Can Yoga Help You Feel Better After Surgery?

Namaste! Even if you have never personally folded and unfolded your body on a yoga mat in a room full of strangers, you’ve likely heard of this popular practice—and its numerous mental and physical health benefits.

But did you know that in addition to helping keep you fit and limber, restorative yoga that uses relaxation and meditation techniques may speed wound healing and improve your recovery after surgery?

Certified strength and conditioning specialist, yoga teacher, and mind-body coach, Dana Santas, recently recounted her personal experience of healing through yoga with CNN—and she shared a few tips to boot.

Restorative yoga movements may help your mind and body

One of the most common questions I hear from my patients is, “when can I exercise after cosmetic surgery?” The downtime required to heal properly and safely is understandably difficult, particularly for anyone who leads an active life. However, as crucial as it is to rest and allow your body time to recover, it’s also important to move to keep circulation going (and to stimulate your mind!).

While more strenuous yoga techniques, such as vinyasa, should be avoided until your surgeon gives you the go-ahead, there are a number of gentle, restorative practices that can help support your healing—and keep your mind engaged and positive while you recover from surgery.

What is restorative yoga?

Restorative yoga is a gentle yoga practice that incorporates slow, supported movements and meditation to engage the parasympathetic nervous system and promote rest and restoration. This yoga technique is reported to help with digestion, sleep, tissue repair, and even depression and anxiety. As you heal, you will need to focus on self care, and restorative yoga may be a great place to start—as long as your surgeon is on board.

While restorative yoga offers a number of benefits, it’s important to remember that even seemingly gentle exercises can strain your incisions or exacerbate discomfort at the surgical site. If are considering any new type of physical activity or are unsure if your normal routine is safe…

…always talk to your doctor first

No surgery and recovery is one-size-fits-all, and you should speak with your surgeon before jumping into to any type of routine—even gentle yoga. Your surgeon can recommend activities that are safe and give you a realistic timeline for incorporating different levels of exercise into your routine throughout your recovery.

I encourage all of my Richmond plastic surgery patients to contact my practice with any questions or concerns they may have about their procedure and recovery—and that offer is open to new patients as well. If you have been considering a cosmetic surgery procedure but are unsure of what to expect from your recovery, I’d love to talk with you about your options during a private consultation.

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