National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month & Massage Therapy

 

alzheimers and massage

What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Effecting almost 4.5 million Americans, Alzheimer’s disease is a neurological disease that causes the nerve cells in the brain to deteriorate and die. As the condition progresses, it becomes more difficult for the brain to transmit signals to the body. The common symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include impaired thinking and memory, confusion, and decreased physical capabilities. Most people experience varying degrees of symptoms, and symptoms may not be present in the early stages of the disease.

What Is the Difference Between Alzheimer’s And Dementia?

Dementia in itself is not a disease. It is a group of symptoms that relate to several different conditions. It’s basically a collective term in diagnosing symptoms of mental deterioration. Over 50% of all cases of dementia are caused by Alzheimer’s disease. However, the presence of dementia is not always indicative of Alzheimer’s. Other diseases that cause dementia include Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, Pick’s, and Lewy body. Sometimes the brain can develop dementia in conjunction with other illnesses like poisoning from drug or alcohol use, infections of the brain or spinal cord, or vitamin deficiencies.

What Are the Benefits of Massage for Alzheimer’s Disease Patients?

Therapeutic massage not only benefits the body, it can also calm the mind. Massage can help people with Alzheimer’s disease relax and can ease some of the symptoms associated with dementia. This is due to the fact that massage increases circulation to the brain. A study conducted at a Canadian home for Alzheimer’s patients showed that those treated with massage were calmer and had less disruptive behavior. Massage also increases the psychosocial health of patients with dementia, where they may be more antisocial and upset otherwise.

Of course, massage may not always be appropriate for some. Every individual with Alzheimer’s has their own set of symptoms and behavior patterns. Someone who does not like to be touched should not be forced into having a massage. Likewise, someone who is too frail or otherwise should not receive a massage should not be given one. It is important to discuss massage as an option with the patient’s primary care doctor first.

 Alzheimer’s disease massage therapy

What Other Treatments Can Help Prevent or Slow Down Alzheimer’s Disease?

While there is no 100% certain way to prevent the disease, there are some things you can do to limit its progress. Firstly, avoid things that could lead to the development of dementia. These include not smoking, not using illicit drugs, and limiting alcohol consumption.

Beneficial activities include exercising regularly and getting enough vitamins. Vitamin B12 and folates are particularly important, as a deficiency in either has been shown to be a cause of dementia. Sensory therapies such as music or art can help those who already have Alzheimer’s, because they help to stimulate memory and other senses.

There are many other alternative therapies that claim to be beneficial for Alzheimer’s. These include coenzyme Q10 and omega-3 fatty acids. However, these treatments have not necessarily been studied enough, and they are not regulated by the FDA as a treatment for the disease. When it comes to taking any supplements, it is important to discuss them with a primary physician first.

Appreciating Caregivers – Massage Therapy in Chandler, Arizona

Caregivers for patients with Alzheimer’s are some of the most compassionate people in the world. It is a tough and emotionally draining job, but they continue to care for our most vulnerable population, often without thanks. This is why we would like to take a moment to remind all of those hardworking caregivers, and those who know them, that massage is also a wonderful relief for them as well. They deserve so much more for the sacrifices they have made, but we hope the comfort of a stress-relieving massage can show them part of the appreciation they’ve earned.

 

Dr. David Voyer

Dr. David Voyer

Advanced Back and Neck Care is dedicated to helping you achieve your wellness objectives -- combining skill and expertise that spans the entire wellness spectrum. You will find the main entrance to our state of the art Physical Therapy, Chiropractic, Medical Massage, and Strength training facility.
Dr. David Voyer

 

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