I've read that massage therapy can be beneficial to post-heart surgery patients. How soon after a double bypass can someone have a massage and what kind of massage would be best? We do not live near Mayo clinic, where they have a massage therapist on staff for this.
Hi there.. I am a massage therapist so I can try to answer this for you. I know for a fact that a pilot study conducted at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles found that massage, as part of hospital-based surgery treatment, reduces pain and muscle spasms in patients who have undergone heart bypass surgery. Massage therapy improves circulation by bringing oxygen and other nutrients to body tissues. I would not advise it immediately after surgery. Wait at least 3 wks. A full body swedish massage would be the best for post surgery. Hope this helps!
As a massage therapist for 15 years, and past massage program educator, this is not a straightforward question. Most of the time it should be deferred to the Doctor to clear the patient to receive massage.
The massage therapist must screen the potential client for concerns related to heart disease:
*Blood thinners: Too much Deep Tissue Massage done on someone taking blood thinners can cause inflammation, bruising, or tissue damage.
*Risk of Blood Clot: Doing too much or too firm Swedish massage techniques on someone who has a risk of blood clotting could possibly induce a stroke or heart attack.
*Surgical Implants: If an individual has any kind of stent or apparatus implanted into a vein/artery which is superficial (in the neck would be considered superficial, but inside the rib cage is not superficial), the therapist must avoid pressing over that area so as not to dislodge or damage it or surrounding tissues.
There are SO MANY different heart conditions, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. You must find a therapist who is experienced and knows how to keep you safe. If they don't ask about your medications or medical history, you're not in the right office. Interview them on the phone before you go. Check their credentials. You probably CAN have massage, but it may not be like what you imagined, or what you see on TV. In the hands of the right caregiver you will find relief, have a wonderful experience, and be safe. Get your doctor's clearance and ask for a referral to a trusted Massage Therapy, Physical Therapy or Chiropractic office to find a qualified practitioner.
As someone with a history of bypass, pacemaker and blood-thinning drugs, your insight to this subject is very much appreciated. So many people recommend natural drugs and procedures that are absolutely counter-productive to medically-approved care.
In my case, my bypasses failed and have to take several blood thinners. Any heavy pressure on the skin leads to very bad bruising, and even removing a Band-Aid will result in severe skin damage. I would also be very nervous about having a massage around my pacemaker. Most people who have had bypasses also are likely to have a plaque build-up in the femoral arteries, perhaps only 50% but a deep Swedish massage could break particulate up which indeed could lead to a stroke.
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