[Episode 37] Getting Active While Caring For Your Scarring: Part 1 – Scar Massage

by | Oct 16, 2020

Listen to the podcast episode…

This is part one of a two part mini series. Over the next two weeks we will be looking at ways you can get help relieve tightness and pulling from affirming surgery scarring so that you can train more comfortably

Before you try out what I’ve suggested in this episode, I recommend that you check in with your doctor and allied health specialists before you try anything new and treatments for any scarring.

Just to be sure you’re safe and that these practices are appropriate for you.

Now that the formalities are out of the way, let’s get into it.

We all know that affirming surgeries are life changing and life saving.

They can help us express our true selves better and feel so affirmed within our identities.

They also leave behind their mark. These scars can themselves impact folks differently and create a whole range of emotions.

They don’t just affect folks emotionally but also physically. Scar tissue doesn’t like to stretch and move nicely and can make getting active post surgery quite uncomfortable.

Caring for your scars is a really important process, even if it may feel a little tedious as rehab can sometimes tend to. 

Long term though, good scar care practices help make changing your body through physical activity far more comfortable.

Let’s begin though, with a look at how scar tissue forms.


Wound healing is characterised by three sequential and overlapping phases



In the first phase the body tries to heal the skin wound by a process of inflammation. During this time the scar will be swollen, tender and red. This phase can last up to two weeks.



In the second phase the body starts the skin repair process by depositing scar tissue within the wound. In this phase, which may last up to six weeks, the scar will become raised and hard as large amounts of collagen are being laid down within the scar.

During the proliferation phase a scar is considered immature and is characterised by being red, raised and rigid.



In this third phase the body works on the scar to soften and flatten it. During this period the scar will become more mature as some of the collagen disappears. This phase can last from twelve to eighteen months.



Scar formation and scar maturation are ongoing processes. Scars continue to grow and change throughout the recovery process which may take from twelve to eighteen months.

It’s common for scars to pull when you do certain movements in training or during your every day life.

This is because as the body heals and scar tissue forms, the body does not know exactly how to arrange the healing collagen cells during the repair process. So scar tissue is not the same as healthy unscarred tissue, that can resist tensile and stretching forces.

As an incision heals, the collagen cells can begin to ball up and clump, losing their natural flexibility and structure.

It won’t always be like this, remember that remodelling process I touched on a moment ago.

While just pushing through is an option, there are also some things that can be done to help scars get more mobile so that movements are more comfortable.

Scar massage for long term scar tissue flexibility.

Scar massage is an effective way to decrease scar tissue build up and help make scars less noticeable.  Please note that massage will not help soften a scar more than two years old.

Scar massage is the most common method of softening and flattening scars. It serves several important functions:

  • Promoting collagen remodeling by applying pressure to scars
  • Helping to decrease itching
  • Providing moisture and flexibility to the scar

You can generally start massaging your scars two weeks after surgery. Wait until the sutures have been removed and all scabs have fallen off by themselves. Do not pull your scabs off.

Use the pads or soft tips of your fingers to massage the scar and tissue around the scar.

Massage in three directions.

Circles: Using two fingers make small circles over the length of the scar and the skin surrounding it.

Vertical: Using two fingers massage the scar up-and-down.

Horizontal: Using two fingers massage the scar from side-to-side.



Use a non scented moisturising lotion or vitamin E cream and begin by massaging your scar once or twice a day for just 60 seconds each time to begin with.

When massaging your scar apply as much pressure as you can tolerate. It’s best to begin with light pressure and progress to deeper and firmer pressure as your scar becomes more flexible.

As you become more comfortable and your scars become most flexible, you can increase this time.

Try to massage your scars for at least six months following your surgery. Massaging for more than six months will not hurt your scars and may actually prove beneficial.

Stop massaging or taping and contact your doctor if you experience;



Scar feels warmer than the skin around it

More pain than usual at the site of the scar

While your scars are healing, you should avoid sun exposure. Sun exposure may cause your scars to hyper pigment, or turn darker than the surrounding skin.

Bowie Stover Thinking Pose

Bowie Stover

Pronouns: they/them

My passion to help others through developing an active and healthy lifestyle, along with my desire to contribute as much as I can back to our queer community, has led me to co-found Fearless Movement Collective. To be a small part of your day that makes a HUGE impact on your life would be one of the most gratifying and rewarding experiences that I could hope to have.

Download the app. Daily Training Sessions. Habit Coaching. Join The Community. Start Now.
Download the app. Daily Training Sessions. Habit Coaching. Join The Community. Start Now.

Get in touch

Got any questions about this episode?
Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below! We’d love to hear from you!

Would you like to learn about how we may be able to support you?
Feel free to go to our contact page and send us a message.

Interested in online training?
Jump in and try out our 7 day free trial.



You can also find me (Bowie), Fearless Movement Collective (FMC) and Non Gendered Fitness (NGF) on instagram and Facebook at the links below.

Bowie: @the.no.t.enbie
NGF: @non_gendered_fitness



Fearless Movement Collective FB Page

Non Binary Fitness Coach Bowie Stover kneeling with two kettlebells

Bowie Stover
Kettlebell and Movement Coach

Other Episodes You Might Like…

[Episode 68] Will Training Make My Hips Bigger?

[Episode 68] Will Training Make My Hips Bigger?

In this episode I’m gonna be answering a really common question that I get asked from folks wanting to get into some training. And this is, will training make my hips bigger? Some of us will train for different reasons, all of which are perfectly fine! And so is...

read more
[Episode 67] Can Training Reduce My Chest Size?

[Episode 67] Can Training Reduce My Chest Size?

In this episode I’m gonna be answering a really common question that I get asked when folks come to train with me. And that is, can training make my chest smaller? And I totally get the desire to reduce the size of your chest especially for folks who may not want top...

read more
[Episode 66] There Is No Such Thing As A Cheat Movement

[Episode 66] There Is No Such Thing As A Cheat Movement

In this episode we will be busting yet another training myth and that is that there are “cheat” moves when it comes to training. What I mean by that is movements that trainers tell their clients are “cheating” because it’s not done the “right” or “hardest” way. I’ve...

read more

What did you think of this podcast episode?


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest