It’s not uncommon to have a longer healing time for soft tissue injuries compared to bone fractures. If you’ve ever sprained a joint or experienced tendinitis, you understand the frustration. PRO Massage offers a service called scraping therapy (or Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization), which has high success rates in accelerating the healing process of soft tissues like fascia, ligaments, tendons, and muscles.
What is Scraping Therapy? Scraping therapy is a form of manual therapy on soft tissues where a small tool is used to scrape over soft tissue (fascia, ligaments, tendons, and muscles). This aids in breaking down scar tissue that results from trauma or overuse. Scraping therapy also helps promote a better healing environment by improving circulation in the acute area. Some advantages of scraping therapy include pain relief, a decrease in overall treatment/recovery time, and a reduced need for anti-inflammatory medication. You may benefit from scraping therapy if you’ve been experiencing neck pain, back pain, sprained ankle, torn tendons/ligaments, or chronic pain.
Does Scar Tissue Massage Work?The efficacy of massaging scar tissue is hotly debated, but many people see success with it. Many patients claim that it helps them in the following ways.
- Promoting healthy tissue growth of collagen cells, fibrous tissue, and other new cells
- Increase blood flow
- Improve movement and normal mobility
- Reducing pain
- Promote strength
- Reduce inflammation in the healthy tissue, injured tissues, tendons, and joints
What Causes Scar Tissue?Although physicians are unknown what causes scar tissue to grow, they do know that burns, bug bites, acne, chickenpox, piercings, tattoos, and surgery can create hypertrophic scars and keloids. Keloids are also more common in those with darker skin, according to research. Keloids and hypertrophic scars are more common in persons between the ages of 10 and 30 years old. The most crucial rule to follow when it comes to scarring is to avoid it. When feasible, those with risk factors for atypical scarring should avoid elective surgery and address disorders that might lead to scarring, like acne. Itching and soreness at the scar’s placement are possible side effects. Other scars might make it difficult to move. The look of scars can cause emotional and psychological anguish in certain people. Doctors can prescribe therapies to minimize the scarring’s look, but they must also treat the psychological and physical limitations that a scar might impose. When someone suffers a serious injury or undergoes surgery, their body responds to the trauma by forming scar tissue. Scar tissue is a layer of cells and collagen fibers that forms over the site of an injury. It can even form as a response to serious acne or form around the heart muscle after a heart attack. Scar tissue typically shows itself in one of the following forms.
- Keloid: These are raised, reddish-colored scar tissue plaque. It usually develops on tissues around the upper chest, upper back, and shoulders.
- Hypertrophic Scar: This is one of the more common forms of scar tissue. Many patients with hypertrophic scars notice that the scarred area tends to fade with time.
- Contracture Scar: These are more common after burn injuries. They can sometimes impede movement around the affected area.
Is Scar Tissue Permanent?Scar tissue does not remain in the body indefinitely. The scar must remodel when it develops and heals. This modification is required so that the new tissue can withstand the stress and pressures that the body encounters daily
What Is Remodeling of the Skin?When you stretch and tug on the region, it begins to reconstruct. The collagen icanline up and begins to recover as a result of this stretching. Remodeling is necessary to restore full range of motion, strength, and mobility to your wounded tissue. Failure to properly rebuild scar tissue can result in joint contractures.
How Long Does the Remodeling Process Take?Everyone is unique and recovers at their own pace. In most cases, it takes six to eight weeks for wounded tissue to completely heal. Just keep in mind to take it slowly.
- Trauma to the body (either by receiving a cut or a blow to an area)
- Surgery of any variety
- Tearing connective tissue or muscle fibers and then not having correct/enough PT to the areas affected
- Radiating, throbbing pain surrounding the area that the scar tissue is encasing (both above and below the original site of injury)
- An acutely awkward sensation with a range of motion, almost as though the area is “stuck” and will not perform regular degrees of range of motion without feeling pinched/tweaked
- Reduction in strength or endurance in the musculature that was affected
- Ex: injury to the wrist will cause a lack of “grip strength” in the hand and fingers, as well as a general lack of strength in the entire arm if the scar tissue is not addressed early on either from atrophy or severe compensation in how the arm is now being used
- Microtrauma and Healing Response: The scraping action creates controlled microtrauma to the soft tissues. This triggers a healing response, promoting increased blood flow, tissue regeneration, and the production of collagen and other healing factors.
- Mechanical Deformation: The pressure applied by the tools can mechanically deform and stretch soft tissues, breaking down adhesions and scar tissue that might restrict movement and contribute to pain.
- Nervous System Response: Scraping may stimulate sensory nerves and mechanoreceptors, affecting the nervous system’s pain perception and muscle tone regulation.
mechanoreceptors are sense organ or cell that responds to mechanical stimuli such as touch or sound. Mechanoreceptors are one of the neural receptors in a somatosensory system. They are primarily involved in recognizing different mechanical stimuli. An example is the touch receptor in the skin. Insects are a popular example of a group of organisms with specialized structures for mechanoreception.A mechanoreceptor, also called a mechanoreceptor, is a sensory receptor that responds to mechanical pressure or distortion. Mechanoreceptors are innervated by sensory neurons that convert mechanical pressure into electrical signals that, in animals, are sent to the central nervous system.Cutaneous mechanoreceptors respond to mechanical stimuli that result from physical interaction, including pressure and vibration. They are located in the skin, like other cutaneous receptors. They are all innervated by Aβ fibers, except the mechanoreceptive free nerve endings, which are innervated by Aδ fibers. Cutaneous mechanoreceptors can be categorized by what kind of sensation they perceive, by the rate of adaptation, and by morphology. Furthermore, each has a different receptive field.
- Increased Circulation: The scraping motion is thought to enhance blood and lymphatic circulation, helping to remove waste products and reduce inflammation.
- A study published in the “Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics” in 2017 compared the effects of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) with traditional massage therapy on hamstring flexibility and range of motion. The study found that both interventions were effective in improving flexibility and range of motion, but IASTM produced greater improvements.
- Another study published in the “Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies” in 2019 investigated the effects of gua sha on muscle hardness and pain in individuals with chronic neck pain. The researchers observed a reduction in muscle hardness and pain after gua sha treatment.
- A 2019 review published in the “Journal of Physical Therapy Science” examined the effects of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization on muscle soreness after exercise. The review found that IASTM had positive effects on reducing muscle soreness and improving range of motion.
- Pain Reduction: Scraping massage may help alleviate acute and chronic pain by reducing muscle tension, breaking up scar tissue, and modulating pain perception.
- Improved Range of Motion: By breaking down adhesions and scar tissue, scraping massage may contribute to improved joint and muscle mobility.
- Enhanced Healing and Recovery: The microtrauma induced by scraping massage may stimulate the body’s natural healing processes, promoting tissue regeneration and repair.
- Reduced Inflammation: Increased circulation and lymphatic drainage associated with scraping massage could help reduce inflammation and swelling in injured tissues.
- Muscle Performance: Some athletes and practitioners believe that scraping massage can enhance muscle function and performance by promoting optimal muscle tone and reducing muscle imbalances.
- Complementary Treatment: Scraping massage can be used alongside other sports injury treatments such as physical therapy, stretching, and strengthening exercises.
- Professional Guidance: Scraping massage should ideally be performed by a trained and qualified healthcare professional to ensure safety and proper technique.
- Individual Variability: Responses to scraping massage can vary among individuals. Some people may experience immediate relief, while others may need multiple sessions for noticeable improvements.
- Contraindications: Scraping massage may not be suitable for certain conditions, such as open wounds, infections, or bleeding disorders. Consultation with a healthcare provider is important before undergoing a scraping massage.
- Potential Discomfort: Scraping massage can be uncomfortable or even slightly painful, especially if the tissues are sensitive or injured. Communication with the therapist is essential to ensure comfort and safety.
- Evidence Gap: While some research supports the benefits of scraping massage, more high-quality studies are needed to establish its effectiveness for various sports injuries and conditions.
more info at:
*Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns regarding your condition. The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a diagnosis, treatment, or prescription of any kind. The decision to use, or not to use, any information is the sole responsibility of the reader. These statements are not expressions of legal opinion relative to the scope of practice, medical diagnosis, or medical advice, nor do they represent an endorsement of any product, company, or specific massage therapy technique, modality, or approach. All trademarks, registered trademarks, brand names, registered brand names, logos, and company logos referenced in this post are the property of their owners.