Lymphatic Drainage Massage Post Surgery.
Anyone who has undergone surgery knows the risks don’t end when you leave the operating room. Even if it’s life-saving, surgery is invasive and a major attack to the body’s physiological functioning. It shocks every single system in the body and forces everything into defense mode against the attack. The body goes through some pretty drastic changes during and after surgery. It’s exposed to potentially harmful toxins in the air of a hospital of surgical ward, which increases the risk for infection; medications used during and after surgery can be harmful to the mind and body; and the body also suffers from malnutrition because the systems are using every nutrient available in order to heal.
The lymphatic system is the main player in fighting off infection, keeping swelling to a minimum and making sure the immune system stays strong. This is an extremely delicate and sensitive circulatory system that doesn’t have a natural pump to help mobilize the fluid needed to fight infection and swelling. Surgery overwhelms and overworks the lymphatic system, so the body will usually respond with increased swelling, a feeling a ‘heaviness’ and excessive soreness. Additionally, if the surgery is for lymph node removal, such as in breast cancer patients, there’s an even greater risk of lymphatic complications because of the direct assault to the system.
Undergoing gentle Lymphatic Drainage Massage Post Surgery can greatly help reduce swelling and risk of infection as long as it’s carefully and by a professional who specializes in this type of massage. The gentle massaging of the vessels and nodes will increase the flow of the lymphatic fluid, allow the system to relax, and it will mobilize the infection-fighting lymphocytes which will help them multiply faster without over-exertion.
Even after discharge and the incisions are healed, it would still be beneficial to continue lymphatic massage, especially if you’re undergoing physical therapy or rehabilitation after surgery. Deep tissue massage, a common component of physical therapy, along with the constant pressure and stress on the organs throughout treatment, aggravates the immune system. Giving it gentle massage will help smooth the road to recovery by ensuring you don’t overwork one of the most vital circulatory systems in the body.
Lymphatic massage is very gentle, but even still, the surgeon and physicians should sign off on this therapy before initiating it as there may be underlying contraindications, which are reviewed in a separate article.