Specialist massage techniques can effectively treat pain and immobility caused by scarring and adhesions, even from very old wounds.
Scar tissue and adhesions are part of the body’s healing process, formed in response to injury, illness, surgery and other medical treatments. However, sometimes too much tissue grows and interferes with the body’s functioning. Surgery to cut adhesions causes more adhesions and so patients can fall into an adhesion/surgery cycle.
Anything from a childhood fall to major surgery can have a lifelong effect on the body but this can be significantly lessened with scar tissue release- a systemic massage therapy which releases and re-aligns the body’s connective tissue. Although this is not a cosmetic treatment, scars can become less visible as a side effect.
What are adhesions and scar tissue?
Adhesions are fibrous bands, or thin sheets of tissue, that grow as a result of trauma to the body. They stick together other tissues and/or internal organs. Depending on their size or location, they have different names e.g. cross links, micro-adhesions.
Scar tissue is a concentration of thick, pale fibres formed on the skin or internal organs caused by healing after injury, disease or surgery. They have limited flexibility, circulation and sensation.
What effects can they have?
Scar tissue can spread to any part of the body, restricting movement and functioning. If it forms around a nerve it can cause pain and numbness.
Adhesions restrict motion as well. In a frozen shoulder they grow between the shoulder joint surfaces. You can also find them in the ovaries, uterus, testes and intestines.
Indirectly, both scar tissue and adhesions can affect the liver, heart, lungs and breathing.
What’s involved in scar massage treatment?
New scars and adhesions need to be left for at least 12 weeks before treatment – much longer for deep or abdominal/visceral scars. Consent from your surgeon or doctor needs to be obtained before scar massage treatment.
A minimum of six treatments are required to treat scarring, unless it is superficial. Adhesions should be treated twice a week over several months, depending on the depth and width of the adhesions and of how long they been there.
The first task is to discover how far the scarring and adhesions have spread. Much is not visible, so this is done by feeling the affected area. A number of techniques are used to treat the scarring and adhesions:
- Cross fibre friction to soften the hardened tissue and help break it up, one branch or layer at the time.
- Warming the tissues so to lengthen them and re-align them.
- Myofascial release
- Stretching exercises
Between treatments, there are a number of things you can do:
- Warm up the area with hot water bottle – heat helps to loosen the fibres
- Wrap a compress soaked with caster oil and keep on the affected area for 60-90 minutes – this will help to break up scars and adhesions
- Some people find that the herbal supplement Fibrovan helps to break up scars and adhesions. NB This is not a product endorsement or guarantee.
Some causes of adhesions and/or scar tissue
- Bowel obstruction repair
- Caesarian section
- Back and hip surgery
- Gastric bypass
- Plastic surgery
- Inflammation and infection
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Trauma of radiation near site of cancer treatment
I practice from my relaxed and comfortable consulting room in the leafy Hermitage area of Morningside, Edinburgh.