When your doctor says the dreaded word “surgery,” visions of needles, tubes, recovery and scars may flash through your head. And as your doctor initiates the conversation to start preparing for surgery, you may not think of massage as a beneficial thing you can do for yourself. However, the healing benefits of massage therapy are vast and massage is one of the most-used complementary therapies in the United States. In some cases, massage can even be used as an alternative treatment for conditions that are progressing down the road to surgery.

“I have a client who was told by her physician that she would need surgery to repair her rotator cuff. After a few massage appointments with me, she was told she did not need surgery anymore!! That’s when I knew that I chose the right career!” – Diane Blalock, Bliss Day Spa in Houston, TX


Here are some of the most valuable benefits of massages that could help get you on the road to recovery:

  • Helps to reduce edema or fluid accumulation
  • Reduces swelling
  • Reduces or relieves pain
  • Increases flexibility of tissues
  • Increases mobility
  • Reduces stress and tension
  • Enhances immune functions and improved cell functions

Even if you do have to go under the knife, massage therapy can be particularly effective for preparing for and recovering from surgery. Before surgery, massage can relieve much of the anxiety associated with the anticipation of having surgery. Massage helps you feel less stressed and lowers the expectations for pain.

After surgery, massage therapy is a great addition to, and sometimes can even substitute, other pain and recovery treatments, including pain medication. Massage also improves the circulation of blood and lymphatic fluid, reducing swelling and stiffness. Additionally, sometimes just simple human touch can warrant a lot of physical and mental healing.

Of course, always consult your doctor when you are dealing with serious conditions. Massage is by no means a quick-fix to recovery, but you could find answers in massage that you have been missing in traditional treatment.

Here are a couple more success stories from some of Spa Week spas’ massage therapists (who will all be doing $50 massages this Spa Week) who endorse massage as an effective healing method:

“A woman came in to see me after being referred by her doctor because of a bad car accident. She tried everything under the sun first. All medications, chiropractic work, and visited doctor after doctor. She even had a surgeon tell her she needed neck and back surgery. Well it’s been 3 years now and I am her favorite “doctor” of all. As long as she gets her massages she is very content with her body. We will never know if she would have been better off with or without surgery… but one option is final. Why not try me first? Stories like this is why I love being a massage therapist.” — Sheena Vye, Oasis Day Spa in Tewksbury, MA

“This one particular time, a middle aged lady was having severe shoulder pain. She swore up and down she was going to have to have surgery. She came to me faithfully for two weeks every other day. The pain just completely went away. She was so excited because that meant “no surgery.” Now she looks at massage therapy in a different way, and still comes twice a month to maintain her body.” — Rachael Cabaong, Pure Daily Bliss Spa in Norco, CA