Learn More About Post-Operative Massages
At Body by Craft, Dr. Phillip Craft offers several body contouring treatments and surgical procedures designed to transform physical shape and enhance natural beauty. The care that we provide post operatively can be just as important as the skill and expertise which governs the procedure itself.
As a part of our new lifestyle medicine program, after you leave us, we want to help you learn how to provide your own important self care so that you can maintain optimal, long-lasting results. Combining our traditional treatments with a complementary, holistic approach will improve the body’s natural recovery systems and ensure fast, comfortable healing from surgical procedures. We recommend and can provide post-operative massages for all our patients. As part of standard post operative protocol, they are an excellent support to the rehabilitation process. The use of specialized massage therapy for post-operative patients has been shown to improve clinical outcomes.
- Massages will help you deal with the post-operative pain: According to research, massages not only help patients to manage pain but also reduce it. This is because a massage can modulate the peripheral and central neuroreceptors of the body. Typically, pain is felt when the large sensory neurons in the periphery activate the nociceptors, which send a pain signal to the spinal cord and brain.
With the incorporation of massages into the recovery process, the spinal cord interneurons do not receive an amplified signal from the nociceptors, therefore less pain and discomfort is felt by post-surgical patients.
Reduce Stress & Anxiety
Additionally, massages relax muscles and increase circulation which helps to move more oxygen and nutrients throughout the body and allows the surgical area to heal at an accelerated rate.
- Massage therapy can help reduce stress and anxiety: Patients commonly experience stress and/or anxiety before and after undergoing a cosmetic procedure. As well, an invasive surgery can place a large amount of physical stress on the body. With the use of massages to aid in relaxation, the body’s stress response can be reduced. Increased feelings of anxiety sometimes make pain harder to endure, therefore the benefit of massages is often reduced pain alongside decreased stress.
When an enjoyable massage releases endorphins to calm the peripheral nervous system, a sense of well-being helps to reduce pain. The Mayo Clinic website has identified massage as being a safe, medical treatment option to reduce pain and stress.
Aid In Relaxation
- Post-operative lymphatic massages reduce swelling: As part of the natural healing process after a surgical procedure, degrees of inflammation will cause a build-up of fluid inside the soft tissues related to the surgical site. The level of tissue swelling will typically peak around day 3 and though the majority resolves within 2 weeks, residual swelling can linger for several months. Lymphatic drainage is very gentle and does not have a stimulating effect. Only light, fingertip pressure is applied and it is not meant to massage underlying muscles and structures.
Each session will last from 45 to 60 minutes, once per day. To move fluid into the lymphatic channels and out of the tissue, a lymphatic drainage massage is a good post-operative care option. It is designed specifically for tackling swelling by gently moving fingertips in light, circular motions which follow the natural lymphatic flow channels.
Any fluid waste accumulation caused by the swelling will be cleared more efficiently and swelling will reduce faster during the recovery period when using this painless approach. Lymphatic massage can be performed by the patient as well. Often, a soft paint roller is a helpful tool to have for self-administered lymphatic massages. These can continue for 4 months or longer, until residual swelling is gone.
Reduces Scar Tissue Formation
- Massages can reduce the formation of scar tissue: The introduction of massages during the healing process helps in breaking down already-formed scar tissue and prevents the creation of additional scar tissue. This is applicable to internal scar tissues as well as external scars on the skin, at the surgical incision sites. Sometimes, scar tissues will become overly fibrous in the weeks and months following surgery and may be a potential physical or aesthetic concern. Once an incision is completely healed and strong, your surgeon will let you know when it is safe to begin massaging those areas. During your follow up care appointments, we will discuss what you can do to help ensure scars become faint, soft and virtually invisible.
Massage therapy results in greater flexibility and mobility: After a surgical body contouring procedure, if one is spending more time than usual reclining, excessive periods of time spent in bed can lead to stiff joints and sore muscles. By including massages into the recovery treatment, this uncomfortable feeling can be avoided. Massages are helpful to warm up muscles and joints for flexibility and mobility for when they are ready. In the lower extremities, post-operative massage will reduce the risk of blood clot formation presented by blood pooling in these temporarily, less active tissues.
Flexibility & Mobility
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Supports The Immune System
- Post-operative massages support the immune system: During post-operative recovery, patients will be temporarily more susceptible to infections. Lymphatic massage helps to increase blood flow as well as move edema out of tissues and into the lymph. With massages included in the healing process, increased oxygen supply to organs and drainage of waste material helps strengthen organs, the immune system and aid in rapid tissue healing while bringing the body’s infection fighting defences to the areas where they are needed.
Considering all of these benefits, our clinical team at Body by Craft encourage our patients to enjoy massage therapy during their recovery phase after a cosmetic procedure or treatment. We find that the transformation experience can be revitalizing and have people feeling strong and more energetic than ever when they leave us, rather than sore and depleted.
If you have any concerns about the potential difficulty of recovery, please speak with our wellness team to discuss what role post-operative massage may have in providing a pleasant experience for you. They will be happy to determine the suitability of massage therapy in combination with your planned aesthetic procedure.