Scarred for life? If scar tissue is causing you discomfort or affecting your self-esteem, it may be worth considering a specialised scar tissue massage. Using gentle frictional strokes, this form of massage loosens the skin’s fibres and aids the healing process – helping you to feel a bit more like your old self again.
Scar tissue is generally weaker than undamaged tissue, and therefore prone to re-injury even years after the original lesion occurred. Regular massage of damaged areas can not only help tissue to heal effectively without complications, but can also assist in improving the appearance and feel of old scars – good news if your marks are making you miserable.
It’s best to begin scar tissue massage when the scar is still immature, as most of the healing process takes place in the first year after damage. However, if the scar is too young then massage could actually worsen the problem – so make sure you consult a doctor first. After all, it's better to be safe than sorry...
There are a variety of different massage techniques that therapists can use to help ease the discomfort of scars. These include:
Manual lymph drainage – This optimises lymphatic circulation and drainage, softening the tissue.
Myofascial release – Using a circular motion or straight stretches, this method helps to ease constriction.
Lubrication – Applying lotions or oils can prevent the scar from drying out and re-opening, as well as softening it and improving pliability.
Stretching – Stretching of the scar tissue assists with movement, particularly if the scarred area is close to a joint.
Heat application – Heat application improves pliability of the scar tissue. Your therapist may apply heat using paraffin wax, heat packs or ultrasonic waves.
This treatment may be suitable for those who feel their scarring affects their confidence, as well as those who suffer from pain or discomfort as a result of tightened skin. However, it’s always best to check with a doctor before you undergo therapy – they will be able to let you know whether it’s appropriate for you.
Scar tissue massage therapy can sometimes be painful, but your therapist will do their best to work within the confines of your individual pain threshold - always good to hear.
The more regularly and consistently a scar is massaged, the lower the risk of developing any complications. Phew!