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“Every scar on the body is the result of some kind of trauma”.
What is a scar?
A scar is an area of fibrous tissue that replaces normal skin after an injury. Scar tissue forms as the natural biological healing response to trauma when the skin is punctured or lacerated, either by accident or on purpose. This can include accidental injury, surgery and self harm scars.
Scar tissue is composed of the same collagen fibres as the tissue it replaces, but the composition of these fibres is different. Collagen is quickly laid down in the repair process which results in a thickened, fibrous mass which impedes the proper circulation of blood and congests lymph flow. Additionally, the severing of delicate nerve tissue often results in dysaesthesia of the scar and surrounding area (an abnormal unpleasant sensation felt when touched, caused by damage to peripheral nerves).
Any kind of scar can cause symptoms such as pain or numbness in the scar area; referred pain or lack of sensitivity; and movement restrictions. These symptoms can persist for decades, and can interfere with daily life.
As the scar is fibrous and non-elastic it will have a dragging and pulling effect on the surrounding tissues, including joints. This can be experienced as a restricted range of motion, where greater than usual force needs to be applied in order to move the affected joint or joints. For example, with abdominal surgery the resulting scar tissue has a ‘dragging’ and a pulling feeling deep in the abdomen that can have an inhibitory effect upon flexion, extension and rotation of the spine. Therefore, abdominal scarring can have a major impact on lower back pain.
What is Scar Release?
Scar Release work can affect nerve tissue to help normalise sensations, increase blood flow to the area, and increase lymphatic drainage. It can help with symptoms associated with the scar tissue including the appearance of the scar (it may flatten or change colour to better blend in with the surrounding tissue), numbness or desensitisation, hypersensitivity, burning, itching and pain.
Clients often have negative associations with a scar, particularly if the reason for its formation was quite traumatic. Therefore, scar release work can also help to promote emotional healing and wellbeing.
Further understanding may be gained when the scar is also considered to effect the flow of energy around the body via the Meridian system. The meridian system is a concept in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in which Life energy, known as Qi (“chi”) flows throughout the body. Meridians can be mapped; they flow within the body and not on the surface, and exist in corresponding pairs. Each scar may be viewed as a blockage, so working to release these areas can not only effect the direct area of the scar, but also effects may be felt in other areas of the body.
As an example, a Caesarean section scar bisects the Stomach, Spleen/Pancreas, Kidney and Liver meridians.
Scar Release Treatments
Scar Release work may be done as part of a Bowen Technique treatment, or as a stand-alone treatment, depending on the scar and issues being treated. Both techniques involve gentle, rolling movements over muscles, tendons and soft tissue at precise points on the body; followed by short break of a up to a few minutes to allow time for the brain and body to respond to the moves that have been made. Both techniques are very specific, and unlike those you may have experienced during treatments such as massage or osteopathy, which involve much deeper manipulation.
The beauty of scar release work is that any results tend to be long lasting, as once scar tissue has been normalised, it doesn’t revert back to its former state.
If you would like to know more about scar release work, or Bowen Technique treatments, please check out www.banburybowen.co.uk
At the beginning of every reflexology treatment, I take a minute to observe your feet before I start the treatment. Why? The colour, temperature, texture and condition of your feet can suggest what’s going on in your body, and help me identify potential imbalances in […]
This post was first published as a guest post for the Clinic On The Green, where you can find me on Fridays!
The Bowen Technique is still fairly unknown to most people, though those who have experienced it tend to quickly become advocates of this amazing treatment. It is a holistic therapy, meaning it treats the body as a whole, promoting the balance of both body and mind.
The technique is named after Tom Bowen (1916 – 1982), an Australian who was inspired by observing that certain moves on the body had particular effects. He began to develop a new treatment based on these observations in the 1950s, and ran a very successful clinic treating 13,000 patients a year. He shared his work with a small number of colleagues who passed on the work after his death. ‘Bowen’ is now practised all over the world, and modern science continues to explore and validate the technique, including how and why it works.
The technique primarily works on fascia, the thin layer of connective tissue situated underneath the skin. Fascia binds skin to underlying tissue, and surrounds every muscle in our body (think of the thin layer surrounding a chicken breast). Healthy fascia provides support and structure, while also allowing us to move freely, and is interconnected in the body. Therefore if there is a bio-mechanical imbalance in one part of the body, it can cause pain or dysfunction elsewhere. This helps to explain why you may attend for a treatment with a problem in one area, and I perform moves over different areas of the body to treat it!
The treatment can be extremely relaxing, and it is not unusual for clients to nod off! A treatment typically consists of a series of moves made over very precise points on the body. A move involves the shifting of soft tissue in a specific way, typically a rolling-type move of the thumbs and forefingers, designed to stimulate the tissue and nerve pathways. Each move is firm but gentle, and there is no forced manipulation. The moves are designed to create impulses in the fascia which are carried to the brain, seeking a response where it is needed. Fascia responds as a single, coherent system and will therefore respond as a whole to a Bowen move, not just locally where the move has been made.
Each series of moves is followed by a short break of approximately two minutes before the next set of moves is made. The length of the breaks will vary from client to client, and with different procedures. The breaks are probably one of the least understood parts of Bowen and yet it is at this point that the work starts to take effect. The breaks encourage the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) to take over from the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) which kicks in when the body is in pain or under stress – the commonly-termed ‘fight or flight’ response. When the body is back in parasympathetic mode, it can rest and start the process of repair.
Bowen can be helpful for a whole variety of problems from musculoskeletal issues and sports injuries to systemic concerns such as digestive or hormonal problems, stress and anxiety, and pregnancy-related issues. Most clients report feeling relaxed during and after treatment, and it is safe to use on people of any age including babies. Each treatment aims to release tension in the body and encourage realignment. Acute injury may respond within just one to three sessions, while chronic conditions may require several. An initial course of three sessions is recommended to establish whether the client is likely to respond to treatment, ideally seven days apart. Clients often find a ‘top-up’ treatment helpful to maintain good health and wellbeing.
Interested in booking a treatment? Just contact me to book your appointment!
The Bowen Technique is still fairly unknown to most people, though those who have experienced it tend to quickly become advocates for this amazing therapy! I didn’t want this particular post to be an in depth explanation of how it works (have a look at […]
This post has come about after being asked for some baby reflexology tips to help sleep deprived parents calm their baby who is just refusing to go to sleep! I’m lucky to have been able to use baby reflexology techniques on my friends babies, to […]
What is Aroma-Reflex?
Quite simply, Aroma-Reflex is a combination of aromatherapy and reflexology. Aromatherapy is a relatively modern term for an ancient form of treatment which uses essential oils extracted from aromatic plants to promote and maintain physical and emotional health, and wellbeing. Aromatherapy, like reflexology, is a holistic treatment – this means it views the individual’s body, mind and spirit as a whole unit. It aims to target the cause of imbalances or illness within the body rather than by suppressing symptoms, as with so many modern medicines. It seeks to support the body to treat the cause, rather than the symptoms.
What happens during a treatment?
The client lays on the treatment couch, in comfortable clothes which can be rolled up to allow access to bare feet and lower legs to the knee. The treatment starts with the oils being massaged into the lower legs and feet before the reflexology treatment commences in full. The legs are covered in a blanket when the reflexology begins, to keep the client warm and comfortable.
How does it work?
Massage offers the additional benefits of the essential oil being primarily absorbed through the skin as well as being inhaled. The movements and techniques used in reflexology further serve to massage the oils into the reflexes, helping to boost circulation, which also promotes the flow of lymph around the body, which helps flush out toxins.
Reflexology and massage are both relaxing to experience, which helps calm body and mind. This allows the Parasympathetic Nervous System to take over from the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS). The SNS kicks in when the body is in pain or under stress – what is commonly known as the ‘fight or flight’ response. When the body is in parasympathetic mode, it can rest and start the process of repair.
Benefits of Essential Oils:
So let’s have a look at some of the benefits of the oils that I am currently using in my aroma-reflex treatments. These lists are by no means exhaustive – there are simply far too many benefits and uses to discuss here!
Bergamot (Citrus Bergamia):
The oil is extracted from the rind of this rather funky small, green citrus fruit. Benefits include: easing emotional stress such as anxiety, depression, tension; relieving indigestion; UTIs; eczema / psoriasis; and cramps.
Lavender (Lavender Augustifolia):
One of my favourite oils, and one which even comes on holiday with me in case I need it! The oil is steam distilled from the freshly cut flowering tops and stalks. Benefits include: antiseptic and antiviral properties; it can have a sedative effect (hence great for relaxation); soothing for skin conditions such as eczema; migraines / headaches; menstrual problems; fluid retention; asthma; stress and anxiety. Specific foot conditions which may benefit include arthritis, chilblains, cramp, dry skin, and fluid retention. Have a look at how you can use Lavender oil to help you sleep !
Lemon (Citrus Limon):
Another of my favourite oils, and really deserves a post all of its own (and probably will have one in the not too distant future!) as it has just so many uses! The oil is derived from cold expression of the peel. Benefits include: cleanses toxins; stimulates circulation; boosts energy; purifies skin; lifts mood. A study published in Exoerimebtal Biology & Medicine found that breathing in the scent of lemon essential oils improved neurological activity that promoted the breakdown of body fat!
Foot conditions which may benefit include arthritis, bunions, cold feet, and fluid retention.
Ginger (Zingiber Officinale):
The oil is steam distilled from the dried, unpeeled rhizome. Ginger and lemon work well together, and the spicy scent of the ginger compliments the citrusy scent of the lemon. Benefits include: boosting circulation, so its good for cold hands/feet; digestive issues; nausea; muscle pains; cramps; arthritis; sinus problems.
I am currently offering an aroma-reflex treatment for just £30!
There are two options you can choose from:
Relaxing: Using a blend of Bergamot and Lavender essential oils in a Sweet Almond carrier oil
Energising: Using a blend of Lemon and Ginger essential oils in a Sweet Almond carrier oil
All oils are organic, or course!
Any questions? Just get in touch!
Let me know what are your favourite essential oils? And how do you use them?
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* I am a Reflexologist not an Aromatherapist! I have undergone further training in Aromatherapy for the Feet and as such, am insured to use a limited number of essential oils as part these treatments.
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