Please note: You will find the information on this page easier to understand if you have already viewed the page on myofascial release (MFR).
If you have not already done so, please read my page on Myofascial release (MFR). This will help you to better understand the information on this page.
What is Scar Tissue Release?
Scars can be uncomfortable, impair your movement, appear unsightly and make you feel self-conscious. They may feel itchy, tender, tight or strangely numb. They are a normal part of the body’s healing process after injury or surgery.
However, the layers of fascia can get stuck together and then the surrounding tissues and organs do not move and work quite as they should.
The great news though is that I can use Myofascial release (MFR) to offer you fast, effective relief from the discomfort caused by your scar.
Working with sensitivity
I understand that you may feel self-conscious about your scar and that there may be some unpleasant past experiences surrounding it. It may also be painful and you may not want me to touch it straight away. For these reasons, I may treat other related areas of your body first, before working on your actual scar.
I can give you the most effective treatment if I work directly on your skin. However, if it feels more comfortable for you, I can also work through a thin drape, vest-top or with my hand over your hand.
How does scar tissue release work?
I apply sustained pressure or traction (gentle pulling) on your skin, so that I can feel where the fascia moves and where it does not. I initially follow your natural movement and then encourage your fascia to move in new ways. This unsticks and frees up the restrictions within the layers of fascia, helping your body to move and function normally again.
You may feel both a physical and emotional release during scar tissue treatment. This is perfectly normal and often necessary for you to heal on all levels.
Prevention is better than Cure; pre-op treatment
If you know that you are going to have an operation, I can work with you in the run-up to your surgery. This may help you to heal faster and reduce the extent of scarring. You may also feel calmer, less anxious and make a quicker emotional recovery.
Integration with Aromatherapy
After treating your scar with MFR), I can offer you a nurturing aromatherapy massage. I use specific oils to nourish the skin and improve its elasticity and suppleness. Specifically, regular use of rosehip, an ingredient in my Scar Magic balm, has been found to improve the appearance of scars. Scar Magic is available for you to purchase from me, so that you can carry on treating your scar at home.
What is Scar Tissue?
This is a complex subject and I cannot do justice to it in a few paragraphs. If I have whetted your appetite and you want to know more about scars and the issues which they can cause in more technical detail, please read on.
Scars are the body’s natural response to trauma, following an injury or surgery. When tissue damage extends beyond the surface of the skin and if the cut edges of the wound are too far apart to bind together, then a network of tough collagen fibres forms to fill the gap and repair the wound.
The purpose of scar tissue is to seal up wounds and protect the area from further damage. It is therefore much tougher and less flexible than the original tissue and remains relatively vulnerable to reinjury. There are several different types of scars, some raised and lumpy, others tightly bound to the underlying tissue, creating a dip.
Scars resulting from chronic tension, postural patterns and internal injury may not affect the skin at all. Examples of injuries which may lead to internal scarring include muscle strains, sprains, cartilage damage, fractures and dislocations.
You may have visible external scarring if you have had open wounds, resulting from injury or surgery, where the area affected extends deeper than the upper layers of your skin. Other causes of external scarring include burns, repeated needle punctures and some skin infections, such as acne and chicken pox.
What problems can scars cause?
Scars cause the fascia to stick to itself and to the underlying tissues and organs. Areas of stuck fascia are called adhesions and they increase the pressure placed on nerves, blood vessels, muscles, bones and internal organs. Therefore, scars can lead to loss of sensation, reduced mobility and impaired functioning of other body systems.
The effects of a scar will depend on where it is. It will affect the immediate area and it may also affect other seemingly unrelated areas of your body. For example, the scarring from an old hip injury can later lead to problems with the shoulder or ankle. This is because you are using your body differently to protect one area, so other areas must compensate for this. This leads to further adhesions and restrictions in the fascia.
Abdominal scarring and adhesions are common and can be particularly troublesome. They occur as a result of trauma, bleeding, infection or surgery involving the abdomen, lower spine or pelvis.
You will have abdominal scarring if you have had any surgery for your digestion, such as stomach or bowel surgery. Gynaecological procedures also commonly cause scarring, including Caesarean section, female sterilisation and hysterectomy.
Chronic inflammatory conditions cause irritation, leading to scarring in the abdomen. Examples include ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis and endometriosis.
Symptoms of abdominal scarring and adhesions
Symptoms may occur soon after trauma or surgery and typically occur many months or even years later. The gut and female reproductive system are most often affected.
If abdominal scarring is affecting your digestion, you may experience severe cramping pain, nausea and vomiting, abdominal distension and bloating, inability to pass wind, disruption to bowel movements and dehydration.
Abdominal scarring in women may cause painful periods, pain during intercourse and difficulty in conceiving.
If you have any of these symptoms, or any other undiagnosed issues which you think could be related to your abdominal scar, see your doctor first, to rule out other possible causes.
Most problems caused by adhesions are not dangerous, though they can still be unpleasant and difficult to live with. Adhesions cannot be easily detected, so they usually go undiagnosed. Pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed to manage symptoms, while the cause goes untreated. This is when MFR treatment comes into its own, unsticking all of the fascial layers from the outside in and helping you move forward with the discomfort which you may have had for years.
My thanks go to Ruth Duncan of MFR UK, for her outstanding knowledge, skills and training in this fascinating area of bodywork. The information provided here is based on training materials supplied by MFR UK.