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Massage Therapy, Sports Therapy
4 reasons to see a massage therapist post-surgery
February 23, 2018 | by Adam Harris

So you’ve found out you need surgery to return to sport and activity. After letting the news sink in, the next logical questions are: “How long will it take to recover?” and “What will my rehabilitation plan look like?”.

For the majority of the population, this will involve some regime of physiotherapy and a gradual return to activity. At Fortius Sport & Health, we look at pairing a number of services to create the best treatment plan for recovery—including Massage Therapy.

I know what you’re thinking: “Isn’t that where you go when you need to relax and get some knotted muscles worked out?”.

There is a big difference between a relaxation massage and a massage targeted at injury recovery and rehabilitation. To explain, I’ve listed four reasons you should consider massage as part of your post-surgery recovery.


Surgery can often result in swelling and inflammation around the surgical site. Using manual lymphatic drainage techniques, such as nodal pumping, passive range of motion and directional Swedish massage towards the heart, massage therapy can aid in reducing the amount of lymphatic and interstitial fluid at the surgery site, thereby helping to decrease pain and tightness, helping you recover.


If your surgery pertains to a joint (knee, hip, shoulder, etc.), swelling and other factors post-surgery can often limit your normal range of motion around that joint. Joint mobilization techniques are frequently used after surgery as they are a proven method to increase joint range of motion and decrease capsular restriction.

The effectiveness of mobilizations is in part due to targeting the planes of motion in which your joint is restricted and then applying the appropriate grade of mobilization. Joint mobilizations range from grade 1-4 in a massage therapy treatment, the grade referring to the amount of pressure and the rate at what the joint mobilization is applied.


Post-surgery, you will be left with some fancy new scars on the body. Surgical scarring is associated with decreased range of motion and fascial tension. Fortunately, we can help you break these scars down using manual techniques, to decrease the pain associate with this. Your massage therapist will also be able to show you some techniques which you can use at home to further break down the scar tissue.


Another component of your rehabilitation will be the build up of new muscle cells and connective tissue. In order to do this, your body’s cells need all of the help that they can get in the form of fresh blood and the associated cellular components that come via this medium.

The inflammatory process, as well as the bone building and fibrocartilage building process are all delivered and removed through your vascular system. As a result, it is our role as massage therapist to ensure that the pathways for delivery and removal of these cells are fully functional. Techniques that will be used include lympathic drainage, myofascial release, and Swedish massage; all with the aim of giving your body all of the tools it needs to heal itself.


As you can see, massage therapy can play an important part in your body’s healing as it works to mend itself after the invasive process of surgery.

Visit the Fortius Massage Therapy page to learn more about the services we offer at Fortius, or call 604.292.2501 to book your appointment today.