One of the areas I feel blessed to have learned about in my clinical massage therapy training is scar tissue release.
I have several scars, the most noticeable being one on my arm which was from surgery. Before I learned massage I had no idea that scars didn’t have to feel the way they feel and it isn’t something you have to cope with. When I went on some of my training courses, other students worked on my arm scar and also because it’s in an easy to reach place I’ve done work on it myself. Before it was worked on it used to feel like the tissue there was pulled, lumpy and I used to notice that I felt restricted movement and a pinching type sensation. After working on it, it felt very different with more ease and less discomfort and now it is barely noticeable; it feels integrated into the rest of the surrounding tissue and is only a visual difference.
Over the years I’ve met a number of people with scars that were causing problems. The general public don’t realise that scar tissue can create havoc with the body’s myofascia and create pain and restrict range of movement. I’ve been privileged to work with a number of patients using scar tissue release and that has vastly improved their wellbeing. Collagen is laid down by the body around the site of injury – scar tissue is formed by collagen cells and these provide support and strength to the injured area as it recovers. When collagen is aligned correctly after injury then little scarring is noticeable. If however, it is laid down in a haphazard way and randomly aligned then scar tissue becomes noticeable and this is when problems may arise as it provides tension and restricts flow to the surrounding area.
It irks me that after surgery there is little care given in mainstream medical care other than the stitches and allowing them to “heal up”. The visible aspect of the skin may heal up but what many don’t realise is that scar tissue pulls and creates adhesions and this can have repercussions on the localised area and also other areas of the body via the myofascia.
Caesarian sections and hysterectomies can cause a lot of issues for many women and many can suffer for years following these surgeries and be unaware that the scarring caused by these surgeries are the reason for pain and discomfort. Both these surgeries can create trigger point patterns that refer to the upper back or that create problems for the viscera. The scar at the surface is just the tip of the iceberg as it is beneath the surface through other layers that there will be further adhesions/fibrous tissue. I use a mix of scar tissue release/mobilisation and also aromatherapy for my clients who have undergone these surgeries.
The benefits of scar tissue release are:
- reduces the appearance of scars
- lowers the likelihood of tissue adhesions after injury or surgery
- helps to increase flexibility and range of motion
- helps to relieve myofascial tension and spasms
- restores balance to the body
For the bodyworkers amongst you, I can highly recommend the Jing Institute in Brighton and for CPD after a course this video is excellent:
This class includes all the footage from both our Myofascial Release dvds. In this class you will learn basic anatomy & physiology of fascia, how to release the superficial fascia, skin rolling, scar release techniques, kinesthetic joint evaluation, leg and arm pulls, the location of the fascial lines, cross handed stretches, transverse diaphragm releases, postural analysis from the front, postural analysis from the side, how to release the rib cage and detailed techniques for the feet, hips, back, shoulder, neck, jaw and scalp.
Elizabeth Plant is a massage therapist who works with other modalities to bring a deep sense of wellbeing to her clients. Following her initial complementary training, she’s trained at the Jing Institute in Brighton and also has completed one year in Soft Tissue Release at the College of Osteopaths.