Massage and the Five Stages of Aging

 

Although regular exercise might delay the aging process, or at least make it easier to deal with, the inevitable eventually happens.  Aging gradually creeps up on us, and it usually happens in five different stages. Massage therapy makes it more tolerable.

Stage One: The Devolution of Posture

As early as your teenage years,  activities such as prolonged sitting, carrying a heavy briefcase or working on a computer begin to take their toll on your posture.  By the middle years, and thereafter, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain an upright alignment. By reinforcing healthy movement patterns, regular massage therapy sessions can ease the body back into proper alignment and encourage a pain-free alignment. The resulting muscle relaxation alleviates pressure points. Over time, your body intuitively learns to avoid the posture that triggered the initial pain.

Stage Two: Strength Declines

When muscle fibres decrease in size and number and nerve stimulation to the muscles diminishes. The rhythmic kneading movements of massage therapy stimulates the dormant reflexes in your muscle fibres, thereby restoring muscular tone. At the same time, massage guides blood and other vital nutrients to damaged muscle groups, thereby hastening the growth and repair process.

Stage Three: The Deterioration of Balance

As aging advances, your joints lose some of their range of motion. This part of the aging process has an adverse effect on balance, because your body can no longer perform the recovery movements needed to keep itself from falling. The results of a study published in the Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork indicate that older adults improved dynamic stability after six weeks of massage therapy sessions. The research team also discovered that the massage sessions lowered the participants’ blood pressure.

Stage Four: Loss of Flexibility

When your connective tissue loses its elasticity, your flexibility declines. Massage therapy manoeuvres your muscles, connective tissues, tendons, ligaments, and joints, thereby increasing flexibility, mobility and movement fluidity.  These improvements make you less vulnerable to the injuries that often accompany the aging process.

Stage Five: Decreased Endurance

During the latter stages of the aging process, you might notice that your regular walk to the store suddenly seems much longer than it actually is. The deadly cocktail of weaker muscles, diminished flexibility and stiffer lungs and blood vessels causes this disturbing loss of stamina. A group of researchers at McMaster University discovered that deep massage therapy after a workout caused muscular enlargement, whilst triggering the growth of new mitochondria.  When your mitochondria, the power source of your cells, perform their alchemy, they convert nutrients into usable energy, improving your ability to utilise oxygen and enhancing muscular and cardiovascular endurance.

Don’t let the aging process get the better of you. Book an appointment with one of our massage therapists. Ask us about how Pilates can help as well!

Simply call us at Happy Physio on (08) 9272 7359. We look forward to meeting you soon!