Scar tissue release therapies

Learn how healing scar tissue can really transform your body

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Why worry about your scars?

Most of us carry scars on our bodies.  

Some are plainly visible and others are hidden, some are on the outside and others are internal, and some we may not even remember we have.

For decades the consequence of having scar tissue has been generally viewed as the result of surgery, accidents or trauma and one that we just had to live with.

The opinions of general medical practitioners or surgeons were, and unfortunately still are in many cases, that as long as your body had healed without any infection then you should just be happy and get along with it.

But, in recent years with more significant research and studies into the importance of having a healthy fascia we now know better.

We understand that when our body has been scarred it can affect the neurological, fascial, and the visceral areas and may cause:

  • Long term pain or discomfort
  • Motor dysfunction
  • Restriction of movement
  • Numbness, loss of feeling or sensation
  • Postural changes
  • Psychological and emotional trauma
  • Problems with the digestive system

If you relate to any of these symptoms and do not have an idea as to why you are suffering from them maybe releasing and caring for your scars might be the answer?

Let us tell you more about how to heal and care for your scars.


How can scar tissue affect your body?

Scar tissue can have profound aftermaths on both the physical and emotional well-being of a person. Here’s how:

Physical Effects:

  • Restricted Movement
  • Pain and Discomfort
  •  Organ Dysfunction
  •  Obstruction
  • Altered Sensation

Emotional Effects:

  • Self-consciousness
  • Trauma Reminders
  • Social Isolation
  • Frustration
  • Body Image Issues

Both the physical and emotional impacts of scar tissue have long been underestimated and highlight the importance of why we should pay attention to the scarring we have on our bodies.

Check out this great explanation and demonstration about how your fascia works!

Systems of the body affected by scar tissue

The impact of these scars depend on the location and extent of the scarring, however most of us probably wouldn’t even think about considering the long term affects, little own mentioning this to our physical therapy practitioners or therapists before they start treating our bodies.

Examples of how scar tissue can affect multiple systems of the body:

  • Integumentary System (Skin): This is the most apparent site of scar tissue formation. Scars can result in aesthetic changes, altered sensitivity, and potential vulnerability to UV damage.
  • Musculoskeletal System: Scars in muscles, tendons, or ligaments can limit range of motion, reduce strength, and cause pain. Scar tissue in joints may lead to stiffness and limited flexibility.
  • Digestive System: Post-surgical or inflammation-induced scar tissue can lead to adhesions, potentially causing bowel obstructions. Scar tissue in the liver (cirrhosis) can disrupt its detoxification and metabolic functions.
  • Respiratory System: Scar tissue in the lungs (pulmonary fibrosis) can impede their ability to expand and contract, reducing oxygen exchange efficiency.
  • Cardiovascular System: Scarring in the heart muscle after events like myocardial infarctions (heart attacks) can hinder the heart’s pumping ability and lead to arrhythmias.
Contact us for a free 15 minute online consultation to discuss your scars.

  • Reproductive System: Adhesions from surgeries or infections can affect organs such as the fallopian tubes, potentially leading to infertility. Scarring can also impact childbirth and cause pelvic pain.
  • Urinary System: Scarring in the kidneys can disrupt their filtering function. In the bladder, it can affect its storage and release of urine.
  • Nervous System: Scar tissue surrounding nerves, known as neuromas, can result in chronic pain. Scarring in the brain or spinal cord, due to trauma or diseases like multiple sclerosis, can lead to various neurological deficits.
  • Lymphatic System: Scar tissue can impede the flow of lymph, potentially leading to lymphedema, a condition where fluid accumulates and causes swelling.

Thinking about the diverse impacts that scar tissue can have on various body systems it prompts us to consider the affects and complications that previous surgeries, injuries, diseases or life experiences could be causing, both physically or emotionally in your life.

6 Non-invasive physical therapy treatments to help heal scar tissue:

At home

Stretching & self massage

Stretching can help improve the flexibility and functionality of scar tissue, especially when it restricts movement. Before starting any stretching exercises, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional to ensure that the scar is sufficiently healed and the stretches are appropriate for your individual situation.

Here are some general steps and guidelines for stretching to release scar tissue at home:

  • Warm Up: Always start with a warm-up to increase blood flow to the area. This can be achieved with light aerobic activity, such as walking or cycling for 5-10 minutes.
  • Gentle Massage: Before stretching, you can gently massage the scar tissue to increase blood flow and soften the area. Use your fingers or a soft massage tool, moving in circles and following the scar’s length.

  • Prolonged Stretches: Instead of the brief stretches used for regular muscle flexibility, scars often benefit from prolonged gentle stretching. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
  • Range of Motion Exercises: These involve moving the joint through its full range of motion. For example, if you have scar tissue in the shoulder, rotate your arm in circles, gradually increasing the diameter.

Specific Stretches: Depending on the scar’s location, you can utilize specific stretches:

  • For scars on limbs: Stretch the particular muscle group. For instance, for scar tissue on the calf, try calf stretches.
  • For abdominal scars: Gentle torso twists, pelvic tilts, and cat-cow stretches (from yoga) can be beneficial.
  • Stay Relaxed: It’s crucial to stay relaxed during stretching. Holding your breath or tensing up can counteract the benefits.
  • Consistency is Key: Regular stretching (daily or several times a week) is typically required to see improvements in scar tissue flexibility.
  • Avoid Overstretching: Always listen to your body. If you experience pain (beyond a mild discomfort) while stretching, stop immediately. Overstretching can exacerbate scar tissue or result in new injuries.
  • Hydrate: Drink plenty of water after stretching, as it aids tissue repair and keeps the fascia and muscles hydrated.
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Self Massage

Self-massage for scar tissue aims to improve flexibility, reduce adhesions, and enhance tissue health.

Here’s a concise guide:

  • Warm Up: Begin by warming the area with a warm cloth or gentle movement to increase blood flow.
  • Use Lubrication: Apply a lotion or oil to reduce friction


    • Circling: Use your fingers to make small circles along the length of the scar.
    • Cross-Friction: Rub back and forth across the scar, perpendicular to its direction. This helps break down collagen fibers.

Points to remember:

  • Apply Moderate Pressure: Start gently, increasing pressure as tolerated. It should be firm but not painful.
  • Stretch: After massage, gently stretch the area to maximize flexibility gains.
  • Consistency: Regular self-massage, done daily or several times a week, can be most effective.
  • Hydrate: Drink water post-massage to aid tissue repair and toxin removal.
  • Be Cautious: Ensure the scar is fully healed. If there’s pain or unusual reactions, cease the massage and consult a professional.

Regular self-massage can support scar tissue health, but for deeper or problematic scars, professional physical or massage therapy is recommended.

Consider Professional Guidance:

Physical therapists can provide specific exercises tailored to your needs and ensure you're stretching correctly. They may also introduce techniques like myofascial release or other modalities to help break up scar tissue. Remember, everyone's body and every scar is unique, so the effects and benefits of stretching may vary. It's essential to approach the process with patience and persistence.

Professional therapies

Scar tissue release therapy

Scar tissue release therapy is a specialised treatment aimed at reducing the physical restrictions and discomfort caused by scar tissue.

Here’s an idea of how it works:


When the body heals from an injury, trauma or surgery, it forms scar tissue — a denser, less elastic form of collagen. While essential for healing, excessive scar tissue can cause pain, tightness, functional limitations and other issues as we have outlined above.

Techniques involved:

  • Manual Release: Therapists use hands-on techniques, such as myofascial release and deep transverse frictions, to mobilize and stretch the scar tissue, promoting flexibility.
  • Instrument-Assisted Techniques: Tools may be used to apply targeted pressure and break up scar tissue, facilitating its reabsorption.
  • Stretching: Specific stretches are introduced to lengthen the tissue, combatting the contracture often associated with scars.


The therapy aims to –

  • Improve scar appearance.
  • Reduce pain or discomfort.
  • Restore range of motion.
  • Enhance tissue functionality.

Underlying structures: By mobilising the scar tissue, the body is stimulated to increase blood flow to the area, promoting healing. The breaking down and reorientation of collagen fibers helps the scar to better align with the natural patterns of the surrounding tissue.

Post-therapy: After treatment, mild soreness is typical, but with continued sessions, patients often notice significant improvement in scar-related symptoms. Regular self-care, including massage and stretching, can support lasting results.

Myofascial release

Myofascial release (MFR) is a hands-on therapy technique used by professional therapists to treat muscle and fascial restrictions, including those caused by scar tissue.

Here’s how it works:


Fascia is a continuous web of connective tissue covering muscles, bones, organs, and nerves. Trauma, surgery, or inflammation can cause this tissue to become restricted, forming scar tissue. MFR targets these restrictions to restore motion and reduce pain.


  • Evaluation: Therapists first assess the fascial restrictions by observing posture and palpating the tissue.
  •  Pressure: Using hands or specific tools, therapists apply gentle, sustained pressure into the fascial system. This pressure is maintained until the tissue releases, which can take several minutes.
  • Stretching: Slow, stretching maneuvers are utilised, elongating the fascia and breaking up scar tissue.
  •  Cross Hand Stretches: Therapists use two hands to stretch the fascia in opposite directions, helping to elongate and realign the fibers.
  • Skin Rolling: This involves lifting and rolling the skin, beneficial for superficial fascial restrictions.


MFR can enhance flexibility, reduce pain, increase circulation, and promote a return to optimal function.


After MFR, patients may be advised to hydrate, given the tissue release can release toxins. Some temporary soreness might occur but usually resolves within a day.

For individuals with scar tissue concerns, seeking a therapist trained in MFR is crucial. The technique requires expertise for effective and safe application.

Trigger point therapy

Trigger point therapy focuses on detecting and releasing trigger points—localized knots or tight areas within muscles that can refer pain to other areas. These points can be a result of scar tissue or muscle strain.

Here’s an overview of the therapy:


Trigger points are hypersensitive spots within a taut band of skeletal muscle fibers. They can cause pain, tightness, and even mimic other conditions. Releasing these points can reduce pain and restore normal muscle function.


  • Identification: Therapists palpate muscles to locate trigger points. Patients’ descriptions of pain patterns can also guide the process.
  • Ischemic Compression: Once identified, therapists apply direct, sustained pressure to the trigger point using fingers, knuckles, or specialized tools. This pressure can cause an initial pain or discomfort which typically diminishes.
  • Stretching: After releasing the point, therapists may stretch the muscle to realign fibers and further relieve tension.
  • Heat or Cold: Sometimes, heat or cold applications follow to reduce any resultant inflammation or discomfort.


Trigger point therapy can alleviate pain, increase range of motion, and improve muscle function.


Some soreness is typical after treatment, comparable to post-exercise discomfort. Patients are often advised to hydrate and may be given stretches or exercises to maintain the therapy’s benefits.

It’s essential to consult a trained professional for trigger point therapy, as improper technique can exacerbate symptoms or cause injury.

Contact us so we can care for your body


Professional physiotherapists utilise a combination of techniques and modalities to release scar tissue, facilitating healing and restoring function.

Here’s how they work:


The therapist begins by assessing the scar’s size, location, depth, and the resulting functional impairment. This helps tailor the treatment approach.

Manual Techniques:

  • Myofascial Release (MFR): The therapist applies sustained pressure on the scar, slowly stretching the fascia until a release is felt.
  • Deep Transverse Frictions: Using fingers or thumbs, the therapist applies perpendicular pressure to the scar, breaking up collagen fibers and promoting mobility.
  • Trigger Point Release: Direct pressure is applied to hypersensitive muscle knots, which might form due to scar-related tension.


  • Ultrasound: Therapeutic ultrasound can be used to generate heat deep within tissues, promoting flexibility and aiding in scar tissue breakdown.
  • Laser Therapy: Low-level lasers may stimulate cellular activity, reduce inflammation, and promote the resorption of scar tissue.

Exercise and movement:

Therapists guide patients through specific exercises and stretches to improve flexibility, strength, and range of motion.

Patient education:

Therapists teach self-massage, stretching techniques, and scar care to continue treatment benefits at home.


Patients might experience temporary soreness. Hydration, rest, and following prescribed home exercises can optimize outcomes.

For scar tissue concerns, a customised approach, tailored to individual needs by a trained physiotherapist, is essential for optimal recovery.

Why it’s so important to use a qualified practitioner to breakdown scar tissue

Engaging a qualified practitioner to release and treat scar tissue is vital for your wellbeing.  

Not just because of the physical impact the treatment may have on the body but also the phychological and emotional consequences that releasing the scar may have.

Holistic Approach

At Studio Australia Barcelona we have a holistic approach to caring for our patients. 

As we have discussed in this post, scar tissue can affect underlying structures like muscles, tendons and nerves as well as all the systems of the body. 

As trained therapists our goal is always to bring the body back into balance and re-establish your health, free of pain.

Other conscious considerations we focus on include: 


Scar tissue forms in the healing phase after injury or surgery. A trained practitioner ensures the scar is mature enough for treatment, minimizing the risk of re-injury or complications.

Effective treatment 

Qualified practitioners possess the necessary knowledge and skills to accurately assess scar tissue and apply appropriate techniques. Their expertise ensures optimal treatment outcomes.

Avoidance of over-treatment 

Excessive or aggressive treatment can exacerbate scar tissue or cause additional trauma. Professionals know the right intensity and duration of therapy.

Guidance and education 

A qualified practitioner offers valuable advice on self-care, exercises, and precautions, empowering patients for long-term well-being.

In short, qualified practitioners ensure that scar tissue treatments are safe, effective, and holistic, maximising therapeutic benefits while minimising risks.

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