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How do Do a C-Section Scar Massage After Surgery

By Bobbi-Jo Corbett (she/her), Registered Massage Therapist
Hi, I’m Bobby Jo. I’m an RMT with West End Mamas.
Today, I want to talk about C-section work. So I’m talking about working on a C-section scar like the day after surgery up to about four to six weeks. Not every RMT does this type of treatment. So if you’re going to come in for this type of treatment you make sure that your RMT does do this.
What I want to do today is talk a little bit about what I actually do and why I do it. The main things that you’re going to get from this treatment are decreased risk of infection, decreased swelling, as well as decreased pain. The first thing I do is take a look at the incision and make sure that there’s no infection. If you have an infection, you cannot have treatment. So you’ll need to wait for that to clear up before you can come in for treatment. The next thing is just to make sure [to] check swelling, make sure the scar is looking good. Everything’s healing up okay.
Then to start treatment, the first thing I’m going to do is put a towel over the area. This towel helps to protect the incision and this helps to decrease any risk of infection from the treatment.  And so the first thing we’re going to do
to start the treatment is lymphatic drainage. So lymphatic drainage helps to decrease swelling and risk of infection to the area. The lymphatic system is responsible for picking up any excess fluid as well as helping out with the immune response. So by stimulating the system, you can help to manage the swelling and decrease any risk of infection, lymphatic drainage starts with a little bit of pressure out through the collar, like next to the collarbone. And it’s just a good, a light pressure. Same thing in through the armpits a little bit of pressure just at the sternum. If that’s uncomfortable just because being newly postpartum you may be breastfeeding. And that can be a little bit sensitive in that area. We can always have a discussion about that and skip to the next area. If you need, the next spot is just going to be right under the ribs, a little bit of light pressure, the same thing in through the center, and then pressure on the side. There’s just a slight pull with that but it is very, very gentle. It doesn’t cause any pain or discomfort.
If during your treatment you did experience pain or discomfort, you let your RMT know and they will change what they’re doing.
The same technique, just where the leg meets the body. Just a little bit of pressure there. The same thing, if that area is sensitive just let your RMT know and have a discussion about that. The next thing is just going to sweep the fluid away from the incision. So this is going to help get that fluid moving. And this is the part that really helps to decrease the swelling in the area. All of the pumping before just helps to prime the lymphatic system to be ready to move that fluid once you’ve swept it away from the area.
So the next thing that we do for this treatment is to manage pain and we’re going to decrease muscle tension in order to do that. What you might find is that when you’re walking you get a little bit of pulling on the incision or any type of movement causing pulling. By decreasing the muscle tension in the area we can help to decrease the pulling on the incision. We’re going to do a little bit of just pressure on some of the attachments for the muscles as well as gentle circular movements. This is just going to help relax those muscles which again, helps to decrease any tension
and pulling on the incision.
If you have any questions, you can feel free to contact West End Mamas.

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Bobbi-Jo, RMT at West End Mamas demonstrates her specialty in post-surgical massage (can be done as early as the day-after C-section).

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