Scar Tissue
and how Massage Therapy helps with pain, swelling, and healing time!

Scar Tissue is caused by fibrous connective tissue that has begun to heal from surgery, injury or disease. The scars are often raised and dense because of limited blood supply. Function and sensation may also be limited.

Manual lymph drainage can help by reducing lymph congestion, reducing pain and discomfort, breaking up fibrous tissue and creating more flexibility with easier movement.

Using slow, gentle, circular or kneading motions, the therapist may try to actually stretch the skin above and below the tissue.

Therapists often see patients for scar pain due to surgeries like breast cancer/reconstruction, foot/toe surgery, C-sections, knee surgery, hand surgery (for injuries like carpal tunnel), or back surgeries. 

Myofascial Release and Deep Tissue massage techniques may also be used to gently loosen the scar's adhesions. Deep pressure may be too much for the client, depending on the age of the scar, so be aware of their comfort level at all times.

During the first 5-6 weeks after the surgery or injury, a massage practitioner may only do gentle vibrational motions around the area to help reduce the swelling and pain. Mobilization of tissue around the incision to increase blood flow will often be performed.

However, deeper work may need to be done after a few months to restore elasticity, break up the collagen and encourage more blood flow.

The therapist may lift or stretch (without pulling or tugging on the scar itself) the area in different directions in order to break up the tissue.

Manual lymph drainage techniques will encourage movement of lymph around the affected sight better than any other types of massage therapy.

This DVD, Lymphatic Drainage Massage Therapy teaches how to ease the scar pain using lymphatic drainage techniques with demonstrations on how to promote lymphatic flow. These easy-to-follow instructions can be used at home or in a clinical practice.

Visiting a massage therapist for regular treatment of either massage therapy or cupping therapy to the scar damaged area should break it up, making it less visible and less painful to the touch.

Shea butter, emu oil, Vitamin E and arnica oil are great products to use on incision sights to moisturize and calm the inflammation.

Read more about the best massage oils for massage therapy and how they are used to treat specific medical conditions and pain syndromes.

Ice can often allow your body to heal quickly, promoting healing by decreasing inflammation, increasing blood circulation, and preventing abnormal scar healing.

However, in some cases, ice may not be appropriate. Check with your doctor to make sure it is safe for your type of scar tissue inflammation.

Go back to Massage Education Guide Homepage 

Go Back to Pain Syndromes from Scar Tissue 

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