It is understandably challenging to begin the journey of acceptance with your c-section scar. Time and compassion are needed to help you heal and to acknowledge that this scar is now part of you and is connected to your birth experience.
To familiarise ourselves with our scar takes courage and when it comes to scar massage, we know we should do it and how we can benefit from it, but for most of us it takes a lot to physically touch a space on our body that may be connected to deep emotion and/or trauma.
It is not uncommon to feel disconnected to your scar. Especially if you experienced an emergency C-section or had a traumatic birth. Our bodies hold memories deep within our tissues and touching your scar may bring up memories and emotion from your birth. We all have our own timeline of healing - be gentle with yourself and when you are ready, try to work on getting used to touching and applying pressure to your scar gradually, this will allow for greater healing to happen both physically and emotionally.
Usually your surgeon or LMC will check that your scar is healed around 6 weeks after your baby's birth.
Why is it important to massage your scar?
Frequent massage helps to reduce skin sensitivity to touch and pressure.
Massage touch and applied pressure can help to reduce nerve pain.
Frequent massage can help to prevent and break up adhesions in the scar tissue.
Massage promotes circulation and the body's tissues are supported to remodel into a smooth arrangement which is able to move with ease.
Improves the mobility of your torso (chest, abdomen, back) and pelvis.
Improves the recruitment and function of the deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles as well as reducing tension in these areas.
Massaging your scar: The aim is to mobilise all the layers of the tissue, (not just the superficial skin layer) so start with gentle pressure and as you feel more comfortable, gradually increase the applied firmness with your finger tips to get all the layers of tissue below the surface moving. Use as much oil that you feel you need for comfort but try not to use too much to avoid your fingers just slipping over the superficial skin layer.
Do Steps 1 and 2 for 1-2 minutes each.
Use a small amount of coconut oil or castor oil (castor oil is quite thick and can stain so this is best used before hopping into a shower). Start with all 4 fingertips and perform medium-sized circular movements a few inches above your scar. Remember to always massage in a clockwise direction to follow the motions of the bowel.
Horizontal - use 2 fingers tips just above the scar and sweep the fingertips left to right across the length of the scar, gently stretching and moving the tissue side to side. Repeat this step just below the scar. As the scar becomes less sensitive to massage, repeat this horizontal, side to side massage movement directly over the scar.
Circular - Place 3 finger tips at one end of the scar. Perform small circular massage movements directly over the scar. Repeat along the length of the scar and then repeat in the reverse direction back to the start point. Spend 30-60 seconds at each spot.
Vertical - Use 2 fingertips at one end of the scar directly over the scar. Perform an up/down movement with fingertips stretching the scar tissue, pause in the stretch for a few seconds. Repeat along the length of the scar and then repeat in the reverse direction back to the start point. Spend 30-60 seconds at each spot.
It is normal to feel pulling, tenderness or a burn type sensation when you begin this work around and over your scar. This is normal for stretching in the tissues. If you feel sharp pain, please contact your care provider.
Resourced from the amazingly supportive and knowledgeable physiotherapists at Unity Studios.