A gentle touch


Massage therapy offers techniques to improve lives of all ages

By Cynthia Scheer Telescope News

Business is good for Deidre Banahan.

The massage therapist said her number of clients has grown since she moved her business Relax Therapeutic Massage and Bodyworks into her downtown Belleville location from her home in Cuba about 10 months ago. Banahan said she offers massages for all ages, and nearly a third of her clients are over age 60.

“I love being a massage therapist and how it allows me to truly make a difference in the lives of my clients everyday,” the Fairbury, Neb., native said.

Banahan said geriatric massage therapy uses techniques that are designed to meet the specific needs of the elderly population.

“There can really be a big difference between the techniques, strokes and pressure a 60 year old can handle and what a 90 year old can handle,” she said. “In this type of massage, I use gentle and light application of massage techniques as well as some passive stretching.” She said benefits that come from manipulation of soft tissues in geriatric massage include improved blood circulation, reduced pain including the pain of arthritis, an increase in range of motion, improvement in posture and improvement in balance.

Banahan’s Belleville office is equipped with an electric lift massage table to make getting on and off the table easier as well as a massage chair for those who can’t lay down flat.

She said she also recommends people bring a friend to their first visit if they are hesitant about trying massage therapy. “Our goal is to make them as comfortable as possible for a relaxing experience,” she said. “It is just amazing what human touch can do and how many of our loved ones are touch deprived.”