In 2019 I received training in post-surgical massage. As a former surgical patient, I understand the effects even minor procedures have on our bodies. Many of my clients also choose surgery to address a variety of injuries and illnesses. Offering massage options and benefits after surgery is important an important addition to my practice.
Receiving massage after surgery offers the patient both psychological and physiological benefits. As soon as several days after surgery, I use lymphatic drainage techniques. These can reduce post-surgical swelling, bruising, and encourage lymphatic flow, which is essential to the healing process.
Lymphatic massage is gentle and minimally invasive, always working around the surgical site. The client often experiences an increased sense of well-being, and better quality of sleep. They may even experience a release of endorphins, which increases feelings of relaxation.
After the incisions close completely and all scabs are healed, post-surgical bodywork focuses on reducing excessive scar tissue formation. At this stage, I combine myofascial release, soft tissue mobilization, and cupping techniques, depending on quality and location of the scar.
Working gently with developing scar tissue, according to the client’s tolerance level, improves the appearance and comfort level of scars. A hardened scar will sometimes affect the fascia and muscle tissue around it, so post-operative massage aims to reduce this occurrence. I also teach clients ways to work on their scars at home, if desired.
Long-healed Scar Tissue
These techniques also address long-healed scar tissue, and may increase comfort while also improving the scar’s appearance. You can schedule scar work during other types of massage sessions or as a separate 30-minute session.
What to Expect
The initial post-surgical massage session begins with discussion of the procedure, as well as the challenges faced by the client. It typically lasts about 90 minutes. I’ll coordinate your massage plan with the treatment team, including physical therapists and surgeons, as needed. Following sessions last between 30 and 60 minutes depending on recommended techniques.