How Does Massage Therapy Help with Scar Tissue

What is scar tissue?

Scar tissue is made up of collagen fibres. Collagen fibres are fibrous connective tissue that is less elastic than muscle tissue.  When you have had surgery or an injury, collagen fibres are laid down to help heal the body.  Since the collagen fibres are less elastic than other tissue, scar tissue can lead to adhesions and restrictions in range of motion.  Massage therapy techniques can help break down scar tissue which leads to decreased pain, increased range of motion and less restriction in tissues.

Scar tissue can be sensitive to the touch so it’s important to wait a few weeks after surgery or an injury to treat it. 

Massage therapy has been found to soften scar tissue by freeing restrictive fibrous bands and increasing circulation. 

There are a few massage therapy techniques that can be used to help break down scar tissue:

Frictions – frictions involve using the fingers or thumb and applying pressure across the muscle and collagen fibres to help loosen and break down the collagen fibres. Breaking down those collagen fibres will lessen restriction which in turn can decrease pain and increase range of motion.

Acupressure – also using thumbs, fingers or elbow, pressure is applied to the scar tissue for a length of time.  The pressure can help soften and break down the scar tissue while releasing the pressure brings blood flow back to the area.  The increased blood flow back to the area helps the muscle tissue heal.

Myofascial techniques such as:

Skin Rolling

Fascial Spreading

C Bowing

S Bowing

Passive stretching after performing the above techniques. Doing some passive stretching can help align the collagen fibres and promote a looser scar that is more supple allowing for better movement.

Working on scar tissue can be painful so be sure to work within your comfort zones. 

Don’t hesitate to book an appointment to get your scar tissue worked on!

April Boultbee, Registered Massage Therapist

April Boultbee graduated from Sutherland-Chan School of Massage in 2003. She specializes in Swedish techniques and deep tissue massage. Her particular interest revolves around sports-injury related massage. In addition, she is adept in treating postural dysfunction and relaxation massage.

April likes to develop a rapport with her clients so that they can work together to develop remedial exercise programs to improve health and well-being.

April is an elite runner and has been competing in road, trail and ultra races for 25+ years. She represented Canada at the 2017 24hr World Championships and the 2017 Xiqiao Mountain 24hr race in Foshan, China.
She also works with Canada Running Series as part of the Elite Athlete Management team at all their Toronto races. She is an avid cyclist and commutes around town on her bike year-round.

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