Scar Tissue, the most overlooked issue in Healthcare

 

What do all of the following have in common?

Cesarean “C” section

Breast reduction

Breast implant

Appendectomy

Laparoscopy

Arthroscopy

 

Well that is easy right?  They are all surgeries. But would it surprise you to know that 6 out of 10 women who walk into my office do not consider C- Sections or breast work surgeries? Yes, you did read that correctly.

There is an alarm gong off in my head.  At first it was a small ding and as the years have gone by it has been getting louder and louder. These days it is going off like an air raid siren.  When a new client comes to see me I have them fill out a medical history intake form. It is very common for people to “forget” about past injuries, illness and yes even a minor surgery.  It has always amazed me, I mean really how does one forget they broke an arm or an ankle?

Here are some of the many conversations/comments that have resulted from the “Please list all surgeries” section on the form:

“Surgery? No, not really… Well…I had a C-section but I do not consider that surgery.” 

“Why is that?”

“Well…it wasn’t planned… it was an emergency.”

 

“No surgery…I just had my breasts done but that doesn’t count.”

 

“I did have my toe chopped off, but they sewed it back on and that was so long ago it doesn’t matter.”

 

“No…No surgeries… just had some work done on my mouth twice.” 

“Do you mean you had Oral surgery?”

“Yes”

 

“Well I did have my uterus taken out. But they did that through my belly button- you can barely even see the scar… so no, no surgery.”

 

During a session I will observe a scar and inquired as to its origin. The client inevitably says “What scar? Where?  Oh right?  …That’s from when I wiped out on my motorcycle…yeah I ruptured my spleen and they had to do surgery”   and this one on your leg? “Oh that?  I was dragged by the bike on asphalt pretty gnarly huh?!”  

 

I have been a Licensed Massage Therapist for over 20 years and in all that time a reoccurring theme seems to have prevailed. The presence of scar tissue can have a lifelong physiological effect on the body — a fact that seems to have eluded traditional healthcare professionals. This realization combined with my clinical experience, education, teaching and research, has led to my developing the STRAIT (Scar Tissue Release and Integrated Therapies) Method to release restricted tissues and restore balance and freedom of movement.

 

During the course of my career I’ve treated many patients whose problems could be traced back to a scar they had forgotten they even had.  Everyone has a scar i.e. the bellybutton. While not every scar presents a problem, often they can.  This is due to the fact that the body is one large, three-dimensional piece of fascia that envelops us like an intricate spider web. Any kink, pull or restriction in one area affects the whole matrix.

 

Scar tissue and adhesions are the result of our body’s natural healing process and it occurs both internally and externally. The process, if working correctly, is supposed to eliminate the scars and adhesions once the wound is healed. In some cases, a person’s body does not remove all of the scar tissue. In other cases adhesions have built to help support the body due to poor posture, repetitive use or injury.  The adhered tissue continues to spread which can trigger a cascading effect of compensations through out the body.

 

The STRAIT Method is a series of fascial techniques that release and realign the restrictive tissue from the starting point (visible scar) to the end point (where the line of frozen fascia stops).  This release system differs from traditional methods because it approaches the multi faceted matrix of fascia three dimensionally.

 

What is Scar Tissue? 

Scars are areas of fibrous tissue that have replaced normal skin, or other tissue, after injury. A scar results from the biologic process of wound repair in the skin and other tissues of the body. Scar tissue is never as functional as the original tissue it has replaced. With the exception of very minor lesions, every wound (both internal and external) results in some degree of scarring.

 

What are Adhesions?

Adhesions are bands of scar tissue that anchor and support the wound. It binds all tissue it comes into contact with together. Adhesions will form whenever there is inflammation in the body. Although adhesions can occur anywhere, the most common locations are within the stomach, pelvis and heart.

 

Importance of Incorporating Scar Tissue Release Therapy into Your Repertoire of Services

Scars and the multitude of issues that can be traced back to them are generally overlooked by health professionals. Simply because the extent of physiological effects scars can have on the body have never really been acknowledged. As massage therapists we know that the slightest restriction in the elaborate matrix of fascia can have major repercussions from one end of the body to the other.

 

  • A simple scar from a childhood accident to major surgery can have a lifelong effect both physically and mentally for your client
  • Scar tissue has the potential to spread in any direction including internally throughout the body
  • Scar Tissue can restrict movement or function anywhere in the body from a joint to an organ

 

Working scar tissue is extraordinarily simple to learn, easy to apply and yields powerful results that can prevent a lifetime of compensation, complications and pain.

 

I do not know what amazes me more, the body’s ability to respond so quickly to the release of adhered tissues or the shock on the patient’s face when their body is freed from its restrictions and pain.  But the one thing I do know is that ignorance is not bliss.  The time has come for the public to be made aware of effects of scar tissue and adhesions.

 

It is my hope that with modern science starting to recognize the importance of fascia and the effects of scar tissue on the body that Scar Tissue Release will be brought to the forefront of therapy. Therapists can make significant and long lasting changes in the health and well being of their clients/patients by incorporating scar work into their treatments. It is my experience that release of scar tissue, followed by proper rehab exercises can play a major supportive and therapeutic role in helping anyone living with the physical, emotional and mental effects of scar tissue and adhesion restrictions.

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