The person may have a scar, but it also means they have a story.
Do you have an unsightly scar from surgery, an accident or burn?
Is your scar tissue causing restriction in movement or pain?
Do you suspect that your bladder, bowel or infertility issues could be in part due to scar tissue?
Are you embarrassed about the way your body now looks due to an unsightly scar?
I am a fully trained ScarWork practitioner. This new form of manual scar therapy treatment is given without oils or creams to help post-operative, accident or burn scars.
Wounds and scars are universal, everyone has scars, visible and invisible and every scar contains stories about a person’s life.
Our bodies have an innate ability to heal wounds, however the process does not always happen smoothly, and the end product is not always ideal.
Following a trauma or surgery, different layers of tissue can sometimes get stuck during the healing process forming ridges, lumps, holes and gaps. This can cause restriction in movement and in some cases discomfort or pain. Scars can also be left numb in places or alter the shape of a part of your body. Many people have an aversion to touching their scars because of how they look or feel.
Scars can also be disingenuous, on the surface (for example after keyhole surgery) they can look great, but below the surface the reality may be a whole different story.
Scar tissue that interferes with structure and function and adversely impacts your quality of life can be safely addressed by ScarWork therapy.
ScarWork is the brainchild of Sharon Wheeler, who was originally trained by Ida Rolf. Named after its founder, Dr. Ida P. Rolf, Rolfing® Structural Integration is a form of bodywork that reorganises the connective tissues (called fascia) that cover the entire body. Rolfing’s main aim is to return the body to its optimum structure, via the realignment of these interconnective tissues that hold the muscles in place.
Sharon has been a Rolfer for over 40 years and during this time she developed an approach to working with scars.
ScarWork is a therapy which is used to improve feeling and functionality in the scar and surrounding tissues, creating better movement between the layers of skin, fascia (connective tissue) and muscle.
Benefits of ScarWork
- Release Tightness – by loosening and releasing tight scar tissue to reduce discomfort
- Help Restricted Mobility – by reducing tightness and encouraging mobility between the layers of skin, fascia and muscle to improve range of movement
- Reduce Sensitivity and Pain – trapped nerves and irritated scar tissue can be a factor in prolonged discomfort, therapeutic touch may reduce pain and help normalise sensitivity
- Stimulate and Boost Healing – scar massage is often recommended by surgeons to promote scar healing after surgery and may help minimise longer term complications
- Support Emotional Wellbeing – therapeutic touch can be a powerful way to aid emotional recovery
(Source Sharon Wheeler’s ScarWork 2019)
What to Expect
Your initial consultation will last around 1.5-2 hours and during this time I will take a full medical and family history. I will examine the area/s of scar tissue and check your range of movement.
It isn’t necessary to wear any special clothing, but loose clothing that you can roll up or remove easily is helpful. During treatment you will be in a private consulting room with blankets or a gown to protect your privacy if needed.
ScarWork treatment is very gentle and is given without oils or creams using the hands. I work within your comfort levels and for as long as is appropriate for the type and age of the scar/s you have. The treatment isn’t painful, and clients normally find it a relaxing and a therapeutic experience.
How Many Treatments Will I Need?
A minimum of 6 sessions is suggested initially, starting with 2 treatments a week apart and subsequent treatments spaced 2-3 weeks apart.
Follow-up appointments are usually 60 to 90 minutes, with 30-60 minutes of ScarWork per session (depending on the size and number of scars). Changes are usually lasting, and the age of the scar is not a factor: improvements are possible in new and old scar tissue.
Please note patients should wait at least 10 +weeks post-surgery before treatment should commence. Other contraindications* may apply.
Before & After Examples of Treatment
I have been overwhelmed with the difference it’s made to clients in my clinic. Scars appear smaller, flatter and pain and tightness in the surrounding tissues appears to reduce.
Example of a C-Section Scar after 6 sessions of treatment
When I first had a treatment, my scar was extremely wide and red, and was numb, particularly in the middle section. It was quite jagged in the middle and caused me tightness across my groin and hip area.
After my course of treatments my scar has noticeably shrunk, and become less red. I have regained a lot of sensation across the scar area, and it is no longer as raised and ‘angry’ looking. My groin area is less tight, and the skin has more stretch and give in it.
I have had ongoing back issues as a result of my surgery and these have eased to a degree after the treatments, as I don’t have such a ‘guarding’ posture. My scar is not 100% perfect but is miles better than when I started, and I will be continuing treatment.
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the treatment and have already done so to several friends.
Example of a burn scar on the chest after 6 sessions of treatment
The scar work treatment has really made a difference, including a change of shape and it is a lot flatter. I have full sensation back within the area of the scar and my shoulder movement is highly improved.
*Considerations & Contraindications
- Scars should not be open, infected, inflamed or weeping.
- ScarWork treatment should not start – until 10+ weeks post-surgery to allow time for the immediate post-surgical natural healing process to occur.
- Radiation therapy – we suggest you wait 3-6 months until settled before treatment commences.
- Clients under consultant care – we may need to gain permission for scar massage from your consultant before treatment can commence.
- Mesh – we are not allowed to work over an area where mesh has been used.
- Pregnancy – we are advised to not work on pregnant women.
- Keloid Scars – Keloid scars are a more serious form of excessive scarring, because they can grow indefinitely. Therefore, we are not allowed presently to work on Keloid scars with ScarWorks therapy until more research has been completed.
Wound healing explained
The 4 phases of wound healing. Healing begins with Homeostasis.
Phase 1: Homeostasis Phase (Bleeding)
Phase 2: Defensive/Inflammatory Phase – 4-6 days
Phase 3: Proliferative Phase – 4-24 days
Phase 4: Maturation Phase – 21 days to 2 years
(Source Smith & Ryan 2016)
Dysfunctional Scars often had complications during healing. There can be number of causes for this, anti-clotting medication, slow healing, radiotherapy and infection.
Types of scars
ScarWork can be used for the treatment of atrophic, hypertrophic and contracture scars. Scars should not be open, infected, inflamed or weeping and treatment should not start until 10+ weeks post-surgery. If you are still under consultant care, we made need to gain permission from your consultant before treatment commences.
My Experience and Training
I was drawn to scar tissue work, as I found I was increasingly treating it with acupuncture and needed to find out how to successfully treat scars manually without using needles. I’ve also experienced first-hand the problems scar tissue can cause, after I was left with lower back pain and digestive issues following a number of abdominal surgeries.
I found ScarWork to be of great benefit, not only in improving how my scars looked, but also increasing my range of movement, reducing my back pain and allowing me to come to terms with some of the traumatic events which led to my abdominal surgery. So, I decided to complete Sharon Wheeler’s ScarWork qualification in the UK to integrate this into my practise.
To find out more or for just a chat?
If you would like to discuss how ScarWork might be able to help you with your scar/s or you’d like to know what to expect during treatment or whether this is suitable for you, please just give me a call on Tel: 07535 947474 / 01494 771324 or drop me a line via my Contact Page.