Scar tissue is a common occurrence after an injury or surgery. While it serves the purpose of repairing damaged tissue, it also causes a range of issues from pain and discomfort to limited range of motion. Luckily, Massage Therapy, especially with Micro-current Point Stimulation, is often an effective way to manage scar tissue and its associated problems.
What is Scar Tissue?
Scar tissue is formed when the body’s tissues are damaged. This may be due to an injury, surgery, or other type of trauma. Scars are made up of collagen, a protein that the body produces to repair and strengthen damaged tissue. While scar tissue is essential for the healing process, it is also problematic because it’s less elastic than healthy tissue. Due to this, it causes stiffness, tightness, and pain, and can also limit range of motion.
Types of Scar Tissue
Hypertrophic scars are the most common. Looking like a line on the skin, they start off being sore and red and then fade to brown or pale over time. When intertwined with the surrounding tissue, they are often painful and itchy.
Keloids are the result of an overgrowth of tissue during the healing process. They feel stiff and lumpy and restrict movement if near a joint.
Atrophic are pitted scars instantly recognizable by bad acne or chickenpox sufferers.
Burns may cause these. They tend to be deep and impact muscles and nerves. The skin shrinks or contracts and, depending on where it is on the body, which makes movement difficult.
How Massage Therapy Helps with Scar Tissue
Massage Therapy is a type of hands-on therapy that involves manipulating the body’s soft tissues to promote relaxation, reduce tension, and improve circulation. When it comes to scar tissue, massage is an effective intervention. Therapy will help break up adhesions (areas where the tissue has stuck together), reduce pain, and improve range of motion.
Here are some of the ways Massage Therapy can help with scar tissue:
- Breaking up adhesions: Scar tissue create adhesions between different layers of tissue. These may cause pain and limit movement. Massage Therapy helps to break up these adhesions which improves mobility and reduces discomfort.
- Increasing blood flow. Massage Therapy improves blood flow to the affected area which promotes healing and reduces pain.
- Reducing pain and discomfort: Scar tissue is often painful and uncomfortable. Massage Therapy reduces these symptoms by promoting relaxation and reducing tension.
- Improving range of motion: Scar tissue often limits range of motion which makes it difficult to perform certain movements. Massage Therapy assists by improving range of motion by increasing flexibility and reducing stiffness.
Types of Massage Therapy for Scar Tissue
There are several types of Massage Therapy that are effective for managing scar tissue including:
- Myofascial release: This type of massage focuses on releasing tension in the fascia, the connective tissue that surrounds muscles and organs. Myofascial release is effective for breaking up adhesions and reducing pain.
- Deep tissue massage: This type of massage therapy uses deep pressure to reach the underlying layers of muscle tissue. Deep tissue massage is effective for breaking up scar tissue and reducing pain.
- Swedish massage: This type of massage uses long, flowing strokes to promote relaxation and reduce tension. Swedish massage can be effective for reducing pain and increasing circulation.
- Trigger point therapy: This type of massage therapy focuses on releasing trigger points which are areas of tightness and tenderness in the muscle tissue. Trigger point therapy is effective for reducing pain and improving range of motion.
Massage Therapy Helps Scar Tissue
Scar tissue can be a painful and frustrating problem. Massage Therapy helps by promoting healing and restoring function. This is done by breaking up adhesions, increasing blood flow, reducing pain and discomfort, and improving range of motion. If you’re dealing with scar tissue consider adding massage therapy to your treatment plan.
Microcurrent Point Stimulation for Scar Tissue Treatment
MPS uses a low-amplitude current that works with the body’s natural current to target chronic pain and restriction.
How does this work with scar tissue?
Scars display different electrical properties than the surrounding skin. Normal skin tissue holds a resting electrical charge of 80mV (millivolts) while scars have a resting electrical charge of 1.6 volts/ This is 20 times the voltage of normal skin. Scars also have a different positive (+ve) electrical polarity than negative poled (-ve) skin. Each Dolphin Neruostim device is placed parallel to the scar and held for 25- 30 seconds. The practitioner will then move down the length of the scar. This is completed 3 times. At the end of each pass over the scar, the same is done at the beginning and end of the scar. The practitioner maintains contact with each device and the patient’s skin by working as a conduit. A single treatment includes 3 complete passes along the scar tissue.
When the external current from the MPS is applied to points along scar tissue it is working like a sewing needle or a pinball machine, bouncing current across the scar to re-polarize from the higher positive voltage back to the lower negative and healthy voltage. This stimulation helps the production of fibroblasts and healthy connective tissue. In between each of the 3 passes along the scar, you will be instructed on eccentrically loading, or stretching, the area of the scar tissue. This is followed by light flushing massage strokes in the area. This combination will further facilitate the realignment of the scar tissue, flushing the broken down tissue and stimulate the production of healthy connective tissue.
What to expect after first treatment
Patient can expect decreased sensitivity, increased mobility, increased pliability and potentially a decrease in any discoloration from scar tissue.
Is this modality safe?
Yes! The current of this device is so low that patients usually report feeling nothing. However, scar tissue itself can be painful. Therefore, during the treatment, please communicate if the area is sensitive. The only contraindications, cannot be performed, are for those who are pregnant or have pacemakers.
This treatment can be used on any type of scar including but not limited to:
Scars from childbirth
Vaccines/insulin/allergy(puncturing the skin, which is trauma, and classified as scars)
Bruises & Hematomas
Port Wine Stains
Supernumerary (3rd nipples)
Scars from illness & disease
Treat Your Scar Tissue with Massage and MPS
Scar tissue is often a painful and frustrating problem. But massage therapy is an effective way to manage its associated symptoms. By breaking up adhesions, increasing blood flow, reducing pain and discomfort, and improving range of motion. Massage therapy and Micro-current Point Stimulation promote healing and restore function. If you’re dealing with scar tissue consider adding massage and MPS to your treatment plan.
If you have scar tissue you are looking to have treated, be sure to connect with a professional licensed therapist who is trained to assist. Treat your scar tissue in the Syracuse, NY area at our North Syracuse or Downtown Syracuse locations. Book an appointment today!