ScarWork is a form of manual treatment for scars and adhesions.
Sharon Wheeler is the founder of these gentle techniques which enhance the health of scars and the deeper scar tissue, no matter the age of the scar. I have trained with the brilliant Emma Holly, who is an accredited tutor and ScarWork therapist in the UK; to become a certified ScarWork therapist.
Full transparency; I was a bit of a sceptic at first as to how much improvement could actually be done to a scar, however it didn’t take me long until I was convinced of its positive effect. I am now super passionate about delivering this therapy at SF Studios to our patients! I most commonly see women with C-section scars, Mastectomies, Colonoscopy or Hysterectomy scars, however I am hoping that clients with all sorts of scars will hear about this fantastic yet still fairly unknown therapy.
Maybe you have a scar yourself? Have you ever thought about how it feels to touch and the surrounding tissues? Or maybe you don’t want to touch your scar (this is very common) and rather just not acknowledge its existence? Regardless how you feel about your scar, it has a fascinating physiology and paying it more attention could potentially unlock several aspects of your wellbeing, physical as well as emotional.
How does it work?
ScarWork treatment is used to improve the health and feel of scars from surgery, accidents or burns. The scar may feel painful, numb, itchy, feel sensitive, irritated or even cause pins and needles. This is due to the adhesions caused by scarring which connect structures that should not be connected. Adhesions can restrict mobility, organ function and create pain. The whole body is connected by fascia, this means that if there is an issue in one part of the body, a cascading effect occurs throughout the rest of the body affecting function and structure. By applying ScarWork there is an increase in blood circulation and lymphatic flow, which is essential for improved cell regeneration to the scar and surrounding areas. Releasing fascial restriction of nerves can assist in pain relief and restore feeling to numb areas.
Research is ongoing into the changes that occur physiologically after ScarWork treatment, however ultrasound images have demonstrated improvements in the fascial tissue post treatment. ScarWork is commonly recommended to patients with burns and surgery scars, as a part of their standard aftercare protocol.
What does a treatment session look like?
Unlike traditional scar massage, the techniques should not be at all painful for the patient, making it suitable for even extremely sensitive scars and children. The therapist may choose to sit or stand to deliver the treatment, while the client is usually on a therapy table. No oil, cream or device is used during treatment. The patient should find a ScarWork treatment comfortable to receive, hence communication throughout the session is key to ensure the therapist is applying the appropriate pressure, technique or are indeed moving away from the sensitive area whilst it is calmed down. Generally, a series of treatments is most effective, and each treatment should bring noticeable improvements.
Which scars can be treated?
Some examples of scars that can be treated: C- section, Mastectomy or Lumpectomy, Hysterectomy, open heart surgery, tube/drain sites, road traffic accident, spinal surgery, fascial scars, foot surgery and hip replacements.
What are the benefits?
There is strong evidence that having consistent ScarWork therapy early on as well as on a much older scar can minimise or even eliminate pain, ease tightness and improve mobility. Also, tightness in surrounding tissues can be reduced helping to restore normal muscle function. Knots and tight, ropey scars feel more softer and looser.
When is ScarWork not appropriate?
If you are recovering from surgery it is recommended to wait between 6-14 weeks depending on what type of surgery you had. You will need to have been signed off by your surgeon prior to commencing ScarWork. If you are undergoing active radiotherapy then ScarWork is not appropriate as well as with active untreated cancer in the area of the scar. ScarWork may be given following a completion of radiotherapy after a period of no less than six weeks, however this will depend on the patients individual assessment.
Do you have a scar and would like to experience the benefits of ScarWork? Please get in touch – I would love to help!