Cesarean Scar Massage

Cesarean Scar Massage

Having a cesarean birth, either planned or unplanned, can be a challenging physical recovery, and sometimes a more challenging emotional recovery.  Acknowledging the effects the birth had on your body is also something many individuals struggle with, even months or years after the birth.  Scar massage, either by a professional massage therapist or by self-massage in the comfort of your own home, can be beneficial in recovery.  

Physically Touching Your Incision Site

Whether your cesarean birth was planned or unplanned, it was major abdominal surgery.  And with any type of surgery, the physical recovery can be challenging.  Not only do you now need to regain the muscles that were displaced during surgery, you also have a scar that can cause pain and discomfort to touch.  Most scars can feel itchy, irritated, or sore for weeks or months after the surgery has occurred.  Take into account that this particular scar is possibly being touched by your underwear or pant waistline, and the fact that you have a newborn, your body and your scar are going through some major changes.

The placement of the scar does allow it come into contact with clothes, but is not somewhere you touch with your own hands often.  Try tracing your scar while looking in a mirror: see and feel where it ends, where it begins, and what the actual size of it is.  Did it hurt? Tingle? Feel extra sensitive? Feel weird? Or did it feel completely normal? All those feelings are valid, because scars, especially scars that are connected to such a life changing event like childbirth, carry physical and emotional feelings. 

Emotions Around Touching Your Scar

Again, due to the placement of your scar, it is not somewhere you can easily see on a daily basis.  While you may not see it on a daily basis, the emotional connection to the scar will never go away.  First and foremost, it what as how you birthed your baby and that is truly an amazing process.  Secondly, and less glamorously, it may not have been how you envisioned birthing your baby, and there can be negative emotions regarding that fact.  

For some, the mere memory, let alone actually looking at the scar, can have a negative effect on your self-worth as a woman, and as a mother.  We hope that by acknowledging the scar, those negative emotions can decrease and you can see how truly beautiful that scar is and how it is a badge of honor.  

Touching and acknowledging the scar can help the negative emotions subside for some individuals.  However, if you feel like touching the scar may be too much, simply looking at yourself in the mirror and seeing the scar can be beneficial. Trust your emotions, and do what makes your comfortable.  

Texture Desensitization  

If you feel that your scar is overly sensitive, texture desensitization can be beneficial for you.  Furthermore, if you are not ready for hands to make contact with your scar, either your own or a massage therapists’, using various textures can also be beneficial.  

Sensitive scars are caused by the underlying tissue or muscle to be affected by the injury, so by decreasing the surface sensitivity, you are healing the tissues below the surface.  

Some textures you can try are:

  • A feather for a light touch
  • A washcloth for a course touch
  • A piece of plastic for a hard touch 
  • Whatever is around your house!

When to Start Scar Massage

You can start massaging your scar as soon as you feel ready!  If you are newly postpartum, and the incision site is still healing, gently tapping or vibrations over the bandage can be beneficial.  This will begin the process of lymphatic drainage and absorption.  Lymph build-up is common directly after an injury, and can be seen when an area is swollen. The vibrations encourage movement, and will decrease the swelling.

Once your doctor has approved that your incision is healed, physically touching the scar can begin.  And this process if very dependent on how you feel.  Similarly, if your scar is months, or years, old, you can begin how you feel comfortable.  This beginning could be gently rubbing different textures across the scar, using your fingers to explore the area, or booking a massage session with our therapist.  

We will be offering a free class about the benefits of scar massage in the near future! Stay tuned to our events page or contact us and we will alert you when the class is scheduled.