Massage Therapy

After breast surgery or breast cancer treatments, your body will change. Our Registered Massage Therapists can help relieve your pain and symptoms.

What is massage therapy?

Massage therapy is the therapeutic manipulation of the soft tissues, which include muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, etc. It can aid in the recovery from soft tissue injuries and dysfunctions that occur from surgery, radiation, and the effects of chemotherapy, as well as day to day activities, repetitive motions, trauma, and other conditions.

The therapists at Breast Rehab are highly trained in performing breast massage as well as extending their treatment techniques to address the impacts of breast surgery and breast cancer treatment on the whole body.

Scar Tissue Massage

The mechanical pressure of massage techniques can help break down scar tissue, while stretching, frictions, cupping, and other techniques can help align the scar tissue with the healthy surrounding tissue. Scar tissue develops as a result of surgery incisions; it can also form where there is any type of soft tissue injury including muscle strains, ligament sprains, contusions, and various other forms of damage. When the body tries to repair itself, it patches the area with tissue that is denser and less elastic than the original tissue. It also doesn’t align with the existing tissue but instead forms a web-like patch. In order for the affected soft tissue to return to normal function, the excess scar tissue needs to be broken down and the rest aligned in the same orientation of the surrounding healthy tissue.

Breast Rehab therapists specialize in breast massage for breast surgery scars, whether from lumpectomy or mastectomy, mammoplasty, or reconstruction. Breast massage and scar tissue massage can make the scar less visible, release skin tension, and increase mobility of the affected area. You can read more in the section on scar management and skin care.

Myofascial Release

Massage therapy can also address fascial adhesions that form after various types of breast treatments. Fascia is a thin layer of connective tissue that surrounds each muscle cell, each muscle, groups of muscles, and sections of soft tissue. Its main role is to reduce friction between all the soft tissues of the body and create compartments. After any type of injury, trauma, or inflammation the layers of fascia can become stuck to one another limiting elasticity of the soft tissues and reducing range of motion of the joints in the area. Myofascial release techniques stretch the soft tissues until the adhesions release and movement is restored in the affected area. This is a common technique that our therapists use during breast massage and other focused massage treatments.

Lymphatic Drainage Massage

Lymphatic massage provides great benefits for a large number of conditions including the treatment/management of lymphedema, pain relief for lipedema, increased healing of incisions/wounds, and decreased post-operative swelling following orthopaedic and plastic surgery procedures. Surgery for breast cancer that removes lymph nodes from under the arm and radiation to the area near those lymph nodes can result in the development of lymphedema. The stretch and relaxation phases of lymphatic massage techniques affect the lymph vessels like a pump, pushing the flow of the lymph vessels in the direction of the blood stream. These specialized manual lymphatic drainage techniques are based on the Vodder technique, in which a light pressure on the skin stretches the superficial lymph vessels to empty lymph fluid from that section by moving it in the direction of the next set of lymph nodes to be processed. In severe cases, or if left untreated, lymph vessels can collect together, causing the area to become thicker in a condition known as fibrosis. In this situation, deeper pressure is needed to soften the fibrotic tissue before manual lymphatic drainage can be used. See our section on lymphedema for more information on this condition.

Cupping therapy

Cupping therapy is based on an ancient medical practice of using of a small cup to form a vacuum. The resulting suction lifts the surface of the skin, causing blood vessels to expand to increase blood flow to the area. Cupping can relieve muscle tension and release scars that have adhered to the tissue underneath. Sometimes cups are left in place for short periods; sometimes they are moved along the skin to move the muscle fibers below the surface. Breast Rehab therapists may suggest the use of cupping in addition to other massage therapy techniques.

Just Breathe and a Quick Breath Relaxation Massages

Just Breathe (60 or 75 mins): If you are looking to relax and re-centre, the “Just Breathe” massage is for you. Come in and be massaged from head to toe with techniques specially chosen to help you relax and unwind. This massage uses smooth and gentle flowing strokes that promote general relaxation, relieve muscular tension, improve circulation and range of motion. You have the option of adding 100% pure essential oils, hot towels and even paraffin wax (75 minute only). Anyone is welcome to book, and if you are an oncology patient you can trust that we have the experience and knowledge to adapt your treatment so you feel safe and comfortable. Book in and let us help you “Just Breathe”.

A Quick Breath (30 min) : This massage is shortened version of the “Just Breathe” treatment and involves a variety of massage techniques applied to the head, neck, shoulders and upper back, to increase relaxation and help relieve general muscle tension. It also may include the use of warm towels applied to the chest and face and 100% pure essential oils if desired. Anyone is welcome to book, and if you are an oncology patient you can trust that we have the experience and knowledge to adapt your treatment so you feel safe and comfortable. Sometimes we all just need to make time for ourselves and allow our bodies to inhale and exhale without any distractions. Book in and let us help you take a “Quick Breath”.

At Breast Rehab, massage is one of the therapies we offer to get you back to doing the things you love. All of our therapists are trained in breast massage, manual lymphatic drainage, and several other techniques. Together these techniques allow our practitioners to effectively treat a wide array of your concerns. Depending on your assessed needs, massage therapy may be offered in combination with other therapies.