What is Scar Tissue Massage?

This therapy focuses on the treatment of a scar that forms on the skin surface as well as scar tissue that forms within the deeper dermis and underlying soft tissues including muscles, tendons, ligaments and myofascia. Scar Tissue Massage, or as it is also know Scar Massage, incorporates a mixture of Massage, Myofascial Release Therapy and where wanted and appropriate Medical Acupuncture (Dry Needling), to achieve this goal.

What are the main objectives of Scar Tissue Massage?

Scar Tissue Massage is a process of breaking down and remodelling scar tissue which has formed in the soft tissues of the body to make these soft tissues return to full or fuller function. On occasions I have found that remodelling scar tissue in the torso has also lead to improved digestive functioning and comfort in the organs where scar tissue has also affected the visceral fascia which wraps around and has constricted the internal organs.

Scar Tissue Massage can help decrease scar tissue build up and make a visible scar less noticeable. It can reduce palpable hardness in and around the scar itself and restriction in the soft tissues. Pain and discomfort relief is also a notable benefit of receiving Scar Tissue Massage.

In the case of treating post surgical scar tissue my clients have reported the following improvements:

  • Pain relief
  • Improved flexibility in the scar tissue itself
  • Improved flexibility and comfort levels in the soft tissues affected by the surgery
  • Improved flexibility and comfort levels in the soft tissues related to the original cause of the surgery in the cases of conditions such as insertion of metal plates/pins/spinal rods, traumatic injury or nerve dysfunction
  • A reduction in the ‘puckered up’ appearance that often surrounds a recent scar and can additionally promote a better sense of both emotional and mental acceptance of their scar after treatment

Which types of Scaring can Scar Tissue Massage benefit?

Internal scar tissue that occurs due to a strain to the muscles, tendons and myofascia (muscle covering) or sprain to ligaments or injury relating to these soft tissues tends to respond very well to Scar Tissue Massage. The benefits of massaging these soft tissues and releasing associated adhesions is highly recommended as part of the recovery process once the relevant area is healed sufficiently to be safely worked on.

With other types of scarring, there is a general consensus that post surgical scar tissue benefits the most from Scar Tissue Massage, especially if undertaken promptly after the scar itself has healed.

Post surgical scar tissue includes:

  • Caesarean Section (C-Section) scars
  • Surgical incision scars including keyhole surgery
  • Scar tissue that is created in the process of the performance of any surgical procedure
  • Scar tissue that forms around surgically implanted metal plates, joint replacements, metal pinning of broken bones and spinal fusion rods

It is negligible whether Scar Tissue Massage can benefit stretch marks so I do not undertake Scar Tissue Massage for this purpose.

In relation to Keloid scar tissue there are greatly mixed reports on whether Scar Tissue Massage can reliably reduce or stop scar tissue fibre production. In some cases it has been reported production may even increase. Until more positive or conclusive evidence is available I tend to avoid Scar Tissue Massage on Keloid scars. The only exception to this is if a client wishes to try it and is fully aware of the potential risk that more fibre production may potentially occur.

When can Scars and Scar Tissue be massaged?

Scar Tissue Massage should be undertaken within two years of the time the scar occurred or scar tissue was formed. It is considered negligible whether treatment after this two year period will be effective in treating any scar or scar tissue after this time, although any muscular or myofascial restrictions that have formed around it will still respond to treatment where scar tissue itself may no longer be able to do so.

Any scar or scar tissue should be fully healed in advance of having Scar Tissue Massage to ensure no additional damage or scar tissue formation occurs. There are many guidelines on when a scar can be considered fully healed, but any time lengths are average guidelines only and your personal circumstances will be affected by all of the following, which is far from a comprehensive list:

  • Your age
  • The nutritional value in your diet
  • Your lifestyle
  • Your current state of health
  • Any factor you may be currently experiencing, or recently have experienced, that has affected your immune system
  • How much you have rested during the healing process
  • Any complications that may have occurred during your healing process such as infection or not resting sufficiently during healing

Please seek the advice of your General Practitioner (GP) or surgeon before attending an Appointment to receive Scar Tissue Massage if there is any possibility your scar and/or scar tissue under the skin surface is not yet sufficiently healed.

Additional Information in relation to Scar Tissue Massage

Scar tissue is formed by the same collagen fibre tissue that are found in the surrounding soft tissues as it is healing but rather than forming in straight lines scar tissue forms in a more basket weave pattern. Scar tissue is part of our naturally occurring healing and remodelling process after any soft tissue injury, after surgery and can also occasionally be formed due to disease.
Adhesions can be formed when damaged tissues heal, especially where the boundary of healing spreads outside of the direct tissues that required healing. These adhesions can stick soft tissues within the body together which result in restriction. In many cases these adhesions can create inflexible areas within muscles (in essence shortening the muscle length) and range of movement restrictions in joints and soft tissues.
Please be aware there are a numerous medical conditions that can be antagonised by a massage based treatment. These fall within three main categories based on which medical condition you are currently experiencing, or in some cases have experienced previously:

  • Total Contraindications which entirely preventing you receiving massage treatment in any area of your body for the good of your health
  • Special Circumstances where written or verbal Medical Consent and any guidelines for treatment are required before it is possible to receive a massage treatment
  • Local Contraindications which prevent you receiving massage in certain areas or in certain ways for the good of your health. Local Contraindications can also include medical conditions that must remain covered during your treatment to ensure no cross contamination or potential infection occurs
Should you have any diagnosed or undiagnosed medical condition it is always recommended that you check with your General Practitioner (GP) before scheduling an Appointment to ensure massage is suitable under your specific circumstances.

Please note: should you arrive for any massage based Appointment with any medical condition without already having checked that it is suitable for treatment the following will apply:

  • I may have to look up your medical condition during your Appointment to make sure that treating you is appropriate; and
  • I may be unable to provide you with a massage during your Appointment or restricted in my capacity to do so
Where you attend an Appointment and a massage based treatment is not possible due to any medical condition you may have, your Appointment will be treated as a Missed Appointment and no treatment will be able to be provided.
Myofascial Release Therapy is always used as part of any Scar Tissue Massage treatment. Based on how you feel on the day, I might also utilise other Incorporated Techniques as may be appropriate for your specific condition.