massage for lymphedema, gentl stretching exercises for lymphedema patients, exercise is helpful to pymphedema patientsI find the most difficult situation for many of my friends and family is one where we are required to do very little in order to heal from an operation. Almost without exception, we think after a couple of days post-op that we feel much better and everything should be fine. Nothing could be further from the truth.

When a surgeon operates on our body, the body goes into a defensive mode. Is this a scientific fact? NO. But it’s an observation I have made from helping people recover from surgery. The first few days our bodies rid themselves of the anesthesia, then we take a few pain pills, and gradually wean ourselves off those. While on the pain medication, there is often a window of time where we feel pretty good, so three or four days post-op we run around trying to act like the surgery never happened. Then, the meds wear off and we are howling in pain and frustration.

It’s best to give your body rest. That doesn’t mean you have to just lie in bed. You should get up and move around. Walk a few times a day. You don’t have to go far, just keep moving for short periods of time to keep everything moving in your body. If you have a caretaker, try to listen to them and don’t lift anything, don’t stretch and try to reach things, and for goodness sake, don’t try to clean your house.

As a person who is fiercely independent, I truly understand that waiting for your body to fully heal, and being dependent upon another person for a length of time is not something I am used to. But please trust me when I say this. The more you push, the longer your recovery will take. If you find a way to move gently, to keep yourself calm and centered, without trying to push your recovery, you will be happier with the results and in the long run, you will recover more fully.

Follow your Doctor’s orders. Be patient with yourself. Listen to your caregivers. Then you will get better.

Valentina Boonstra




About Brevard Massage

I have been a personal trainer and massage therapist for many years now. My specialty is getting people moving again. I have learned through the years that preventing injuries is as important as relieving pain after an injury. To that end, I have also learned Yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Pilates.