About Scar Tissue Massage
Are there things you would like to know about Scar Tissue Massage? That would help you make a decision on if it was right for you?
What If you knew that there was a treatment for your scar that would improve the tightness, movement and appearance you’d do it, wouldn’t you?
The impact of surgery and scars on the body and our overall wellbeing is sadly too often misunderstood and underappreciated.
Scar therapist, massage therapist and Zing Wellness co-founder, James Rake, shares his experiences of scar tissue massage , what it is, what it does and how repairing scars can improve your overall wellbeing.
Our aim was simple, when Angela and I launched Zing Wellness; we wanted to help people get their Zing back. We do this by developing bespoke combinations of Pilates, massage and restorative therapies for each client to help them reconnect and care for their mind and body.
In my work as a massage therapist, I noticed that many of my clients were suffering discomfort and pain from their scars and closer to home my wife has 7 major scars, her latest of which was causing her significant discomfort, so I decided to find out how best to help.
You can read more about the story behind Angela’s scars in this blog and this interview. Feeling motivated and inspired I researched scar massage training courses and quickly attended Burrell Educations C-section, Hysterectomy and Abdominal Scar immersion training followed closely by Restore Therapies ScarWork™ Therapist training with Emma Holly.
So, today, I’m a Scar Tissue Massage Therapist and accredited ScarWork™ practitioner as well as a deep-tissue massage specialist and I integrate these techniques into my work on a daily basis helping my clients to find lasting relief from scar discomfort and pain.
What is Scar Tissue Massage ?
ScarWork™ is the brainchild of Sharon Wheeler in Seattle and is a gentle, painless approach to scar tissue massage that aims to loosen up the layers between the skin, fascia and muscle.
It is as effective on old as new scars and is the most effective treatment for scar discomfort in my experience. I am very fortunate to have been taught by Emma Holly who is one of only two trainers of ScarWork™ in the UK and runs a Scar Clinic locally in Harpenden.
Burrell Education’s C-section, Hysterectomy and Abdominal Scar Immersion course is aimed specifically at clients who have had c-sections, hysterectomies or abdominal surgery. This style of massage takes a holistic approach.
The focus is very much on the impact the scar and associated adhesions have on the core and its function. There may be a lot of work on the surrounding areas such as the rib cage, back and abdominals to release the adhesions in the area surrounding the scar.
By reducing the tension in the ribs we can hugely improve the movement of the breath, enabling the core to function optimally. It visibly reduces the swelling of the tummy and reconnects the area around the scar and improves the sensation in this area too.
What Are The Key Benefits Of Scar Tissue Massage?
If you are looking to learn more about scar tissue massage then I’m delighted to be able to let you know that there are many benefits of scar tissue massage
By loosening up the layers between the skin, fascia and muscle scar therapy:
1. aims to release tightness and reduce discomfort
2. helps restricted mobility and improve movement
3. encourages feelings and sensations to return to the scar and surrounding area
4. improves the general appearance and pronouncement of the scar
Does Scar Tissue Massage Hurt?
No, scar therapy or scar tissue massage is a very gentle and non-invasive form of massage specifically for post-operative, injury, disease or burn scars. It focuses on improving the feeling and functionality of the scar and the surrounding tissues. They have several different techniques for different scar types, but they usually adopt feather-light strokes to manipulate the surface of the scar and/or surrounding area. The aim is to ‘unstick’ the adhesions and loosen up the layers between the skin, fascia (connective tissue) and muscle to create more movement. I also work with my clients to teach them how to perform self-massage on their scars to increase the improvement in appearance and sensation.
Does Scar Therapy Take A Long Time To Work?
Many people think that the deeper the massage, the quicker and better the results will be.
However, with scar therapy , the opposite is true. It demands feather-light touches, friction and manipulation, but many people experience improvement in sensation, appearance and movement very quickly.
For example, some of my clients reporting numbness around the scar have experienced a tingling feeling in the area after just one session – meaning blood is already starting to flow back to the scar site – with three to five sessions these clients should report a significant return of feeling.
Is It True That Scar Tissue Massage Can Uncover And Relieve Unexplained Issues Elsewhere?
There is no question that surgery saves lives and is often a vital solution to a healthcare problem.
However, it concerns me that we often overlook the impact of post-operative surgical scarring on the body and we certainly don’t consider this in our post-operative care plan.
For example, one of the most common complaints I receive from female clients who have had a c-section is that they have lower back pain.
To reach the baby, the surgeon has cut through eight layers of the body, including a layer of superficial fascia. Superficial fascia is effectively one sheet of tissue that wraps the whole body.
This wrap determines our body shape and wraps around bone, muscles and internal organs. When it’s cut and then heals, it changes shape.
The best way to describe fascia is to think of it as the body wrapped in clingfilm. If a sheet of clingfilm is cut with a knife trying to put it back together is impossible.
The tension that it had has changed and now pulls in different directions to the way it was initially. In these cases, I loosen the fascia around the c-section scar, which in turn releases the tension in the lower back.
This is a very simplified view of fascia and how it affects the body and if you would like to know more you should see what Thomas Myers has to say about it.
Given all that, its not surprising that this is a questions that comes up often when people are wanting to learn more about scar tissue massage
Can Scar Therapy Help Me Get Feeling Back Around My Scar?
A common complaint of clients with scars is that they do not have any sensation in their scar and it can feel disconnected from the rest of their body. The most common scars I see are c-section scars and my clients share that there is little if any sensation at the edges of their scar. Using feather-light strokes, it is possible to encourage blood to return to the area affected and bring back feeling to this area.
Scars can make us feel very self-conscious. Some people embrace their scars as memories of something that they have overcome, but often scars are a physical reminder of a trauma or accident or injury that we’d rather forget.
However you feel about your scar is ok and entirely up to you. These are all normal emotional reactions to the physical change that occurs with scars.
I am honoured that the hands on skills I have enable me to provide emotional healing as well as physical recovery.
I never underestimate what it takes for my clients to talk to me about their personal feelings towards their scars and the bravery it takes to allow someone else to touch a scar.
I hope this blog post has let you learn a little more about scar tissue massage but If you are not sure if scar therapy is for you or have any questions about how I assess your scar, or what to expect from a session, please do not hesitate to drop me a message or give me a call on 07865 645 708.