Can Massage Help My Mother with Alzheimer’s



Recently a potential client of ViVi Therapy requested via email if her mother would benefit from massage therapy.  Here is how I answered:

Alzheimer’s is a neurological condition that would need exploring with each individual as to how they would respond to massage therapy.

There is no question that Massage Therapy and Acupuncture would have a positive effect on neurological receptors in both the central and autonomic  nervous system leading to  relaxation, reduction in anxious behavior and myofascial release.  The improvement of areas of  poor circulation can also be of benefit for a multitude of auxiliary conditions of aged care.  Craniosacral Therapy offered by our in house Physiotherapist would also be highly recommended for neurological calming and to encourage the bodies own innate harmonizing ability. The effect on the autonomic nervous system alone would enhance her well being and curtail the onset of anxiety that is often experienced with the confusion of memory loss.


The issue lies in how your mother would accept someone touching and handling her.  I would be curious about her own past experiences with both bodywork and touch of any kind and whether she has had a positive response to touch in general over her life time.  Past traumas can factor in to the overall response someone has to particular styles of touch.  A skilled practitioner would know how to safely interact with your mother.

We often experience family members desperate to help their aging parents in any possible way and frustrated with lack of resources seeking massage therapy and other natural modalities we offer. She would be helped by regular massage and or acupuncture for maintenance of circulation to the brain in your case and other muscular skeletal conditions.  In theory this is a great idea.

In my professional opinion as a long standing Registered Massage Therapist I feel it really depends on if during her lifetime she has cultivated a knowledge of the benefits of massage and some level of muscle memory that was pleasant while having massage or comforting touch in the past.  It boils down to her having had a positive therapeutic experience from human contact that you could remind them of.  Another factor is the environment and timing of the therapy being the least disruptive to their daily routine as possible.

I sincerely hope you find my answer helpful.  I know we can provide a great service and have no doubt of its overall efficacy. It is really just how it is received and being able to facilitate visits on a regular basis.

Again in my professional opinion a course of a 3 or 4 weekly visits would be in order to give it a chance to observe results based on the other factors mentioned above.