I’m surprised how few elderly people come to visit me in Highbury – despite the fact that I offer them a discount. I would say about 95% of my clients are in their 20s and 30s, the rest are in their 40s and 50s. It’s very rare that I see someone in their 60s or older. Why is this? Perhaps going to see a massage therapist was not part of their thinking when they were growing up, perhaps they see it as something younger, fitter people do, or that it’s seen as an indulgence. Whatever the reason, it’s clear to me that older people can benefit more than anyone from a massage.
Whenever I treat an older person, I’m moved by how little I have to do to make them feel better. For a start, older people are often strangers to touch and to be touched after years of physical isolation is a very powerful thing. Just to be touched can make an older person feel more human again.
And then of course, there’s the truth that older people are usually in much greater need of a massage. Their muscles are not as strong, their physical structure is degenerating, there’s wear and tear and, even worse, shrinkage! Older people go about with aches and pains but few think of getting a massage.
Like fragile Chinese vases, older people need careful handling, but they respond in such positive ways that it’s a real pleasure to treat them. Our population is getting older and we need to think about how we can grow old without so much pain. Keeping fit by exercising and eating sensibly goes a long way. And the odd massage now and then to work on those old muscles and help keep a person limber, is both a physical and emotional boon. So go on, treat someone you know who’s old to a massage.