Massages can help reduce stress, soreness, muscle pain, and tension. Many of us turn to massage to help us relax, improve our circulation, and lower our blood pressure. If you have recently had ostomy surgery, getting a massage with a stoma might be concerning. Beyond navigating what ostomy supplies you need for your new stoma, plenty of other things are probably running through your mind. You may be wondering what activities you can do now that you have a pouch attached to your abdomen.
The good news is that you can definitely have a massage with an ostomy. There are many benefits to massage in general, and with a few tips, you can enjoy this form of body treatment with an ostomy just as you did before ostomy surgery.
Benefits of Massage
Massage can be a great relaxation and healing tool for various reasons. When our muscles are sore or tight, massage can help alleviate the pain and release the tightness. After surgery, gentle massage can help break up and reduce the buildup of scar tissue. Massage can help minimize scarring, improve blood circulation, prevent swelling, and help relieve acute pain.
Massage can also have many health benefits. Those with various conditions like cancer, heart disease, fibromyalgia, and intestinal problems may benefit from massage.
Some of the main benefits of massage include:
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Improved sleep
- Reduced pain and muscle tension
- Improved immune function
- Helps breakdown scar tissue
- Improved lymphatic function
- Improved bowel regularity
- Lessen fibromyalgia symptoms
- Can help improve body image
Getting a Massage with an Ostomy
After ostomy surgery, it is common to experience tenderness and soreness where you now have a new stoma. Your ostomy supplies may change as your stoma changes in size. You may even have stiffness and tension in other body areas like the shoulders, neck, and back. We often carry tension after a significant surgical procedure in other body areas not directly affected by the surgery. Visiting a massage therapist can be an excellent option to help relieve some of this muscle tension.
Once you have received clearance from your doctor to see a massage therapist, a few tips will help you get the most out of your experience.
Inform your therapist about your ostomy
The first conversation you should have with your massage therapist is to inform them that you have an ostomy. Letting your massage therapist know that you have an ostomy will allow them to develop a safe, comfortable, and accommodating approach to your unique body. Developing a mutual understanding with your massage therapist can help you feel more comfortable communicating when something feels uncomfortable, hurts, or doesn’t feel right when you are getting a massage with an ostomy.
Use a support pillow
If you are lying on your stomach for a massage with an ostomy, using a support pillow like a neck pillow can allow the opening of the ostomy pouch to align with the opening of the neck pillow and relieve direct pressure. Direct pressure will be relieved from the ostomy without disrupting the output flow. A second pillow can be placed under the hips to help elevate the area further for even more comfort.
Ostomy supplies like support pillows are excellent accessories designed to support the weight of the abdomen without putting pressure on your ostomy appliance. Support pillows can allow you to sleep on your side or stomach more comfortably.
Opt for a prenatal massage
If lying on your stomach for a massage with an ostomy is too uncomfortable, look into a massage therapist specializing in prenatal massage. Prenatal massage tables are designed for pregnant women to accommodate larger bellies. These massage tables can also work well for ostomy patients that need to lie face-down. Prenatal massage therapists are usually experienced in administering massages while one is seated or lying on their side. Massage benches or chairs can be used for these types of massages.
Having ostomy surgery doesn’t mean that you need to give up some relaxing, self-care routines like massage. With a bit of preparation and communication with your massage therapist, you can enjoy the therapeutic benefits of massage. Getting a massage with an ostomy is a great way to improve wellness and alleviate pain.
For any questions or assistance finding the ostomy supplies for your needs, our Product Experts are here to help. Give us a call today!