Houston Forward Times

06 April 2014 Written by  Valecia Weeks

Aging Doesn’t Mean “OLD”

Have you ever heard the phrase, "only clothes get old"? Whether you are a marathon running boomer or running after your grandkids, you and I both know that growing old doesn’t actually mean "growing old". If you are curious about how to stave off the effects of aging, consider utilizing preventative and restorative massage. That just might be what your body ordered.

Improved Circulation, Healthier Skin As our bodies mature, our circulation slows and our skin loses some of its elastic effect and its once youthful vitality. The mechanical nature of massage combats these effects by improving body circulation through the manipulation of tissue, which improves the appearance and condition of the skin and its elasticity and also tones muscle tissue. Massage also stimulates the cell function in the skin, thus, increasing the production of sebum which nutures the skin.

Squashing the Pain It is a reality that part of the aging process, unfortunately, involves dealing with aches and pains. You may suddenly realize that a normal day of gardening will bring you back pain that you have never experienced before or that the before. Although pain is a constant source of grief for an again body, massage can make a difference. The passive movement in massage keeps joints more mobile and stimulates the synovial fluid, which lubricates the joints and nourishes the cartilage. Massage also prompts the release of endorphins and other pain-reducing neurochemicals.

In addition to the pains of physical exertion an aging body experiences, the discomfort caused by arthritis can be just as debilitating. While it is doubtful an arthritic joint can "heal" completely with massage, it can feel better. And for an arthritis sufferer, better is a welcome word, particularly when there are no side effects involved.

Whether it’s reducing the symptoms of arthritis, or simply addressing the aches and pains of living an active life, massage can play an important role in aging well.

Psychological Value In addition to all the physical benefits massage offers, there also are proven psychological changes we experience with massage. One of the reasons massage feels so relaxing is that there is a literal psychological benefit as dopamine and serotonin become balanced in the system. And when massage produces oxytocin in the body, there is a sense of being nurtured. Add that to the restorative effect that comes from those quiet moments during massage, and you’ve got a process that experts say is incredibly healing.

Aging, obviously, is a process none of us can avoid. As Benjamin Franklin said, "When you’re finished changing, you’re finished." Turn the inevitability of aging into a positive process of change and let massage and bodywork help you along the journey.

MAA WereReady