Treating Scars with Acupuncture: more than just cosmetic benefits

A scar is the tissue loss resulting from an injury or surgery. Deep or large scars can result in pain, poor flexibility and may be cosmetically unattractive. Scars are three-dimensional and can bind to and restrict deeper tissues.

Chinese medicine understands that scars disrupt the flow of the body’s energy and can cause new problems not related to the surgery or trauma responsible for the scar. In some cases the scar “blocks” the flow of energy resulting in pain, discolouration and an uneven appearance. Alternatively, the scar can “leak” energy out of the body resulting in diverse symptoms such as fatigue (experienced well after the usual post surgery fatigue), or a newfound reactivity to foods or chemicals that used to be tolerated. This is why scars are considered to be an “obstacle” to treatment, and should be considered when a person is not responding to therapy that is usually effective for the condition.

Acupuncture can have a dramatic effect on both the blockage and leakage type of abnormalities. Several acupuncture pins are painlessly placed at key points around the scar. Treatment is usually weekly for several sessions. Visible changes are usually obvious within a couple of treatments with scars typically improving in flexibility and evening out in colour. Some scars require only a couple of treatments, others more. Ear acupuncture can be used where the scar is internal or difficult to access.

All scars should routinely be assessed and treated by an Acupuncturist whether they are caesarean scars, scars following cancer surgery or from an accident. There is no need to wait for obvious problems to occur. Improvement can even occur in scars that have been established for 20 years or more.