The Benefits of Massaging Your Scar
A popular scar therapy is using various massage techniques to reduce its appearance. According to the Institute for Integrative Healthcare, the earlier and more consistently scar tissue is exercised, massaged, and warmed, the less possibility of developing any long-term concerns. Below we’ll cover the benefits of massaging your scar as well as various techniques you can use to minimize scar visibility.
MASSAGING YOUR SCAR BREAKS UP COLLAGEN FIBERS
After a cut, scrape, burn, or other trauma to the skin, scar tissue forms as the end result of the body’s natural wound healing process. This process is quite complex and involves several different types of cells and mediators that first work to stop the flow of blood, followed by regeneration of tissue to seal the wound. You’ve most likely noticed that about three to four days following an injury or surgery, a scab will form over the wound. According to Dr. Mehmet Oz, the key players in scabs are platelets (a type of blood cell) and fibrin (a protein). These substances stick together and form a blood clot on the skin. Typically after about ten days the scab will shrink and slough off as the body focuses on laying down collagen fibers to strengthen the recovering site of injury. This is the step when massaging the area can help to reduce scar appearance and formation. Livestrong explains that sometimes collagen fibers can grow in all directions, which causes scars to appear darker and more pronounced. Therefore, massaging your scar can help to break up these collagen fibers in order to minimize its visibility.
MASSAGING YOUR SCAR INCREASES BLOOD CIRCULATION
Massaging your scar also increases blood circulation, which can speed the healing process as well as maintain pliability to prevent the scar from re-opening. Furthermore, promoting blood flow is important to prevent long-term complications caused by scar tissue formation. Since scar tissue is composed primarily of collagen and therefore has a high fibrosity, adequate circulation to the area can become restricted. The lack of blood flow and lymph drainage occurring in scar tissue can result in abnormal stress on the scar and its surrounding structures. This can lead to complications such as:
- Nerve impingement
- Limited range of motion and flexibility
- Postural misalignment
- Muscle atrophy
- Tissue hypoxia
- An increase in potential for future injury
Thus, massaging your scar will not only improve its outward appearance but will also prevent long-term complications that can impair the function of the scarred area.
Scar massage therapy is offered by licensed massage therapists that have been professionally trained to use a variety of techniques to minimize the visibility of your scar. However, you can try a few simple techniques in order to reap the benefits of massaging your scar at home.
One technique is to rub your scar in a circular motion in order to promote fluid drainage. During the wound healing process, lymph nodes surrounding the scar often retain excess fluid, which can lead to swelling of the scar tissue. Therefore, this technique will aid in draining excess fluid and reducing swelling.
Myofascial release is another technique that involves stretching the skin next to the scar in order to ease constriction. The Institute for Integrative Healthcare explains that to perform this technique you should start by placing two or three fingers at the beginning of the scar and stretch the skin above the scar in a parallel direction. Then, move the fingers a quarter of an inch further along the scar and repeat the stretch of the adjacent tissue, working your way along the scar.
A final technique involves applying pressure directly to your scar with a finger or the palm of your hand (depending on the size of your scar) and rubbing the scar in one direction. This technique breaks up collagen fibers and reduces the likelihood for these fibers to grow in different directions.
It’s important to ensure that your wound is fully closed before massaging your scar, which is typically 10 to 14 days after the initial injury.
ANOTHER WAY TO MINIMIZE SCAR VISIBILITY
While it’s clear that there are multiple benefits of massaging your scar, it’s also important to understand that this is just one part of an effective scar treatment regimen. Another way to minimize scar visibility is to apply a topical scar treatment product that will promote healing. Even though there seems to be an infinite amount of products on the market that claim to rid your skin of scars, silicone gel is the only topical treatment that is recommended by scar management experts.
Silicone gel exerts many beneficial actions to help your scar heal flat and fade faster. For example, silicone gel increases hydration and provides occlusion to the newly formed tissue, two factors that are essential for proper wound healing. The most common silicone products are silicone gel sheeting and topical silicone gel. However, at NewGel+ we understand that no two scars are the same and therefore scar treatment products should be available in more options than just a one-size-fits-all square sheet. For this reason, NewGel+ offers the widest variety of silicone gel scar treatment products available, including multiple sizes of sheets, strips, shapes, and two tube sizes of gel.
By combining the benefits of massaging your scar with the clinically proven benefits of silicone gel, your scars are guaranteed to fade away in no time!