What’s in a scar?

When you cut into a body, or cause trauma or injury to it you compromise the integrity of the body as a whole. The body does a wonderful job of trying to heal itself when we are wounded but sometimes the healing process doesn’t return us to the pre-wounded state as we would hope, and therefore adhesions or restrictions can occur.

In a body everything connects to everything and when one thing moves everything moves. Any change in the ‘fabric’ of the body will affect the rest no matter how great or small. Imagine a t-shirt with a tear in it. You sew it up. No matter how well you do this, it will create a pull to the rest of the fabric and alter the shape of the t-shirt to a certain degree.

With a t-shirt the fabric is relatively thin and obviously doesn’t attach to the body, so it will only affect the t-shirt and nothing more. In the case of the body, that cut, trauma or injury dives deeper into the body. If it is a surgical cut, it might pass through muscles, tendons and other fascia and may also affect the position of the internal organs. Remember everything is connected in the body. Once the body has healed itself, there can be a web of adhesions that filter out from that wound that can affect not just the nearby structures but those further away. Any place where something has pierced or impacted the skin can create these adhesions. We may only see a small scar on the surface, but like an iceberg there may be something far greater below the surface.

Any scar, trauma or injury to the body can literally leave its mark on the body both externally and internally and it might not be until months or even years later that these affects are recognised to be associated with that old wound. Scarring can create restriction in the movement of the tissue, pain, limitations to joint mobility, lack of sensation or numbness. It can affect the mobility and health of the organs.

It is only now that the understanding of the body is developing and being recognized as a fully interconnected structure (known as biotensegrity) that people are realising the impact scars can have.

Scars can be worked on whether they are relatively new or very old as long as they have healed properly. Working on scar tissue using the techniques developed by Sharon Wheeler offers a chance for the tissue to ‘go back home’ (ref Jan Trewartha’s book Scars, Adhesions and the Biotensegral Body). The techniques help the tissue to reintegrate itself back into the structure of the body. It can help reduce internal torsions created by the scar or adhesions, giving the body’s structures the chance to return to where it once was.

This process is facilitated by gentle encouragement of the tissue, not by forcing it. Scars can affect us both physically and emotionally, so working on scar tissue can help with emotional connections to the scar as well as physical ones. Trauma and emotion can get stuck in the tissue, so sometimes these emotions can be released when the tissue is encouraged to restore itself. Scarwork can also help a client to become reconnected to that part of the body again. It can help lessen pain, sensitivity, numbness and improve mobility both local to the site and to the body globally. We can do a lot to help ourselves heal personally and also with the help of others, but until the scarring has been worked on it can be hard to deal with other issues going on within the body.