How Assisted Stretch Therapy Can Improve Seniors' Quality Of Life

14 December 2021
 Categories: , Blog


As a person ages, it's important for them to maintain their flexibility to stay active and independent. High-impact exercises may not be an option, but seniors can still reap similar health benefits with low-impact work and assisted stretch therapy. Take a look at why seniors tend to lose their range of motion with age and why assisted stretching can help improve their quality of life.

Why Do People Lose Their Range of Motion as They Age?

While degenerative conditions, like arthritis, can certainly contribute to the loss of flexibility, healthy individuals can still lose some flexibility as they age. As a person ages, their skin elasticity decreases, as does their muscle tone. The body tends to stay less hydrated, which can cause stiffness in one's tendons, joints, and spinal column.

How Does Assisted Stretching Work?

During assisted stretching sessions, a therapist will support certain areas of your body so that you can achieve deeper stretching positions without injuring yourself. Some stretch therapists incorporate other modalities during their sessions, such as Thai yoga massage, cupping therapy, or Graston therapy (where the therapist uses instruments to break up fascial adhesions). Your therapist can help you stretch common target areas, such as the hip flexors, hamstrings, and rotator cuffs.

What are the Benefits of Assisted Stretch Therapy?

Assisted stretching helps loosen up fascia, the network of connective tissue that surrounds joints, muscles, bones, etc. Fascia has a lot of proprioceptors, which help the body with spatial orientation. If the fascia becomes tight, then you can lose that sense of spatial orientation, which could affect your balance and gait. Assisted stretching helps you improve your balance so that you can avoid injuries, like slip-and-fall accidents.

One study found that assisted stretching programs could reduce age-related range of motion losses and improve physical performance in individuals that wanted to perform high-intensity exercises. Regular stretching sessions is vital to seniors' well-being since it increases mobility and relieves aches and pains. Another study found that stretching could help people reduce their risk of strokes and heart attacks since stretching improves blood flow and decrease the stiffness of arteries.

Lastly, like other massage modalities, stretch therapy can help seniors improve their mental well-being. Some seniors can suffer from depression due to isolation, so assisted stretching is beneficial because touch therapy can increase oxytocin and endorphins and decrease cortisol, a stress-related hormone.  

Reach out to a massage therapist or an assisted stretch therapist in your area today to learn more about assisted stretching and its benefits.