Massage After Stroke


Question: Is it okay to give massage soon after a stroke? (1 week). Is there a risk of another stroke?

Answer: Massage can be beneficial for stroke victims, but some recommendations I have regarding massage are as follows:
1) Ensure that the neurologist and other physicians involved in the care of the stroke patient agree to massage the patient
2) Make sure the massage therapist has medical massage training or experience working with people who have had a stroke
3) Ensure that the massage therapist is given an accurate history of any medical conditions, including medications

Massage itself does not increase a person’s risk of stroke, but there are precautions that need to be taken in certain individuals. If blood clots are present, there is a small chance that massage can remove them. People who take blood thinners bruise more easily, so deep tissue massage can be avoided. In the neck area in the area of ​​​​the carotid artery, caution is required, but this should not be a problem with an experienced masseur.


Is massage important for walking after a stroke?
From Anonymous
Question:My best friend had a stroke and can’t walk anymore. It affected his left side. About 2 months ago he walked a bit with a walker but now he says he can’t walk and his leg is stiff and painful. He says he needs aggressive massage therapy and he’s going. I don’t understand how this can let him walk again. I think he needs aggressive exercise therapy and that will help more. Am I wrong there or not? What is the use to him?

Answers: Physiotherapy includes many techniques to help people regain their ability to walk, including massage and exercise to name a few. I would say that all aspects of therapy are important. If your friend has high tone in their leg, they may need help to reduce tone and stretch so they can walk again. It’s also important to strengthen muscles, but if he’s high in tone, it will interfere with trying to do strengthening exercises. He may feel like he needs a massage to reduce tone.

A physical therapist is the professional you should see to learn to walk after a stroke, so hopefully that’s the professional your friend consulted. Massage therapy can be a nice complement to physical therapy, as massage therapists can be helpful in relaxing tight muscles and reducing spasms. However, I must emphasize that a stroke patient should have a physician’s approval to receive a massage and one should choose a massage therapist who has medical knowledge and experience working with stroke patients.


*The material contained on this website is provided for general informational purposes only and does not constitute professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Massage for stroke patients

Question: My mother had an ischemic stroke 5 months ago and I want to buy her a pillow that massages her head, back and shoulders. Do you see a danger in this?


Answer: Massage can be very comforting for stroke victims and is most likely fine, but I would ask your mother’s neurologist just to be sure. Some people have had strokes due to tears in the arteries in the neck from chiropractic manipulations of the neck, or “beauty salon syndrome,” where the neck is bent back and twisted from side to side in the sink. I doubt a massage pillow would strain the neck this way, but I would check neck posture when using it and make sure the neck isn’t in a strained position or overly stretched. You should also avoid massage in the area of ​​​​the carotid artery, especially if she has plaque, stenosis or other diseases of the carotid artery.

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What type of massage is suitable?

Question: What type of massage for a recent L CVA with R-hemiplegia / synergistic pattern to increase strength, movement and coordination in the scapula area?

Answer: Before beginning a stroke victim massage session, make sure it is approved by their doctor. They must be aware of a patient’s medical condition and be on the lookout for issues such as high blood pressure, recent or history of blood clots, and edema/fluid issues such as congestive heart failure, to name a few. As for the best type of massage, I would consult a massage therapist who has experience working with stroke victims. There are many different forms of massage, and a person may respond better to one type of massage technique than another. Some people like very light pressure and others like heavier pressure. It also depends on the size of the individual and the integrity of the skin. When a patient is approved for a massage by the doctor, you can try different massage techniques and see which ones the patient likes and responds to best. Here are a few articles about massage and stroke patients:


Botox and massage therapy after a stroke

from monika


I am a massage therapist and I have a client who had a stroke 2 years ago. She is paralyzed from the arm down on the right side. Her wrist is very bent and her fingers are curling up and the doctor has suggested botox. Can I give her a massage after she has the botox? How long should I wait?
Would it help? If we also combine electrical stimulation (by a physical therapist) – would that be a good combination?

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Thank you in advance and look forward to your opinion!

Answer: The client would need to ask the doctor how long she would have to wait before getting a massage after receiving botox and I would not give her a massage without a doctor’s clearance or written consent. With cosmetic botox, no massage is allowed for the first 24 hours, but botox for spasticity can be more complex, so you must follow the doctor’s instructions. E-stim is often used after botox, but again I would like to know from the doctor how quickly e-stim can be used and if the patient is a good candidate for e-stim.

spasticity and massage

by Steve McCoy

(Cleveland, Ohio)

Question: What types or areas of massage can help release tension and increase flexibility and strength in the left arm/hand of a 63-year-old female stroke victim?

Answer: Massage can be helpful temporarily to relax a spastic muscle or to improve range of motion, but since spasticity in stroke victims stems from a problem with the brain, it will not cure them. If a patient can afford a regular massage, it can be beneficial, but there aren’t enough studies to tell you what type of massage would be best. It also depends on the patient. Some patients have sensory problems. For example, if a stroke patient lacks feeling in the affected extremity, they would not be able to determine the force exerted. Others are overly sensitive to touch and do not like being touched or massaged at all. I would suggest starting with lighter forms of massage and determining the effect. If it is tolerated and the patient prefers deeper tissue work, one could try it, but always be aware of sensory deficits where the patient cannot gauge how much pressure is being applied. I would also make sure you have medical clearance before having a massage. Also, if the patient is experiencing pain or limited range of motion, make sure the masseur is treating the limb appropriately. For example, you should never force an arm overhead that is strained, painful, or subluxated. The scapula must rotate properly for the arm to be raised past 90 degrees of shoulder flexion, so make sure your massage therapist understands this.

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