Massage therapy can be highly beneficial for hospice patients. Along with providing a means of relaxing and comfort. According to the American Massage Therapy Association, it has proven to significantly decrease pain and anxiety. Other symptoms and conditions that massage therapy can improve include:
Depression and mood disorders
So why is positive touch so powerful? Research shows that because we experience touch at birth as one of the first sensations that welcomes us into the world, it only makes sense that it should be one of the last perceptions we have before we pass. Touch has been found to raise the blood pressure of people in a deep coma. Research has also shown it can penetrate the nonverbal state of Alzheimer’s patients who may blurt out a cohesive sentence while receiving massage to the effect of “that feels good,” only to go right back to their silent world. Touch can penetrate the semi-comatose state people experience when on severe painkillers to give the overall treatment an element of human contact. Many times, patients reduce their demand for drugs when receiving massage therapy.
The type of massage therapy for hospice patients is different from the standard approach. Massage therapists would use geriatric massage techniques focused on the amelioration of pain, instead of using the vigorous approaches of deep tissue work or acupressure.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING A SESSION?
MASSAGE THERAPY SOOTHES THE SOUL, BODY AND MIND.
According to the Mayo Clinic, when patients are able to relax, pain is lessened and a sense of well-being has a chance to take over, allowing the patient to experience greater peace. Massage involves caring and a ‘safe touch.’ This, together with pain relief, produces a “relaxation response,” where the heart and breathing rates slow, blood pressure goes down, production of stress hormones decreases, and muscles relax, according to the University of Minnesota. The relaxation response also increases the available level of serotonin, a chemical in the body that affects emotions and thoughts. It may also decrease the physical effects of stress and the risks that come with it, such as anxiety, hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, insomnia, fatigue, digestive disorders and psychological issues.
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Guiding Light Hospice is a registered, community-based hospice care agency that is licensed by the State of Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) and Medicare (CMS). We are also accredited through the Community Health Accreditation Program (CHAP).