Lymphatics vs. Scar Tissue Release

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The Scar Tissue Release and Integrated Therapies method —STRAIT™, for short — is a three-dimensional, fascial-release system that works to minimize scar-tissue development and the subsequent physiological restrictions. Utilizing multiple manual techniques Adhered tissues are released and then realigned from their starting point, which is the visible scar, to their end point — where the line of frozen fascia stops. Once the scar is released the rehab phase where ROM Stretching/strengthen and body mechanics exercises are applied in order to reset the body.


How does this differ from Lymphatic massage treatment or scar tissue?


When surgery is performed the initial lymphatic vessels are cut, these initial lymphatic vessels are located just under the skin the fluid is then transported to the pre-collectors, then to the collector channels which are located deep in the body running parallel to the arteries and veins. Over time the initial lymph vessels will reform to continue working but as scar tissue forms they can be inhibited in their function to reduce swelling.


Scars and adhesions disrupt the network of lymph capillaries that lie just under the skin. … When performing manual lymph drainage or simplified lymphatic drainage, scars can interrupt the lymph flow. When there is a scar in the stroke pathway, it is recommended that you stroke around the scar and not through it. This is recommended because lymph vessels within the scar tissue have been disrupted the transfer of fluid across a scar is usually ineffective … Lymphedema Caregiver’s Guide by M. K. Kearse, PT, CLT-LANA, E. McMahon PhD, and A. Ehrlich, MA. Lymph Notes 2009, page 91.


HUTZSCHENREUTER has demonstrated in a study that MLD improves wound healing and optimizes the scarring process. Damaged lymph drainage routes can be restored in existing scars. If post-surgical scars interrupt the lymphatic pathways and local edemas form, they can be drained away, while MLD scar treatment reconnects the interrupted drainage routes. MLD also has a salutary effect on large scars, such as those caused by burns. Hyperkeratotic scars cease their itching, the deep reddening of the scar area pales and the scar tissue softens. However, with lymphatic drainage much time must be spent on scar therapy.


The STRAIT Method opens the tissue quickly allowing for a more effective and flowing lymphatic treatment.


“Lymphatics isn’t for scar, different systems. At best, lymphatic drainage would decrease tension on a scar. I’d have it other way round, scar work for lymphatics, both are important and often related, but different i.e writing vs mathematics-

great tools but different languages.” Jocelyn Kope, Capetown, South Africa


Therapies are being applied with total lack of understanding of the physiology of scar tissue. There is little or worse no knowledge behind the events that caused the scars i.e. surgeries, accidents and what the corrective procedures actually did to the body. No attention is paid to the psychological & emotional trauma surrounding the event. Few look for the possible compensations the body may have complied in response to restrictions and what releasing those restrictions without proper rehab would do.


“The STRAIT Method includes psychology of the body and incorporates a full spectrum whole body experience vs just tackling the scar tissue as taught by other modalities.” Jen Adams, Alabama, USA


There are so many wonderful forms of therapy available today to help people on their journey to balance health & wellness.  No one is better than the other, rather we have to find the right one, or combination thereof, that works for each individual.  That being said, there is nothing more important than recognizing the effect scars are having on a person. In order for any therapy to be fully affective you have to clear and release any and all scars that are impeding the body’s function. In other words, scar tissue release is the first step then you may proceed with any and all therapies that resonate with the patient.

“Oh Baby – now that’s a scar!” Scar Release & C-sections

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According to the World Health Organization, cesarean (c-section), rates continue to rise around the world. The rate in Australia is 33% and in the United States of America it is 32.2%, which works out to 1-in-3 women. But no matter how well-trained the surgeon may be, there will be scar tissue formation after a C- Section. Scar tissue needs to form to help the wound heal, but there is a tiny problem: adhesions.  Adhesions occur internally when the body undergoes severe trauma such as a surgery, inflammation or infection.   Unfortunately, most doctors either fail to disclose or show concern in regard to adhesion formation and a protocol to minimize it and the issues that can arise from them has never be established.

The most common incision for a C- Section is made horizontally (often called a bikini cut), which is just above the pubic bone. The incision is cut through the lower abdomen at the top of the pubic hair just over the hairline. The muscles of the stomach are not be cut but they are pulled apart so that the doctor can gain access to the uterus. In an emergency cesarean the incision will most likely be a vertical incision (from the navel to the pubic area) which will allow a faster deliver. The surgeon also pulls the bladder down to protect it during surgery. Scarring from the incision builds up underneath the incision as well as in the uterus. As the c-section scar starts to heal and the uterus reduces back adhesions form.

Scar tissue after a C Section is not preventable. Scar tissue is fibrous tissue that replaces normal tissue after an injury. While it contains the same materials as normal tissue, the quality of the scar tissue is inferior to that of the tissue it replaces. It is very important to understand that the scar that you can see is actually only the tip of the iceberg. All surgeries involve multiple layers of sutures and go much deeper than just the visible scar on the surface.

Another significant factor to be considered is the effect of adhesion formation on the internal organs.  The organs are supposed to slip and slide around each other. Organs need this movement in order to function properly. When adhesions are present, the sliding surfaces stick to each other and drag across one another causing tensional pulls. The resulting restrictions can cause limited range of motion and pain in other areas of the body.

It can take up to two years after a surgery or trauma to fully heal.  Pain and issues may not even surface until well after the Mom has “recovered” from the surgery. Years can pass and by then, the symptoms may not be associated with the scar.

Common complaints after a c-section can include sensitivity of the scar itself and nerves being caught up in the scar tissue causing itching, hyper or hypo sensitivity.  This will make pants irritating or leaving the Mom unable to feel anything from the scar to the pubic bone.  Leaning over to pick up baby can be painful. The tension pull from the scar may cause postural changes, that along with a decrease in the support of the back from the abdominal muscles could result in back pain. The scarring can cause the adjacent muscles to develop trigger points that refer pain to areas like the clitoris or urethra.

There can be issues with lower digestion such as irritable bowel syndrome or constipation and bloating.  Adhesions around the uterus, bladder and fallopian tubes can lead to painful intercourse, frequent urination and fertility challenges.

Let’s not forget the emotional issues that can arise as a direct result of the scar.  There is the selfconsciousness about the appearance of the scar. Some women will not touch the scar and surrounding area.  A simple pull or pressure on the scar can cause a continual minor or a sudden major PTSD reaction.  Lack of sleep and mental stress from chronic pain that doctors do not acknowledge and family members do not understand can be detrimental.

“I was fortunate enough to have a massage with Marjorie in Sydney, Australia on her recent visit. I was astonished by the immediate results and by Marjorie’s open, giving attitude. Post massage benefits included greater energy, improved posture, a huge sense of release and opening to my abdomen which had felt frozen after surgery. It was such a relief. Emotionally I felt noticeably stronger after the treatment.”  Deborah S, Australia

Scar tissue can have an adverse effect on every one of the bodies systems.  They are interconnected and encased by the fascia and the smallest of restrictions can cause problems.  The good news is that there is much that can be done to minimize and correct the issues.

C-section scarring can be improved or corrected altogether by releasing the tissue and proper therapeutic rehab (every expecting mother needs to be trained in pelvic floor exercises for both pre & post pregnancy).  As the scar tissue is release layer by layer, and fibers encouraged to lay down in the proper alignment, the softer it becomes and function can be restored to the tissue surround the area. This reduces tensional pulls and reduces the adhesions. The tissue needs to be released in all directions, proper circulation (lymph included), range of motion restored and body mechanics re-established.


I found Marjorie after doing a search for a solution to my c- section scar and pain. She is a miracle worker. After just one session my scars have flattened significantly and the color has improved. She has helped with my back pain and sleeping problems. She is also very personable, caring and easy to talk to. I highly recommend her to anyone that has scars, surgery, or any kind of pain.”

Jennifer G, USA


The body needs time to heal, so for the best results light therapy such as myofasical release and lymphatic massage can start right after the surgery.  Gentle range of motion stretching and proper body mechanics (how to feed, pick up and carry the baby etc) should be done in accordance with the mother’s ability and healing. After 12 weeks the tissue can be released via the STRAIT (Scar Tissue Release And Integrated Therapies) Method  a three-dimensional, fascial-release system that works to minimize scar-tissue development and the subsequent physiological restrictions. As tissue is forever remodeling there in no time limit to working on scars.  A difference can be made and balance restored no matter how old the scar is.



  1. William’s Obstetrics Twenty-Second Ed. Cunningham, F. Gary, et al, Ch. 25.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  3. World Health Organization

Forget Me Knot

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What do all of the following have in common?

Caesarean “C” Section

Breast reduction

Breast implant





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, as with all health professionals, 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 amazes me none the less, 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?”

“ 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?”



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

During a session I will observe a scar and inquire 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 narlly huh?!”  

Scar tissue therapy is generally overlooked by health professionals because the extent of physiological effects scars can have on the body have never really been acknowledged. If the Doctors are ignoring the effects then what hope does the patient have of ever understanding the that the slightest restriction, in the elaborate matrix of fascia, can have major repercussions from one end of the body to the other.

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. Almost everyone has a scar. While not every scar presents a problem, often they can.

I never 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 it’s restrictions and pain due to that scar they forgot they even had.  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.

Alphabet Soup

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images (3) There was no better lunch when I was a kid than a salami sandwich and a big bowl of alphabet soup. I loved to dunk the sandwich and when I was finished soaking up the soup, I had all the letters to make up stuff with. There was a never ending combination of letters and tons of hysterical laughter as my siblings and I came up with sayings to match the initials. Sometimes they made sense, other times they were just funny. Either way they all came out of the same bowl, tasted the same and helped fill our tummies.

I was recently reminded of those forgotten afternoons. A friend who has been a very successful massage therapist for 25 years attended my Scar Tissue Release course last weekend. He has never joined any of the massage organizations , he rarely attends continuing education courses, preferring to read studies and magazines. However, with the new CEU requirements for New York, he decided to come hangout with me and 47 others for a few days.

The next day he came in for a session and while discussing the course material he thanked me for taking the time during the class to continually explain the multitude of acronyms that were being tossed about by the students. He was both amazed at the sheer number of them and amused that, when explaining them, I would break down the techniques to the origins from which they hailed. He said for a moment there he felt…well, really out of the loop…but then he realized it was all just different version of what he already knew and he felt much better. I just smiled and agreed that there are really no new techniques, everything stems from something else. There are only new points of views and presentations.

Right after that conversation, another massage therapist friend (a continuing education junkie) called asking had I heard of this technique or this one (insert any three letters at random) and what did I think of them. Once again, I found myself breaking down the technique with her and taking it back to the origins of the work. She also told me how arrogant a fellow student was during the class, continually challenging the instructor, not to contribute to the information being shared, but rather to simply prove her wrong. Unfortunately, this is not a very uncommon situation I am sad to say.

A few thoughts came to me after this combination of conversations.


There is obviously a need for coming up with a descriptive name for a technique (or a disease for that matter) and who does not enjoy a good abbreviation these days. However, as professionals, we really need to get into the habit of clarifying what we say for those around us. Using acronyms without explanation alienates us from those we are trying to work with, whether they be clients/patients or fellow professionals. There are only so many combinations of letters, many get used over and over again and have many different meanings.

If you find yourself using an acronym during a conversation, which we are all want to do, take two seconds to clarify what they stand for and to make sure the person(s) you are speaking with is familiar with the therapy/technique/disease you are referring to. Spouting off a series of letters and big words does not make you seem educated and professional, more likely you will come off arrogant and full of yourself. Instead, take the time to acknowledge the possibility that not everyone is in the know and have the where with all to clearly define and explain what those snappy letters stand for. This my friends, is not only proof of your intelligence and competence but of your consideration and compassion for others.

I know better than you….

It is very popular for professionals to disparage other professions. Doctors & Physical Therapists look down on Massage Therapists. Massage Therapists complain about Physical Therapists. Massage Therapists & Physical Therapists alike criticize Doctors and so and so on. It is bad enough that the health professions are divided and not working together for the benefit of the client/patient, now it seems we are often condescending towards the various styles of practice within our own professions.

We should all be banding together to support the needs of our clients/patients by learning and understanding other therapies/techniques and what they have to offer. Whether or not you agree with another style of massage or another therapy, as a professional, you should never belittle or denigrate it to an inquiring client or colleague. As a professional, you should be capable of explaining the premise behind the therapy/technique, what it seeks to achieve and how it is administered. After stating the basics, then you can explain from your point of view, how it differs from your approach. This leaves the client/patient or colleague with the ability to make an informed decision of their own as to whether or not to pursue it further. The clients/patients needs vary depending on the individual and the moment in time of the need. There is no one end – all -be-all therapy and more often than not it takes a cocktail mixed to each person’s particular needs.

Time to change the menu…

Throughout my classes I encourage my students to contribute information on their specialties. I discuss a variety of therapies, their merits and when they can be used in conjunction and when one is more preferable then another. I encourage my students to seek out training in specialties that may call to them such as Oncology Massage or Visceral Manipulation. I recommend other courses from Instructors I respect such as Tracey Walton and Marty Ryan. I have even asked them and others to help round out my students knowledge with one page handouts sheets (i.e the top ten facts about massage & cancer) including their promotional information.

I will also ways love Alphabet soup, but lately I find myself more in the mood for Stone soup. It is not a meal one makes on their own, rather it is a community effort, all contributing their own special ingredient, combining all together to share with each other for the betterment of all. I have the pot and have tossed in the first few stones and there is a seat for all who wish to join in at the table.
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Understanding is Relative

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The following story was circulating on Facebook:
A young couple moves into a new neighborhood. The next morning while they are eating breakfast, the young woman sees her neighbor hanging the wash outside. “That laundry is not very clean; she doesn’t know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs a better laundry soap.” Her husband looks on but remains silent. Every time her neighbor hangs her wash to dry the young woman makes the same comments. A month later, the woman is surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and says to her husband: ” Look she has finally learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this?” Replies the husband, ” I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.”

And so with life…What we see when watching others depends on the clarity of the window through which we look.

This story so hit home with me. I was brought up in a very judgmental household. I never realized how much I used to presume and judge others and situations until one day my husband (then boyfriend), thankfully, pointed it out to me (yes, I still married him!)

We often make monumental mistakes when we judge other people and their actions. We see the world through “life experience” tinted glasses. Before we move to judgment we should always take a step back and examine how and why we came to a conclusion or, at the very least, understand that we may not have a clear view (all the facts). We need to stay open to the possibility that there is information we are missing. i.e. Is the woman on line holding everyone up because she is being inconsiderate or is she having a bad day and forgot her wallet? Is that really obese person lazy and gross or is he doing battle with a disorder/disease? Until you know the whole picture and, even then, unless you are personally going through the exact same thing, you can never fully understand what it going on with another individual. Emoting good wishes instead of hurtling daggers of judgment benefits everyone. You will be amazed how pleasurable life is when you openly look for and begin to perceive a broader view of the world.

Another point in the story above which is often overlooked is that the husband let the wife continue misjudging her neighbor for a month. I can tell you that not only was I shocked by the realization that I was acting like a true member of my family (something I strive to avoid) I was also grateful to be shown the error of my ways. However, to be honest, I was also annoyed with my husband for taking so long to tell me. If you hear someone being judgmental or simply misjudging, then tell them. They may not appreciate it but then again you never know unless you try.

Understanding that we all view the world from our own perspectives is one of the most important lessons one can learn as a Healthcare Provider. While waiting for a movie to start I was channel surfacing and came across a hospital drama (could not tell you which one, sorry). A young female doctor was frustrated because she could not convince her professional model patient, suffering from a rare cancer of the jaw, to have the surgery which would save her life by removing a large piece of her mandible (Jaw bone). The model wanted to look into alternative methods before having her face permanently altered. The Doctor, presuming it was all about the model’s vanity, asked her supervisor for advice and the supervisor’s reply was “stop judging your patient”. Totally not what the she expected to hear. It forced her to take a step back and examine her own perceptions. She realized that she was in fact looking at the situation through her own personal references, a person who’s identity revolved around her intelligence not her appearance. What proceeded was a very open and honest conversation between Doctor and Patient, which I might add started with the Doctor apologizing. Taking the time to try and understand exactly where our clients are coming from should be the first step in every treatment.

“What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew