sunbury Village that will bring you right to the Expo door.

Don’t miss the Senior Expo. Free admission.

Carol Higgins Taylor is director of communications at Eastern Area Agency on Aging. Email Higgins Taylor at chtaylor@eaaa.org. For information on EAAA, call 941-2865, toll-free 800-432-7812, email info@eaaa.org or visit http://www.EAAA.org. TTY 992-01

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