Human Touch: Can Massage Be Useful For Someone With Alzheimer's Disease?

There's often a specific trigger for seeking out massage therapy care. Perhaps you pulled a muscle, have a repetitive stress injury, or maybe you just want to de-stress in general. Massage can be unexpectedly helpful when applied to conditions you might not have thought would benefit from this type of care. For example, have you ever considered how massage therapy can help a loved one affected by Alzheimer's disease? 

Quality of Life

To be clear, massage isn't going to cure any form of degenerative illness, but nobody is suggesting that it will (or at least, they really shouldn't be). In terms of massage therapy for a loved one with Alzheimer's disease, massage can be a valuable tool in helping to improve quality of life, meaning it can be another useful way to help manage the condition. But how exactly does it help?

Stress and Anxiety

Have you ever had a massage? It can help you to forget about stress and anxiety. For many people, this is largely the point of receiving a massage. It's the same for someone with Alzheimer's disease. Massage has a calmative effect, which helps to reduce feelings of agitation, confusion, and anxiety—all of which can be a burden for someone affected by Alzheimer's disease.

Human Contact

The simple act of human contact can ease the mental pressure that someone afflicted by Alzheimer's disease lives with each day. It's tremendously relaxing, but this new and novel situation means that this relaxation may not be automatic. You should be present during the massage sessions, with your familiar presence helping your loved one to stay calm and appreciate the full benefits of the session. You have the option of having a massage therapist visit you at home, or going to a salon—it really depends on your circumstances (and what is in the best interests of your loved one).

Additional Physical Considerations

There may also be direct remedial targets for massage therapy, and this is applicable if your loved one has any mobility issues, muscle rigidity, or needs assistance in recovering from an injury (such as a fall). Any considerations such as these must be discussed with your chosen massage therapist when arranging the session, and you may also want to talk to your loved one's physician.

Massage can be a very soothing experience, and when someone is affected by Alzheimer's disease, chances are that they will appreciate being soothed, helping to alleviate the stress associated with this difficult condition. 

Contact a local massage therapist to learn more about massage therapy treatment.