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By Lisa Buchan, 5 August 2019

I was very fortunate last September (2018) to be able to attend a four day workshop in Sydney with the incredible Sharon Wheeler who made a rare visit down under to teach a group of us the amazing ScarWork techniques to help restore function to impaired nerves, muscles and organs by breaking down adhesions and restrictions, integrating the rough fibres of scars into the fascial web.

We get to sort a certain age and most of us have a scar or two, whether it be a tiny one you got falling over as a child, burns, c-section, a vehicle accident etc, and if would be fair to say a lot of people don’t have a great relationship with their scars, from actual dislike to complete dismissal, some won’t even touch them, but if you have come to terms with your scars they may still not function as well as you would like them to, there may be stiffness in the scar and surrounding areas, feeling of numbness or tingling, discomfort, pulling sensations or just not feeling right.

Each scar is unique in itself and to other tissue in the body, they will be different in every person in any situation, and our tissue will react differently each time. Most of us think of our scars just as the visible mark on the surface of our skin, but underneath it’s a whole different story. Scar tissue, a dense connective tissue, forms as a wound heals and in the process can spread far and wide, tendrils branching out in random directions which can’t be predicted, having far reaching effects on how your tissue functions.

ScarWork was developed by Sharon Wheeler, Rolfer/Structural Integration Therapist, based in Seattle, USA. Taught by Ida Rolf in the 1970’s, Sharon later developed ScarWork as she found other techniques she knew weren’t working on releasing clients pain and tension. While others said to ignore scars Sharon’s instinct was to do the opposite and found that her approach made remarkable changes.

With ScarWork we not only treat the obvious external scar but also treat the surrounding areas making sure no scar tissue is left untreated, as a practitioner we learn to feel the subtle changes where the underlying tissue is restricted.

The Treatment

ScarWork is a very light and relaxed combination of many techniques, you shouldn’t feel any pain or discomfort during the treatment. Feedback is crucial, as we don’t want any pain. You may experience some discomfort after the treatment. Ideally you won’t do any strenuous exercise 2 days after treatment and will take it easy for a few weeks as the tissue will continue to heal for 2 to 3 weeks after treatment. We recommend sessions 3 weekly for as long as it takes to make a difference, usually about 45 minutes depending on how big or how many scars are involved. “Small changes in the scar accumulate” and “can contribute significantly to whole body release and integration”

ScarWork is often used in conjunction with myofascial techniques. Contraindications are open, infected, inflamed, weeping, painful scars, and Cheloid scars.

The following is a testimonial from a client I have been working on over several months, since this review she is now completely free of pain in her abdomen and hip.

“I have enjoyed and cherished massages with Lisa Buchan for a span of nearly 15 years, after a break of several years during the time of having and looking after my young children I returned to Lisa with chronic pain in my left hip and abdomen, an inability to strengthen my abdominal muscles, as well as chronic right piriformis tightness and pain. Lisa has worked on my hip with myofascial massage, this is the only thing that has bought any relieve to this pain, my piriformis has also released.

My abdomen has required further surgery and after this Lisa has been using a scar massage technique on this, and my caesarean scars. The scar tissue under the scars has very noticeably reduced and the abdominal muscles are now able to be worked in a more ‘normal ‘way.

Prior to coming back to Lisa and during this period I have also sort help from GP’s, a Musculoskeletal doctor, gynaecologists, and an orthopaedic surgeon, Lisa’s contribution to the understanding and management of my conditions has been more significant than many of these specialists.”



It’s never too late to improve a scar, if you are interested in having your scars treated I am looking for volunteers, no charge, who can come in once every 3 weeks for at least 3 sessions. Please contact me if you are interested lisa@balancemassage.co.nz.


*Information in this article has been taken from Sharon Wheelers website and training manual


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