While there is never a great time to have surgery, sometimes we have no choice. Whether it is minimally invasive or highly invasive, all of us look forward to getting back into our daily routines, including massages! Your body does a wonderful job at targeting the areas that need to be healed. It starts the process right away from the inside all on its own. We massage therapists assist with the healing from the outside by targeting swelling, scarring, post-surgical pain, and joint mobility. Massage does help the body to heal on the inside as well by circulating the blood and lymph to where it needs to go for a steady recovery.
Undergoing any surgical procedure means inducing physical trauma to the body. With post-surgical massage, we increase the flow of endorphins, allowing clients to relax after surgery. Many benefits come along with getting massages as soon as you can afterwards. They will help reduce contractures by relaxing muscles that have become tight due to the trauma of surgery. Massage will also help the laying down of collagen which builds scar tissue around the incision and surrounding tissues.
There is no exact time to start your post-surgical massages. That is 100% up to your physician. Minor surgeries may be able to start receiving massages sooner than more major ones like heart surgery. The therapist should avoid direct contact with the incision but work the surrounding muscles and tissues to help alleviate swelling and scarring. In general it should be about 6 to 8 weeks after a surgery that had no complications. In every case, we must have a doctor's note stating that massage is now permissable to ensure your safety.
If you do have a surgery planned in the future or find out that you need a surgery, fear not, because massages can still be a part of your healing process!