Knee replacement surgery can be a stressful and unnerving time for both the body and mind.
Having a massage post-operation can benefit in many different ways. It is best to wait 6-8 weeks after having the surgery as this gives time for the scar to fully develop.
Soft Tissue Regeneration:
Once a knee has been replaced, the soft tissue around the joint will have a lot of adjusting to, to ‘relearn’ how to work properly. Massage can help increase blood flow around the body and circulate everything to help speed this process up.
Massage can help to increase mobility and boost flexibility in the body- particularly in the bend of the leg if this is where we are focussing.
The client may suffer from pain and weakness in the areas around the knee such as the iliotibial tract (IT Band) up the thigh muscles, the gastrocnemius muscles which are the main muscles in the calf and the soleus which are the two bands located below the gastrocnemius closer to the ankle.
Massaging these areas can release the muscle tension, improve circulation and speed up recovery of soft tissue damage.
The back of the knee can sometimes end up bruised and be more painful than the actual knee itself, therefore I may not massage this area until the bruising has healed and the pain has reduced. I will place a folded towel under the knee while massaging the front of the leg for extra support.
Massage pressure to the knee area can be adjusted depending on how the client has recovered and the level of pain in the knee post operation.
The natural essential and carrier oils that I use for massage, all have healing and moisturising properties for the skin. This can help to rid of the scarring on the knee post-surgery a lot quicker.
Lavender and Frankincense essential oils can reduce swelling and scarring as they are both great for evening out skin tone, killing bacteria on the skin and regenerating tissue.
Coconut and Sweet Almond carrier oils are Cicatrisant, meaning they are skin/wound healing and skin regenerative. These are also very gentle oils which are very softening to the skin and healing for the body.
Reduce Subsequent Back Pain:
Due to the immobility of the leg for quite some time after the surgery, the client may feel some back pain- especially in the lower back. Massage can help the client regain mobility and reduce back pain.
Due to lack of movement and exercise of the client after surgery and during the resting period, Postural back pain can also occur.
Lack of sleep or insomnia may also be a problem for the patient which can cause irritability and also result in back pain.
Essential oils that can help this include ginger, juniper and black pepper which can help to warm the skin and muscles resulting in ease of movement and reduced tension. Essential oils such as tea tree, eucalyptus and peppermint can also help due to their anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic properties.
After having really positive feedback from a couple of my clients who came to me post- knee replacement surgery, I feel really confident that having an aromatherapy massage can benefit my clients and help them recover quicker and increase quality of life.