Scar massage is only now coming into mainstream postpartum recovery care but it is such an important part of healing. Planned c-section or not your body will feel and look different and it is important not just from a physical recovery point of view but also emotional. Getting to know you new postpartum body and loving all of your new lumps, bumps and lines that all tell a story. You body has done wonderful incredible thing. I now needs care and attention to heal.
Should I massage my C-section?
Massage is a great way of reducing tightness, tugging and numbness and improving the appearance of around your c-section scar. It is now known to be an important part of your healing process whatever surgery you have had and should be a part of your rehabilitation.
What is a scar?
Scars lead to a permanent change in collagen, which means your skin won’t ever be the completely the same as it was before. Scars can feel thicker and more rigid and might also have sensory changes. They also aren’t just on the surface, and there could be a lot more going on than first meets the eye.
A healthy scar is pale, flat, and mobile. If the scar experiences increased inflammation from infection, tightness, or irritation this can lead to excessive collagen production leading to thickening scars or red.
Adhesions is where the scar can tether to another area it shouldn’t be connected to and this is very common in surgery involving the abdominal area. Therefore, following a c-section it is highly recommended to do some scar work to prevent further complications.
Why should I do scar work?
Scar massage can improve so many factors:
Movement of surrounding tissues and joints
Hydration and circulation, improving lymph flow around the area therefore healing
Help with coming to terms with the surgery you have had.
Before and after
When can I start massaging my scar?
You can start massaging your scar once it’s healed, as in as soon as the scab has gone, you can very lightly rub some cream or oil over the area. At six weeks you can go a little deeper. Interestingly, scars continue to change for up to two years after the wound has healed and even old scars can benefit, making it never too late to start.
But the sooner you do work of the healed scar the better the healing process will be.
Some questions to ask before you start:
Is your scar raised and redder? You’ll need to go more gently and perhaps work around the area more. Check out how to protect and stretch, a great technique if you are experiencing tightness around the scar or notice its thicker and you want to massage but not on the scar.
Do you have a keloid scar or prone to keloids? (This is when a scar is red, enlarged and raised and spreading away, due to the collagen growing away from the borders of the scar line). You should probably seek professional support to help to treat this.
How are you feeling about touching your scar? Check in with yourself. If you’re not comfortable, just wait for a bit longer or seek support from a professional. Scar massage is all about listening to your body.
Most crucially, are there any signs of infection? If your scar is red, hot, pussy, smelly or oozy or if you’re feeling unwell or have a temperature, do not attempt scar work, and instead contact your GP.
If everything is looking nicely healed, you might be ready to start scar massage! Guidance tends to be from 6 weeks, once your surgeon or GP are happy with the healing.
How to massage my scar?
Starting from two weeks after your C-section, you can start to with softly touch around your scar. It’s best to lie down and to take some deep abdominal breaths, which will encourage good blood flow to the area. Sweep your fingers towards (but not across) your scar to promote hydration to the area normal sensation. You might find the sensation is very different and even that you can’t feel much until you’re quite far away from the scar. This should improve with time. The main thing is to start getting familiar with this new part of you.
You could also very lightly rub some oil or cream (type in scar to the search bar in shop) into the area as if rubbing on your eyelid. Very soft and just enough to hydrate the area with the product.
Then from around six weeks, you can start more focused treatment. Always start with light touch and then begin to lightly sweep in towards the scar from all directions with the pads of your fingers. This will bring fluid and hydration to the areas. Then, sweep gently across the scar with the tips of the finger, working along the line of the scar. This is light work - you don’t need to press hard at all.
As the area gets more used to touch, you can start lighting pressing down onto the scar too, as if you’re pressing on a letter on a keyboard. Work along the scar and around it, all the way towards your hip bones, pubic bone and tummy button. When you come across a harder nodule, stay pressing over the area for 10-20 seconds, and you might find it softens.
Finally, get both hands and pad into the scar and surrounding areas, like a cat is pawing at you. Use all your fingers to identify any harder areas and then spend some time working into these. Work up to the ribs and all over the abdomen. This is slightly deeper work, so only attempt it once you’ve warmed up the area.
Ideally, massage your scar little and often for maximum recovery. But listen to your body. Any sign the scar is getting irritated stop. And if you are at all concerned seek professional advice.
For more information:
Head to @XENA.life_ Instagram to watch my video on how to massage your scar