Addressing scar tissue is multifaceted and progressive work. The work is effective regardless of the source of the scar: burn, surgical, injury or postural.
Scar tissue can take anywhere from 3 months to two years to fully mature. During this process, collagen fibers are laid down in random pattern to bring stability to the injured area. These fibers are rather in-elastic. Massage can help these to lay down in a more functional and symmetrical direction.
The goal during the healing stage is to help achieve a good quality scar.
The goal during the healing stage is to help achieve a good quality scar: flat, pale and pliable. Early work can be done once the scar is closed and there is no scabbing. This could include myofascial work, lymphatic drainage and light vibration. Prior to this, energy work can be done as well as bodywork on healthy tissue. Massage is eases dysfunction in compensatory structures that are being used differently than normal due to the pain and restriction of the injured site. This can ease trigger points and other muscle pain.
Massage techniques create more mobility and improves lymph and blood flow.
On a mature scar, massage techniques can be deeper to free the scar from other tissues and adhesions. For people with grafts, the donor site is also addressed. To have healthy tissue you need to have both lymph and blood flow. Your lymphatic system is basically your immune system. As the tissue is healing, the lymphatic system is carrying away the waste by products that your body no longer needs. Increased blood flow allows your body to get the nutrients it needs to heal properly. Massage techniques focusing on scar tissue manipulation help this process.
It reduces the dysfunctional adhesions between tissue layers so that area of the body has the best function and sensation possible. A scar adheres tissue to heal. However, often additional adhesions, ones your body creates that are unnecessary for healing are also formed. These adhesions force tissue normally designed to slide to stick, potentially causing reduced motor functions and limited, or even extra sensation surrounding the scar.
Proprioceptive retraining is an important part of rehabilitation.
Once those adhesions are reduced, and the tissue layers are freed up, we need to retrain your body to move to the full extent it is now capable. This is professionally referred to as proprioceptive retraining.
There can be a lot of emotion surrounding scar tissue.
There can be a lot of emotion surrounding scar tissue, both from the initial injury or surgery as well as often painful medical treatments during the healing process. This is especially true when working with burn scars. Touch can be difficult due to memory of the pain of treatments as well as from feeling that people would have an aversion to their scars. This can be true for both children and adults. The treatments are designed to be as gentle and comfortable as possible. The client is in full control every session and no touch is given without consent. Emotional releases are common and supported by the practitioner.