It seems to me that reflexology and working with the elderly is a match made in heaven. Alternatives to medications are always of interest because they are often safer and with fewer side effects.
People usually seem rejuvenated after a reflexology session (and if they’re not, it’s because the body needed to rest a bit longer). Reflexology definitely shows results and it’s proven all the way back to ancient times.
Not only have nursing homes accepted reflexology as a powerful complementary and alternative therapy, reflexology has also found its place in eldercare and hospice.
Reflexology from a well trained reflexologist can do a lot to ensure better health or faster recovery.
Here are some facts that define why reflexology is so essential in hospice and nursing homes:
• Reflexology helps to relieve pain and of course, this makes a person feel good and relaxed. It might reduce the necessity of pain reliever medicines which can have certain side effects, but this will have to be determined by a medical professional only.
• It can really help someone feel rejuvenated with less stiffness and thus carry their day to day activities with more ease and comfort.
• Reflexology enhances blood circulation thus ensuring speedier recovery since it helps and improves the lymph, nerves and muscles to function back to normal.
• The client can be sitting up or lying down and there’s no need to roll over or to disrobe in order to receive and feel the benefits.
• Reflexology helps increase body awareness and is stimulating to the nervous system. Better nerve function can help maintain faster responses and thus able to deal with day to day activities in a better way.
• And, reflexology is safe and compassionate touch, without being too invasive.
The elderly are a large segment of the population and can feel isolated and be lonely, even when they are in facilities like nursing homes. The touch they receive in institutions is mostly for practical purposes and is often mechanical making reflexology a greatly appreciated experience especially because of its attentive and non-invasive qualities.
There are things you need to remember when working with the elderly:
Since the elderly tend to suffer from more illnesses and have more complications from these, always check with a medical professional before beginning to work with anyone who has health issues. This is so much easier to do when the client is in a nursing home or hospice because medical professionals are right there on staff.
Use less pressure when starting to work with an elderly client because their organ systems are older and may be slower than someone who is younger. There’s no need to move too deeply or too quickly, certainly not until you have established what the tolerance to the reflexology is, and maybe never if you’re working in a hospice setting.
Make the session shorter - there’s no need to tax the body. The therapeutic benefits are still there and with a shorter session, you won’t be overdoing what they might need or appreciate.
Of course there are always exceptions. I’ve been working with a client for almost 10 years. She’s 94 years young and has been doing yoga for over 50 years. She has the physicality of a 60 year old (one who would be in excellent shape). For longer than I’ve known her, she’s had a massage session and a reflexology session on alternating weeks. She eats well and has never indulged in sweets or desserts.
This is my one exception to the above mentioned rules and also a road map on how to stay healthy and live well.
©Wendy Coad, www.reflexologyprof.com
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