Massage Therapy and Heart Surgery Recovery

By Pacific College - December 23, 2014
Massage therapy and heart surgery recovery

According to study done by the Mayo Clinic, massage therapy is beneficial for those who have recently undergone heart surgery. Heart surgery recovery is one of the most crucial times a heart patient must endure and through massage, pain can be alleviated.

During a 5-month period, the Mayo Clinic studied 58 patients who participated in the massage therapy & heart surgery recovery study and the results were overwhelmingly positive in alleviating the pain during recovery. Due to the results of this 2005 study, the Mayo Clinic now has a full-time therapist for patients who underwent heart surgery. Heart patients usually do not recover as quickly because of pain, anxiety, stress and tension. It then takes much time before they can go back to their daily routines. With massage therapy however, the road to recovery becomes an easier journey.

Implementing Massage Therapy in Heart Surgery Aftercare

Massage is where a therapist puts pressure on a person’s muscles and tissues to improve the overall health and well-being of that person.  There are many types of massage, from gentle stroking to kneading to other manual techniques. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, massage is used to maintain equilibrium inside the body. Today, massage therapy is no longer just an alternative but is used as a treatment in integrative medicine. After a heart surgery, going through massage therapy can help calm the nerves and make the patient more relaxed. If this is continued, the patient’s recovery is faster as compared to those who do not get massage therapy at all.

After surgery, you will be staying in the hospital to gain your strength and when you are ready to leave, your doctor will give you a set of instructions on how to care for yourself, including how to care for your incision, how to take a bath, along with other necessary information. At first you will suffer from muscle pains and incision discomfort, and your doctor may prescribe something for the pain. For people who underwent bypass surgery, pain in the legs is more prevalent than on your incision or around the chest. Your doctor would usually advise you to do some walking to alleviate the stiffness. Many doctors now recommend massage therapy to help you increase your mobility and relieve you from muscle stiffness and pain. A gentle massage on the legs and the limbs is a great way to help your blood circulate. It also helps ease the pain as well make you more comfortable and more relaxed as you recover your strength.

Take your time to recover and never try to hasten the process because you will only be risking your health. It usually takes 8 weeks to 2 months for a heart patient to recover from surgery, although records show that those who used massage therapy as a complementary treatment recovered earlier than the typical 2 months.

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