What is Sharon Wheeler’s ScarWork?

ScarWork aims to reintegrate scar tissue back into the surrounding tissue, improving the appearance, texture and, most importantly, sensation and comfort of your scar.

Sharon Wheeler's ScarWork (logo)

No matter whether your scar is three months or 30 years old, ScarWork can make a difference. After 3 to 6 treatments, most people find that their scars resume their original colouring, become smaller and less visible, feel more supple and regain their sensation. The results seem almost miraculous as the scar rapidly changes under the therapist’s hands. Better still, improvements continue in the scar for up to three weeks after a treatment, which is why sessions are spaced at three-week intervals. Although ScarWork was developed very intuitively, initial scientific research is beginning to back up the remarkable results reported by clients and therapists.

What conditions can ScarWork treat?

  • Any painful or tight surgical scar, e.g. hip replacement, Caesarean section or breast surgery
  • Any injury which has left a scar, including cuts, burns and animal bites
  • Skin conditions which have left scarring, e.g. acne and chickenpox
  • Medical procedure sites, such as nerve block, lumbar puncture and laparoscopy
  • Women’s health issues following surgery, including incontinence, painful periods or pain during intercourse
  • Endometriosis
  • Childbirth-related trauma
  • Inflammatory digestive conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and diverticulitis

Prevention is better than Cure; pre-op treatment

If you know that you are going to have an operation, I can work with you in the run-up to your surgery. This may help you to heal faster and reduce the extent of scarring. You may also feel calmer, less anxious and make a quicker emotional recovery.

What are Scars?

Scarring is a normal part of healing after injury, surgery and sometimes infection and inflammation. Scars are ormed to seal up wounds and protect the area from further damage. Because scar tissue is much tougher and less flexible than the original tissue, it remains relatively weak and, ironically, may be prone to reinjury.

There are several different types of scars, some raised and lumpy, others tightly bound to the underlying tissue, creating a dip.

Scars can be uncomfortable, impair your movement and make you feel self-conscious about your appearance. They may feel itchy, tender, tight or strangely numb. You may feel a pulling sensation at the injury or surgery site when you make certain movements and you may feel that you have been “done up too tightly”. You may also feel that parts of your body no longer belong together anymore as a joined-up whole.

Internal trauma, such as sprains, strains and childbirth can also cause scarring, although we often don’t consider this, because the skin remains intact.

Why do scars cause problems?

Scars hinder movement for two reasons: firstly, Scar fibres tend to run at right-angles to muscle fibres, which prevents the muscle from working properly. Secondly, they can cause tissue to stick to itself, rather like clingfilm. This sticking creates new tension and draglines throughout the body. (Try pulling your clothing down at the front and feel what happens at the back.) These stuck areas are known as adhesions and they increase the pressure placed on nerves, blood vessels, muscles, bones and internal organs. Adhesions can affect you in ways which you didn’t anticipate, for instance, a hysterectomy scar disrupting your digestion, changing your posture and causing shoulder pain.

Abdominal Scarring

Abdominal scarring and adhesions deserve especial mention, because they are common and can be particularly troublesome. They are difficult to diagnose, so can go undetected for many years. They occur as a result of trauma, bleeding, infection or surgery involving the abdomen, lower spine or pelvis.

You will have abdominal scarring if you have had stomach or bowel surgery or gynaecological procedures, including Caesarean section, female sterilisation and hysterectomy.

You are also likely to have abdominal scarring if you have had inflammatory conditions, including ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis and endometriosis.

Symptoms of abdominal scarring and adhesions are seldom dangerous, though they can still be unpleasant and difficult to live with:

Abdominal Scarring

  • Severe cramping pain
  • Nausea and vomiting,
  • Bloating and inability to pass wind
  • Constipation and/or diarrhoea
  • Dehydration
  • Painful periods
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Infertility
  • Incontinence
The great news is that you don’t need to put up with all of this.

The great news is that you don’t need to put up with all of this. I can use a combination of Sharon Wheeler’s ScarWork and Myofascial release (MFR) to offer you fast, effective relief from the discomfort caused by your scar, often without the need for painkillers or further surgery.

What does ScarWork feel like?

In contrast with traditional scar tissue massage techniques, Sharon Wheeler’s ScarWork is extremely gentle and should be painless. If your scar is numb, you may feel nothing at first. I use light strokes, gentle stretching and pulling to work out where your scar moves well and where it feels stuck. I will allow it to move as it wants to and then gently encourage new movements, to unstick and free up any restrictions and enable your body to move and function normally again. You may feel tickling, stroking, gentle pulling or pressure from my hands. Inside your body, You may feel rippling, tingling, moving or surging sensations as your tissue moves back into place. There is often an intangible sense of relief, resolution or feeling whole again. You may feel both a physical and emotional release, which is normal and often necessary for you to heal on all levels.

Whatever you feel or experience is welcome.

Working with sensitivity

I understand that you may feel self-conscious about your scar and that there may be some unpleasant past experiences associated with it. It may also be painful and you may not want me to touch it straight away. For these reasons, I may treat other related areas of your body first, before working directly on your scar. I can give you more effective treatment if I work directly on your skin. However, if it feels more comfortable for you, I can also work through a thin drape, vest-top or with my hand over your hand.

My thanks go to Ruth Duncan of MFR UK and Jan Trewartha of Body in Harmony, for Their outstanding knowledge, skills and training in this fascinating area of bodywork. The information provided here is based on training materials supplied by MFR UK and body in Harmony.