6 Practical Tips for Effective Scar Treatment With Massage

Before and after 8 week of scar massage
Post operation elbow scar before (A) and after (B) 8 weeks of massage.

When it comes to improving the look of your scar tissue with massage, we can offer you some practical tips that can help ensure the treatment you choose is effectiveness. In summary these include these 6 points. Always look for a qualified, experienced professional. You should not get massage treatment for scarring until the tissues are quite well healed.  Improving the appearance of scars means using the proper techniques as detailed below. It will take time, so be patient, massage is not a miracle cure to get rid of scarring. Massage and creams to make scars look better can work well together.

6 Key Guidelines to Follow for Massaging Scar Tissue:

  1. Consult with a qualified massage therapist: It’s important to work with a massage therapist who has experience in scar treatment. They will have the knowledge and skills to provide effective massage techniques that target the specific needs of your scar. They can also advise you on the frequency and duration of scar massage sessions. Once per week for 8 weeks with home treatment regime would be a good start.
  2. Wait for the right time: It’s crucial to wait until your scar has fully healed before starting scar massage. This typically takes around 6-8 weeks, but it may vary depending on the individual and the type of scar. Consult with your healthcare professional to determine the appropriate time to begin scar massage.
  3. Use appropriate techniques: There are various massage techniques that can be used for scar treatment according to NHS (2023), including effleurage stroking, petrissage, spiral and transverse deep rubbing, pinching, myofascial techniques, percussion to break up cells in underlying tissues and friction. Your massage therapist will be able to determine the most suitable technique for your scar based on its characteristics and your specific needs. They will also teach you how to perform self-massage at home to complement the professional treatment.
  4. Be gentle and patient: Scar massage should be performed with gentle pressure, avoiding any pain or discomfort. It’s important to be patient and consistent with scar massage, as it may take time to see noticeable improvements. Regular and gentle massage sessions, performed over a period of several weeks or months, can lead to significant changes in the appearance of scars.
  5. Use appropriate products: Depending on your scar’s characteristics, and your skin type your massage therapist may recommend the use of specific products during and after scar massages. These products, such as almond oil or aqueous cream penetrate the skin, can help to enhance the effectiveness of the massage and provide additional benefits to the skin according to the NHS (2023).
  6. Be consistent: Consistency is a key when it comes to good scar treatment. It’s important to adhere to the recommended frequency and duration of massage sessions, as well as any self-massage routines at home. By being consistent, you can maximise the benefits of scar massage and improve the overall healing and appearance of your scars.

Some Honest Ethical Advice About Getting Scar Treatament

Microscope view of C-section scar before (A) and after (B) some manual scar therapyRemember, scar massage is good but, it can be one part of a more comprehensive scar treatment plan. It can be used in conjunction with other scar treatments and under the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional for greatest effect.

We want to be honest and ethical with you so, we should tell you the following. While according to de Oliveira A. et al (2018) and many other scientific and medical reports scar massage can significantly improve the appearance of scars, it is not a treatment for scar removal. Scars are a natural part of the healing process and cannot be completely eliminated. However, with the power of massage therapy, you can unlock the potential for improved healing, better looking skin afterwards and greater self-confidence with what you healed skin looks like.

References: 

de Oliveira A. et al (2018) Randomized controlled trial of the immediate and long-term effect of massage on adult postburn scar  [online] available from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30626496/ last access 10/11/2023

NHS (2023) Scar management [online] available from https://www.southtees.nhs.uk/resources/scar-management/ last access 20/11/2023

Lubczyńska A et al (2023) Effectiveness of various methods of manual scar therapy [online] available from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/srt.13272 last access 16/11/2023

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