Mastectomy massage is one of the most proactive things that you can do for yourself during recovery and beyond. In the right hands, literally, this type of therapeutic massage can expedite your healing process and improve the end results of your reconstruction. Mastectomy massage truly empowers you to get back “in touch” with your body.

I speak from firsthand experience. I was fortunate to have found an outstanding professional who had earned advanced certification in mastectomy and oncology massage. Iam convinced that her services have benefitted me in so many ways that I am impassioned to share this knowledge with others.

This focused mission is fueled by the frustration that mastectomy massage is rarely recommended by surgeons—despite its known and proven benefits. And even if it is, many times it is not covered by insurance, thus it is “out-of-pocket” and out of reach for some.  It takes a major financial commitment to make it a priority in your budget.

Those able to afford it—or barely afford it—will improve their quality of life significantly and bring their mastectomy healing to the next level.

Benefits of Mastectomy Massage

Mastectomy massage helpsto overcome many of the challenges that we face during recovery. Post-op difficulties generally begin when “disuse atrophy” occurs from restrictive movement during the first few week after mastectomy. Disuse atrophy causes rigidity and contraction of the muscles that are not being used. This can be followed by“guarding” of the musculature of the entire upper body region, which means it recoils from discomfort by tensing up and becoming tight.

The benefits of mastectomy massage include: 

Post-Mastectomy Conditions/Problems

Massage Goals/Benefit

Limited range of motion in the shoulder, chest and arms.

Muscle tightness, especially in the pectoral muscles and sternal attachments, often caused by contortion of these muscles during the expander process.

  • Myofascial kneading releases muscle tenseness in the fascia and connective tissue. This results in improved range of motion.
  • Spreading and softening of tight pectoral muscles releases tightness and improves range of motion.
  • Opening of the chest and sternum, which gets extremely tight from misuse.
  • Assisted stretching increases flexibility and range of motion using passive or active muscle contraction.
Shoulder pain from tightness and contraction after disuse during recovery and displacement of surrounding muscles from the expander process contorting the pectorals.
  • Gliding of area muscles releases fascia, connective tissue, and fused fibers that occur due to guarding.
  • Focus on muscle release in the trapezoid, tricep and axial latimusdorsi, all of which are highly affected when the pectorals are extended during expansion, leads to corrective stretching and improved mobility of the shoulder.
Scar tissue and adhesions forms lumps, which can cause pain, puckering and odd shapes beneath the skin.
  • Transverse and cross-fiber friction breaks down collagen fibers and reduces adhesions and scar tissue. Thesehardened lumps of tissue under the skin cancause puckering and bulges. Their appearance can be improvedso that they appear smoother.
  • Scars tissue can cause pain when they are adhered to the chest wall or other internal structures. Breakdown of internal scar tissue through can reduce pain.
  • Pockets of swelling (edema) that are stuckin the scar tissue start to dissipate.

There is often a neurological nerve component to releasing scar tissue.  It is common to get a buzzing or prickly sensation as blockages are released and circulation returns to the tissue.

Painful trigger points; soreness and achiness.
  • Neuromuscular therapy applied to specific muscular points relieves pain patterns.
  • Massage relieves post-op pain and combats fatigue from that pain; it also alleviates sore, achy muscles of the neck, shoulders and back.
Overall Body Tension
  • Gentle massage releases stress and promotes relaxation; relieves anxiety and improves sleep.


Swelling and lymphedema risk-reduction.
Mastectomy massage aids in the removal of fluid away from chest area and extremities, thus reducing the risk of lymphedema.
Reduced risk of capsular contraction
Breast massage reduces the risk of capsular contraction.
Metabolic Cleansing
Massage moves fluid in the body, thus releasing excess chemicals that lodge and secrete within the body. Examples: sodium, anesthesia drugs, chemotherapy drugs.
Loss of sensation from cut nerves, especially due to lymph node removal.
  • Mastectomy massage encourages nerves to reconnect, which can reduce pins and needles.
Disconnection with your new body
The Reconnection with your Body:

  • Many women talk about feeling an aversion to touching their mounds.They also do not know how much pressure can be used. The therapeutic touch of mastectomy massage can ease the feeling of being a stranger in your own body and help you to identify with your new physical form.
  • Once you learn from your massage therapist how to handle your new mounds, it is less intimating to touch your body.  Using lotion to rub your mounds makes you feel reconnected with your body and reduces the risk for capsular contraction.It improves body image and encourages self-acceptance.
  • If you have a partner or spouse, this reconnection with your “mounds” also helps with their connection. They can help to keep the breasts supple with massage, and this helps the sexual healing process.