When your doctor mentions that you need to start preparing for surgery, I will venture a guess that you will not think of massage as one of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself. Well, you are not alone in this thinking and that is unfortunate because the healing benefits of massage are vast.
Massage therapy is useful for endless conditions including insomnia, muscle pain, anxiety, circulatory problems, and recovery from injury or before and after having surgery.
Even self-massage techniques that target reflexology points in the hands and feet, affect the head, neck, sinuses, in addition to many other parts of the body and organs that are beneficially affected. Massage is particularly effective when used as part of preparing for surgery and the recovery from surgery, particularly bone or muscle reconstructive surgery.
Before surgery, massage can relieve much of the anxiety and tension associated with the anticipation of having surgery. Massage helps the patient feel less stressed and lowers the patient’s expectations for pain. This lowering of stress promotes a general sense of well-being that enhances the patient’s ability to heal quicker and with fewer complications.
After surgery, massage therapy is a great addition to or even a substitute for other pain and recovery treatments, such as pain medication, which can sometimes cause unpleasant side effects. There are several reasons why massage is beneficial after surgery. For one, massage improves the circulation of blood and lymphatic fluid throughout the body, allowing for increased oxygenation of the body’s tissues and organs and reduction of swelling and stiffness. Additionally, the simple fact that human touch, something we all need and benefit from, is involved in massage therapy and accounts for much of its physical and mental healing qualities.
Listed below are some of the most valuable health benefits and effects of massage as it applies to surgery.
– Helps to reduce edema or fluid accumulation
– Reduces swelling
– Reduces or relieves pain
– Increases flexibility of tissues
– Increases mobility
– Reduces stress and tension
– Increases body awareness
– Promotes relaxation
– Enhances immune functions and improved cell functions
– Lowers the production of the hormone Cortisol (also known as the stress-hormone)
Even though the benefits of massage are immense, there are a couple of main reasons why massage therapy is not widely used or recommended by doctors. One reason is many insurance plans do not cover the cost of massage therapy. Another is because massage is often regarded as an unsophisticated, insufficiently researched treatment.
However, people have benefited greatly from massage before and after having surgery and practitioners of massage therapy endorse it as one of the most effective and pleasant healing modalities available to modern medicine.
With benefits like the ones listed above, you may want to consider incorporating therapeutic massage into your preparing for surgery plans.