Question: How does massage help with scar tissue from an injury or surgery?
Answer: Well to understand scar tissue, we have to first understand connective tissue which supports, protects, and gives structure to other tissues and organs in the body. It also stores fat, helps move nutrients between tissues and organs, and helps repair damaged tissue. There are also different types of tissue such as tendon, ligament and fascia, which are soft tissues composed of collagen fibers. All fibers have a certain pattern and direction that it typically "lays". When the tissue heals itself the fibers heal in different directions and most of the time it does not align with it's normal pattern. To help combat this, when you receive a massage the therapist is breaking up the scar tissue to help guide the fibers to heal in the correct direction. It is important to regularly massage your scar, even while at home. Below are a few suggestions:
1. Massage the scar 2 - 3 times per day with lotion for at least 5 minutes. Lotion (preferably with Vitamin E) will not only make it easier to massage the area, but also help avoid leaving scars.
2. Don’t concentrate on just the scarred area, but also the surrounding area because swelling can leave scar tissue behind.
3. An exercise I suggest is with your thumb or index finger, begin massaging in a circulation motion. Press firmly, but not to the point where it is painful. Maintain a circular motion around the scar then switch and rub in the other direction. This will help drain excess fluid from the area.
4. Another suggestion is putting the flat part of your finger on the scar. Move the skin and tissue under the scar back and forth, holding for a few seconds. Make sure you press enough to feel the scar "move" under your fingertips, but again not to the point where it is painful. Move your fingers along to the next section of the scar and repeat until you've massaged all along the scar.