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Posted by Jane Hopwood, Mar 2 2015 7:15AM

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Massage after Hip replacement

I have a new client who had a hip replacement 4 months ago and wants a back massaage. I thought it would be ok as long as I don't use deep tissue or pressure over the one hip. I believe the scar tissue will not be on the back! However she has rung me to say she went to a Spa at weekend and they completely refused to do any massage saying "the lymph glands have to mend".

Any thoughts/advice would be much appreciated

Kind regards
Mike Colquhoun
Mar 2 2015 11:07AM
Hi Jane
I know you are an experienced masseur and you have enough knowledge in your hands to know when what you are feeling is wrong.
After four months the lymphatic system will have recovered completely unless the surgeon has made a horrible mistake which would be very obvious to you and is unlikely in the extreem. So long as the scar is neat and well healed there should be no problem with the lymphatics in the area. Use your common sense and you will be fine, the spa therapist was suffering from 'author syndrome' where you never recommend a treatment for anything in case someone makes a huge error and then quotes the author as saying it was fine. That is why the list of contra-indications includes everything.
Have you read my page on the lymphatic system for therapists?
I think you will find it helpful even though I am actually talking about a different problem.
Please don't hesitate to contact me if you need more information.
Yours aye Mike
Amanda Clegg
Mar 2 2015 11:32AM
totally agree with Mike - utter tosh from the spa therapist! Essential to do lots of massage and particularly myofascial release (see Jing Instite, Tom Myers etc) on the scar tissue, in order to maximise whatever physio they are getting (NHS - poss not very much) and rehab exercises they are doing. The physio/exercise requirement will change as the muscles get stronger and the prosthetic hip settles down. Go for it!
Jane Hopwood
Mar 3 2015 5:21AM
Thanks for your response. You have very kindly confirmed my thoughts. Kind regards Jane
Dhanu Kara
Mar 8 2015 11:13AM
I'm inclined to think the spa therapist is speaking from lack of experience or spa policy.

I've worked with lots of clients with hip replacements. Reasons you wouldn't give a massage after 4 months is: infections/complications after surgery, if your client has been adviced against massage, reasons? or therapists lack of experience/knowledge.

As an experienced therapist, following your insticts is very important, if you are unsure after your observations, don't massage.
Wish you well.


Dhanu Kara
CThA co-ordinator for
Harrow, Middlesex & Uxbridge therapist group
Jane Hopwood
Mar 9 2015 7:11AM
Yes Thanks. I agree with all your comments and so nice to have my understanding confirmed. Thank you so much

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