Osteoporosis and Massage
Often, clients who have been diagnosed with Osteoporosis can be nervous about having a massage due to the nature of the condition which weakens bones, leaving the client at risk of fractures and breaks with undue stress on the body. However, massage is a great way to help clients with Osteoporosis as it can help wellbeing, improve muscle health, and improve circulation throughout the body.
But not all massage techniques are suitable, and it is essential to ensure a trained massage therapist is fully aware of the condition and best ways to treat it. Techniques which help include myofascial work, hot stone therapy, and Swedish techniques such as pickups and effleurage to name but a few, and this tailored massage can be hugely beneficial to client’s wellbeing as well as physical health.
Osteoporosis and importance of muscle health
Osteoporosis is a medical condition which weakens your bones through a degeneration of bone density. It is normal as we age for our bone density to reduce, however it happens for some people quicker than others, resulting in osteoporosis. This can happen at any age, whilst it is most common in older age groups. Bone density provides strength through the bone and provides support on impact. A bone density scan organised by your doctor can detect this medical condition. Women are more common than men to develop osteoporosis - mainly due to the menopause having a weakening effect on bone density. Other health conditions can affect bone density such as diabetes, Hyperthyroidism, and inflammatory conditions. Also, lifestyle habits such as not exercising regularly, drinking or smoking can have an impact.
Muscle health is very important for clients with Osteoporosis as they are dependent on strong muscles to help prevent undue force on their bones. Building muscular health through non-impact sport such as swimming can be beneficial. Those with a history of osteoporosis in their family can help protect against the condition through strength training including weightlifting which helps build bone density.
Proprioception and benefits of massage
Proprioception is how we perceive our body in the surrounding space i.e., how we walk through a doorway and not bump into the door frame, or how we place a cup on a table without smashing the cup or damaging the table. It is the combination of all our senses to enable us to live in a space safely.
"Proprioceptive senses include several physical senses: the senses of position and movement of our limbs and trunk, the sense of effort, the sense of force, and the sense of heaviness. These senses combine to provide us with a mental image or understanding of the physical actions and positions of the body and to create physical stability and balance."
As we age, our proprioception can deteriorate, especially if we have a fall or develop a medical condition which can limit our physicality.
Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretching - which can be incorporated into a massage treatment - can be very effective at helping alleviate some of the negative connections with clients and their body. This helps with restoring and strengthening a neurological connection with the limbs and brain; and improving the body's confidence in movement, as well as reducing the chances of a fall or knocking into things.
Physical conditions impact our mental wellbeing and can negatively affect the way we see our body. When clients are diagnosed, they can feel nervous and unsure, not trusting their own body. Massage can help reconnect clients in a positive way to their body and build confidence, it's a great tool to build a positive life and move on from a diagnosis.
If you would like to discuss massage therapy to help with a condition, do get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we can arrange a complimentary consultation.