Working with Scars – A guest Blog

This month’s blog comes in the from a guest piece from Vickie Maher. Vicki is a Soft Tissue Therapist with 15 years of experience. In today’s blog she shares with us her approach to scar tissue management and specific scar work therapy that she does at her place over in Brentwood, Essex.

The body is an amazing and wonderous thing, in many ways that isn’t yet understood, yet we know that it is constantly changing and adapting to the stresses placed upon it, these may be environmental, physical and emotional. One such physical stress is that of a scar. 

When a trauma to the skin and body occurs, be it in the form of surgery, an accident or burn - the structural integrity of the body changes.  Collagen and connective tissue bonds are broken, neurological pathways may become severed, and layers of fascia which are all there to protect our body separate. The natural healing process takes place after such trauma, whereby new collagen and elastin is produced and laid down remodelling and reorganising our structures until… voilà! This is a scar. But it doesn’t matter how good a job the body did in healing itself, unfortunately these fibres will always be inferior to its original condition.

During open surgeries skin, nerves, fascia and muscles are cut and held apart with clamps allowing room for the procedure to occur.  While they are separated the edges of the open wound becomes dehydrated and so clotting processes are initiated to prevent massive blood loss. Once the procedure is complete the stitches may not align, and nerve endings may not connect immediately.  This can lead to pain, numbness, raised and hardened tissue, skin tightness, adhesions and restrictions which may be visibly red and swollen.  Even with keyhole surgery, natural bonds are broken as probes cause a network of tunnels within the surrounding area in order to perform the operation. These are much smaller in terms of damage caused when comparing to an open surgery technique but the damage is still present.

What is ScarWork?

If you have experienced a Sports Massage or physiotherapy you will be used to the idea of a physical and pro-active treatment, ScarWork is very different.  The touch is gentle; sweeping, light friction, combing and moushing are some of the strokes used.  Some people are sceptic to its effectiveness as it is so light but are then amazed with the results.  The idea is pain free encouragement not brute force.
Sharon Wheeler is an American Structural Integrator (another form of bodywork, also known as Rolfing) and for the last few decades she has developed quite a few techniques specifically aimed at scars and their effects, it is very new to the UK, it was brought over by two therapists, Emma Holly and Jan Trewartha in 2014 and there are currently less than 200 Certified ScarWork Therapists in the UK.

How can ScarWork help me?

 Through the vast number of techniques available, a ScarWork Therapist can encourage hydration to the site; settle neurological firing patterns; resolve issues caused by adhesions; increase mobility, function and posture; and most importantly create a healthy relationship between you and your scar.

So, if you have a scar, take a look at it and the skin and muscles surrounding it.  Touch it, feel what is going on and discover how it makes you feel.  Does it bother you? Is it tight and restricted? Is it angry? Does it feel disconnected with the rest of your body?

If the answer is yes or even maybe, then contact me today and tell me about it.  You will be amazed what ScarWork can do for you!