With the lessons of scar neglect learned from my abdominal surgery and covered in my previous article, my husband and I were ready to apply my new knowledge when he had surgery last summer. He had a thyroglossal duct cyst removed from the space at the root of his tongue and has a short scar across his neck beneath his Adam’s apple. Of course, immediately following the operation, he needed to allow the wound to drain and the inflammation to subside. There are always necessary precautions against beginning any rigorous intervention with recent wounds in order to allow the three distinct stages of repair to commence – the initial inflammation stage to prepare the area for healing (please note inflammation occurs to varying degrees in all stages), the fibroplastic phase to rebuild, and the remodeling phase to begin to provide the final form (Schleip, et al, p. 412). In the second stage, gentle stretching of the area is recommended while during the third stage direct stimulation can begin.
Using fingertips without oil provides a nice tugging at the skin and superficial fascia. With my older abdominal incision, I began at the outermost edges of my scar and slowly worked my way in, simply pulling away from the center of the seam and later applied the full palm of my hand on either side of my scar and pulled away. This technique is called Gross Stretch according to Fascia: The Tensional Network of the Human Body.
This work started some slight movement and stretching of the area. Beneath I could feel the entwined layers of my belly and the density of those layers after years of neglect. Again, the sensation of yuck and a desire to stop were my overriding sensations but I stuck with it and eventually could apply both sets of fingertips on either side of my scar and gently draw AWAY in both directions as I made small circles on my skin, stretching the actual fibers of my scar (Gentle Circles, Schleip, et al, p. 416).
“Vertical lifts” were my next hurdle. To perform this, I pinched the skin around my scar and pulled the skin upward and away from my body; spreading the fascial tangles buried beneath the scar. This was a tough one for me but vertical lifts helped set the stage for my next stop – Yoga Tune Up® skin rolling, a myofascial release technique for scars.
In contrast, my husband started soon after his scar was ready to be manipulated and began applying a variety of techniques. His scar is pliable, smooth and barely visible across his neck, a much more observable place than the abdomen. In regards to my own scar, I wish I had these tools in my toolbox of healing sooner. Taking these skills into healing of the scars of your own life will ease your tissues back into function and form sot they can work well together no matter what vulnerability they have endured.
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