Rolfing® and Scars

Scars are the result of accidental or intentional openings of skin and deeper tissues, that usually would not have been exposed to the outside world.

The remaining lines we see after wound healing on the skin is not the whole story, often far from it. In the attempt to not only seal the unwanted opening of tissue the organism’s intelligence knows how to swiftly and effectively close skin and underlying tissue, avoiding any more danger of exposure to air or, even worse, infection due to contamination or pathogens of any kind. To make this area, once opened and now closed, strong and durable against any further injury, the organism developed some strategies, of which most are still not fully understood by science and research. What we do know is, that a network of more dense and less elastic fibres is newly created, and some cells or cell-complexes, sometimes even containing nerve endings, fascia or adipocytes are dragged into the wounded area in the aftermath of the event. The process of building a reliable and resilient tissue continues for weeks or even years. The affected area is now supported by an interconnected network of fibres, sometimes reaching surprisingly far and distant form the injury itself.

The fascial network is an endless web, omnipresent in each corner of the human body. Imagine a three-dimensional web of healthy fibres, ordered in its natural chaotic way to facilitate all sorts of motion and complex movements. And now add to your inner picture areas, where this continuity is distorted or encumbered by denser fibres, restricted knots and bundles. It is not difficult to understand, that each of those interruptions cause discontinuity in every movement of the living body.

These intermissions may appear small, yet the effect is often underestimated. The fine line on the skin may mislead the fact, that the most part of the Scar network is invisible from this surface-oriented perspective.

Dealing with Scars is like talking another language in the world of fascia.

There are many ways to treat scar tissue. Mostly invasive or combatively and in attempt to dispose the unwanted mark and its side effects. There is one approach of an early student of Dr. Rolf: Sharon Wheeler, who founded ScarWork. It honours the bodies attempt to protect and heal the content; it is not trying to change the appearance of the skin, nevertheless the cosmetic effect is often gratifying. It addresses in a most gentle, caring, and profound way the invisible but tangible adhesions, restrictions, shortenings, tensions, that are beneath the surface. In doing so the body as a wholistic system is able to release direct and secondary tension and compensational patterns, and finally integrate the tissue created by emergency into the endless continuous web. It is becoming a part of it and is no longer dismissed. The effect of releasing and integrating a scar may, like in Rolfing, reach further than the hands-on tissue related intervention.

Author: Certified Advanced Rolfer®, Rolf Movement™ Practitioner and Dr. Ida Rolf Institute® Europe Faculty Member, Andrea Clusen - Germany

Photo Credit: Andrea Clusen

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