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  • Writer's pictureSimone Grove

5 benefits of Scar Therapy

On top of all the other difficult things we deal with on a cancer journey, scars and residual signs of what we’ve been through can be emotionally and physically challenging. I find sometimes my clients are reluctant, almost a little embarrassed to admit that scarring bothers them so much, or on the other hand are not aware because they are constantly avoiding looking at or touching their scars. And it’s perfectly normal and understandable to have a difficult relationship with surgical scars – they can impact our confidence and serve as a reminder of the trauma we’ve been through, which can be incredibly triggering.

 

What many people don’t know is that it is just as possible to cultivate a positive and nourishing relationship with your scars. You don’t have to simply live and put up with upsetting scarring – and in fact, there’s lots we can do to minimise the emotional discomfort and appearance of scars.


Scar work is the broad term used to describe specialist therapy which combines massage and physiotherapy techniques, and can help to improve the look and feel of surgical scars. Some find that embracing and enhancing their scars can be liberating, which is wonderful - and for many fading scars can also be a symbol of hope and healing. Scars are often a source of emotional pain and discomfort, and scar work addresses this so beautifully by softening and soothing tight and toughened tissues, whilst providing a safe space for the release of emotions at the same time.

 

As a holistic oncology specialist, I see a lot of breast cancer clients for scar therapy - and it's also really beneficial after any surgery. I support patients who have undergone many different types of surgery – from breast reconstructions to bowel surgery, head and neck surgery scars to C-sections. My passion is enabling people to feel confident and comfortable in their own skin again, seeing their scars as a source of pride rather than shame. Here I’m sharing five benefits of scar therapy (also known as Scar Work), which offers remarkable results for any post-surgical scars which cause physical discomfort or emotional distress.

 

1/ Healing emotional scars & supporting better body image

 

Working on physical scarring has an effect on our emotional health and healing too, and these can often take a considerable hit when we’re dealing with cancer. Surgical interventions can impact upon our body image and self-confidence, or cause a disconnect between who we are inside and our external appearance. Scars are often an emotionally painful reminder (and sometimes a trigger) which can cause us to feel stuck with negative emotions and replays of the difficult journey we’ve been on.

 

Although I encourage my clients to stay deeply connected with their body and see any physical changes as positive reminders of their inner strength and inspiring journey, it is also a huge relief for many when they realise that they can minimise the appearance of their scars. Scar work can help to enhance collagen and elastin production and loosens areas of tightness to help to smooth and fade surgical scars more effectively and in a shorter space of time.

 

2/ Soothe pain, tightness and discomfort

 

Surgical scars can vary in the way they heal, and may sometimes cause pain or emotional discomfort while the body gets to work recovering and repairing the surrounding tissues. Because lots of different layers of skin and subcutaneous tissue (beneath the skin) are cut through during surgery, this process involves healing processes through all the layers beneath the skin – and much of it is invisible to the eye. Specialist scar massage can help to improve numbness or altered sensation, keeping the skin and tissues beneath as soft and supple as possible so that they can more easily adapt to their new normal, soothing discomfort and tightness at the scar site and surrounding area.

 

3/ Speed up the healing process

 

Scar healing can take time and the way scar tissue forms and heals can be different for everyone. Scar work is really effective at encouraging healing through nourishing and nurturing scar tissue. The deliberate and targeted strokes of scar massage help to keep the skin and surrounding tissue in the best possible condition for healing, improving blood flow to the area to provide vital nourishment and which may bring about faster healing.

 

4/ Improve numbness, sensation and sensitivity around scars

 

Even when a scar looks and feels healed, patients can still experience unusual sensations such as tingling or prickling, numbness or increased sensitivity around the area which can be ongoing and troublesome. Scar work may change the sensitivity of the area over time as well as reducing pain, tightness and numbness.


5/ Enhanced scar and soft tissue mobility for future treatments

 

Loosening up stiff scar tissue and healing existing scars can help you to access further treatments more easily such as radiotherapy, or feel more relaxed when facing further surgeries such as breast reconstruction. Pain, discomfort, loss of sensation and issues such as cording can make radiotherapy planning or treatment difficult and cause more distress or even delay treatment. Through supporting the healing of their scars with specialist scar therapy, many patients find that they feel more open and confident when accessing further treatments, whilst pain and discomfort is no longer a barrier for subsequent surgeries and therapies.


To learn more about specialist oncology massage and scar therapy or to book a treatment please get in touch or visit my dedicated page here: www.physiocareholistics.co.uk




 

 

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