At-Home Massage & Home-Bound Individuals: An Option Often Overlooked

People become homebound for a variety of reasons, from ongoing personal health issues or advanced age to acute injury or an operation.  After a major surgery, patients are often instructed by their doctors to rest for a period of time.  Some clients are restricted to their homes because of mobility issues, such as arthritis.  The elderly, pre-natal and post-natal women, and others, are sometimes confined to the home as well.

While Physical therapists, nurses, and home aides travel to a client’s home, more often  than not, at-home massage therapy is often neglected as part of a wellness plan.  Bedridden clients, and homebound clients who do not walk or exercise regularly, can develop a number of health issues which massage therapy can help to address..

At-home massage is an effective means of helping relieve pain in sore, atrophied muscles caused by a lack of use, a common complaint in homebound individuals.  Muscle wasting begins after less than one week of immobilization. (McComas A. Skeletal Muscle: Form and Function. Champaign: Human Kinetics, 1996)  As a complement to physical therapy, therapeutic massage can help clients recover faster after a period of bed rest or limited mobility.

Depression is also common in homebound persons.  For some, such as those confined to bed after an accident, the abrupt change in daily life can be a lot to deal with.  Others, such as the elderly, may involve  long-standing unresolved issues associated with aging.  Although no studies have been undertaken to prove that massage therapy combats depression specifically, it is well documented that massage therapy clients experience  a greater sense of well-being after a session.

While depression is a complex condition that may require  professional treatment (part of which should include dealing with the underlying issues in the person’s life), at-home massage therapy may be a useful adjunct in  helping to ease  a homebound client’s depression.  Being restricted to bed, or even the confines of the home, is often stressful on both a physical and psychological level.  At-home therapeutic massage can help address these issues, helping the client to begin to feel better, all around.

Regularly scheduled massage sessions with a competent therapist are a great addition to at-home allopathic care.  Chances are, a homebound individual’s health care provider, whether a home aide, physician, nurse, or physical therapist will agree, as mounting clinical evidence proves therapeutic massage’s efficacy.


© Copyright 2011 H Miller

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