Healing C-Section Adhesions – GuaSha Massage

We are very excited  to have a special guest writing the post today on the topic healing c-section adhesions. Dr. Joe Linza is a Chiropractic Physician and a Fellow of the International Academy of Medical Acupuncture.

I met Dr. Linza, his lovely wife, and some members of his staff at an event on Ft. Campbell.  We were sharing the same table.  We began discussing his services, and I asked about massage to break -up adhesions from c-section.  After supporting a client with severe adhesions from previous c-sections, I had embarked on a mission to learn about ways to help with this problem before labor begins. Through research, I learned of the Graston/Gua Sha Massage.  Dr. Linza’s office offers this massage technique.

The Gua Sha technique is especially helpful for those who have established adhesions, but can also be performed on recent c-section scars.  Be sure to discuss with your care provider prior to beginning any treatment.  For best and safest treatment, I would highly recommend seeing a professional who is trained in these procedures once you have been cleared by your care provider.  Here is a video demonstrating massage for a recent c-section scar.

This is not to be considered medical advice.  Always discuss with your care provider.

 Without further ado, here is Dr. Linza’s article to which I added the title.

 Healing C-Section Adhesions – Gua Sha Massage

By Dr. Joe Linza, D.C., FIAMA

Funny name, amazing results. If you suffer from chronic pain, muscle tightness,
restricted motion due to scarring, headache, muscle ache, pulled or torn muscle,
inflammation, and the list goes on, this soft tissue technique may be just what you

(Gua=scrape/rub, Sha=Bruise/petechiae) is an East Asian Healing Technique,
commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Gua Sha, which has been in
use for over 2000 years, can be found in most Asian countries along with many
Western countries that have an Asian immigrant population. Using handheld tools,
commonly made out of jade, bone, horn, ceramic, or metal, the practitioner scrapes the
tool over lubricated skin. This technique creates transitory therapeutic petechia (a
reddening of the treated area) bringing healthy blood and nutrients to the area,
breaking down scar and muscular adhesions, reducing pain and promoting healing.
This technique is known by several names; coining, spooning, or scraping. The
Western term for this type of treatment, Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization
(IASTM), also has several names with Graston or Graston Technique being the most
well known. Gua Sha is a medical technique and should only be performed in a
licensed practice, by a licensed medical professional such as an Acupuncturist,
Chiropractor, MD/DO, RN, Massage Therapist, or Physical Therapist.

Gua Sha has been used to treat an array of conditions to include but not limited to:
back, neck, knee, and shoulder pain, as well as acute and chronic illnesses such as,
fever, chills, cough, wheezing, nausea, vomiting, asthma, bronchitis, cold, flu,
fibromyalgia, sprain, strain, muscle spasm, scars, muscle adhesion, breast dissension/
mastitis. This technique is essentially scraping restrictions in the skin, bringing blood
and healing nutrients to the skin surface. Where to scrape for muscular issues or
scarring is obvious, for other ailments it is decided by those particular parts of the body
associated with different organs or processes.

Gua Sha can be used to break down the adhesions (scarring), and fascial restrictions
that form from both unintentional trauma such as an accident, or intentional such as a
surgical scar e.g., C-section. Scar tissue is less flexible than normal tissue, and can
cause restricted motion in that area. Scraping allows the body to reinitiate the first
stage of healing, providing better motion and less sensitivity in and around the scar.
This is of particular importance for mothers who have had cesarian birth. C-section
scars can often cause adhesions between tissues that are not normally joined such as
the colon, uterus, ovaries, bladder. This type of scarring may also lead to restricted
movement of the sacrum, and the iliacus and psoas muscle groups causing chronic low
back pain. Often the C-section scar is overlooked by medical professionals as the cause
of postpartum pain or other symptoms.

When the body is injured it sends blood, specifically the healing substances found in
white blood cells, to the wounded area to begin laying down new collagen, tissues, and
repairing the injury. Modern research shows Gua Sha produces an anti-inflammatory
and immune protection that lasts for several days, along with a 200%-400% increase in
micro perfusion(surface circulation of blood). Practitioners believe that Gua Sha
stimulates blood flow and healing while removing unhealthy elements from the treated

How to perform the technique: A lubricating medium such as coco butter, massage
oil, coconut oil, etc. is applied to the area for treatment. A smooth edge instrument is
used to scrape the skin in long or short strokes. Direction of the stroke is not as
important when working on scar tissue. The scar is targeted from all angles to
maximize adhesion breakdown, in addition to the surrounding tissue. This stroking
motion creates the raised redness (petechiae), or sometimes bruising (ecchymosis),
which will usually fade in 2-4 days. Gua Sha may be somewhat painful, and can be
mildly sore to the touch, but should not exceed 5/10 on the pain scale. The treatment
may look painful/frightful, with the description sounding just as bad, but it is more
than tolerable and the results are absolutely worth it.

When should it not be performed? The ultimate decision will be made with your
medical provider, but the following conditions are usually avoided: broken skin/
wounds, sunburn, bruise, boils, skin tags, infected areas, bleeding disorders, diabetics,
persons on anticoagulation medication, recent fractures, recent surgery, varicose veins,
phlebitis, on weak or feeble patients. Gua Sha should not be performed during the 1st
trimester of pregnancy (just as any other soft tissue technique or mobilization), nor
should it be used on or over a pregnant stomach. An existing C-section scar can be
addressed during the 2nd and 3rd trimester, and with new scars, work begins at six to
eight weeks postpartum.

Thank you, Dr. Linza for this informative article.  We hope you find it helpful.

                                Dr. Linza is located in Clarksville TN, and can be reached for treatment at:                             Clarksville Chiropractic Center, (931)647-3692.


  • Andrew Shippey

    Hi Joe, very interesting and well written article. I have been using Gua Sha, cupping in conjunction with Kinesiotape to treat my patients.

    I use cupping to get to the deeper fascial and scar tissue. I then use the Kinesiotape to perform a directional pull of the scar tissue.

    I am Internationally certified with Kinesiotape and authored an International front cover magazine article for them.

    The tape is waterproof and stays on for days, thus facilitating the directional pull while the new tissue healing phase is in process.

    If you are interested in talking you can drop me a line.
    My website is red-o-scar.com

    Thanks , Drew.

  • Mercy

    Hello, I did 2 csection. The last was 6 years ago. Had some abdominal pain and scan showed my womb is attached to my bladder due to adhesions. Can this exercise still help? Thanks

  • Utitofon

    Thank you Dr.I enjoyed your writeup.
    Please here is my complaints
    I had fibriod surgery 2011
    Had a CS 2013 but my womb was stitched to my skin after the CS, I had to do a correction surgery 9months later which was 2014 March, since then I have been going through so much pains, in and out of the hospital, a Dr diagnosed endometriosis, and I have been trying to conceive but to no avail.
    My CS scar is horizontal and not vertical.
    Please can I still do the massages?
    Thank you while awaiting your reply.

  • Marcie Hadley

    Thank you for reaching out. I have had clients with problems such as yours from c-sections. And I had endometriosis myself. Dr. Joe who wrote this article was a guest blogger. I am not a doctor, but am a doula. In the article, there is a link to Dr. Joe. I would encourage you to reach out to him there.

  • Marcie Hadley

    Hi Mercy, Thank you for reaching out. I have had clients with problems such as yours from c-sections. Dr. Joe who wrote this article was a guest blogger. I am not a doctor, but am a doula. In the article, there is a link to Dr. Joe. I would encourage you to reach out to him there.

  • Marcie Hadley

    Hi Mercy, This practitioner may be able to help. Also, pelvic floor therapist may be able to help as well. I hope you will be able to find help soon.

  • tessa Harris

    Hello, I have recently purchased a GuaSha jade stone for my c-section scar but have found out I am pregnant again; is it safe to still use for the scar? Thanks Tessa

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