Dementia Massage Therapy

Touch builds up relationships. Touch signals safety and trust.


Touch is an incredible sense and is frequently ignored, particularly with our elders. We sometimes forget the power we have when we touch someone. We can tell instantly how someone is feeling by the way that they touch us, be it a grabbing of the arm or simply a hug or reassurance.


We are naturally drawn to comfort infants with touch, what about our elders living with severe dementia? Touch is one of our most basic human needs and remains constant throughout our lives, Elders with Dementia are often deprived of that nurturing touch and meaningful physical closeness.


There is clinical proof that just 10/15 mins of massage a day can calm the sympathetic nervous system down making significant difference in Cognitive behaviour for someone suffering with Dementia. That’s just 10 mins of your uninterrupted time to sit, listen and interact with your patient through the emotional involvement of touch.
I have done my own research on this with my Father who had Dementia for some 10 years. By massaging his hands, sometimes his feet, he was completely calm, relaxed and no longer agitated, as he often use to like to wrap things up, and constantly folding things up and generally feeling agitated, by the end of the massage, he was completely relaxed. For me the most interesting and touching part of this was for most of the time, he didn’t actually know who I was, but always remembers the fact that he had had the massage when it was time for his next session. This memory recall meant that he had obviously enjoyed the experience of the massage which for me was a happy and emotional experience.


When massaging someone with Dementia, Rhythm, Touch and Repetition is important as repetition creases a sense of calm and safety in their environment.


Let's create a picture to understand what this comfort massage might encompass, I want you to put yourself in the client's shoes for just a moment. Imagine sitting in your home or your room in an assisted-living facility. You don't know what day it is, you're not sure where you are, and you think you are supposed to be doing something, but are not quite sure what it is. You stare at your reflection in the bathroom mirror, then look at your toothbrush, back at your reflection, then notice your toothbrush again, and can't quite remember whether or not you have already brushed your teeth. What once was an automatic morning task now seems daunting. And if you are at the beginning of your illness, you might still realize that you have become forgetful. You might smile, you may even laugh at your poor memory, or you might become terribly frustrated, even agitated.

Aspire – Massage Skills for Workers Supporting Older People in Acute Settings

This is part of my teaching at the North Middlesex Hospital under my company
‘Aspire Massage Training’ where I worked under the instruction of Dr Sophie Edwards, Head Geriatrician (who now works at The London hospital). The Power of Touch was about reaching out to people with Alzheimers/Dementia… whilst respecting their Dignity. Communication skills and practical skills were taught amongst the class of Nurses, Occupational Therapists and HCA’s. The course ran over 2 days and covered a range of topics, followed by an exam on hand massage.


Accept the person for who they are
Support the person to have quality of life
Person centered care
Inclusion in community and society
Respect the person’s views, opinions and choices
Encourage the person to achieve their wishes and goals

The benefits:

  • Increases body awareness and alertness
  • Reduces the feelings of confusion and anxiety
  • Eases the effects of isolation, loneliness and boredom
  • Encourages feelings of worthiness and well-being

Source: Click Here


J STANFORD Management Consultant

I have been having regular massages for over 30 years. I have worked with dozens of masseurs and Janet Pitcher is without doubt the best. Each time I see Janet she varies what she does to meet my body's needs at that time - there is no set routine completed without much thought. She has 'listening hands'. She can tell quickly what is wrong and what your body needs. She has more anatomical and medical knowledge than any masseur I have ever met. She can also suggest stretches and exercises to alleviate complaints. I would recommend Janet without hesitation to anyone - whether they need to reduce the stress in their body, have a sports injury or wish to learn more about their own body.

You can also book appointments with me at any time from The Cherry Tree Therapy Centre 2 Station Parade, Cherry Tree Rise, Buckhurst Hill, Essex, IG9 6EU, or from my home in Stondon Massey, CM15 OEE

Opening hours; Mon - Fri 10:00 am - 8:00 pm; Sat - 10:00 am - 2:00 pm; Sun Closed

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