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Bowen Technique for Scar Tissue

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

What is scar tissue?

Scar tissue is important as it helps to protect the body by covering and sealing wounds. It also helps to prevent further injury by strengthening the area around the wound.

The body forms scar tissue as a natural response to trauma, when skin is damaged, lacerated, burnt or punctured by accident or by elective intervention such as piercings, vaccinations, injections or surgery.

However, scar tissue is not as functional as normal tissue and does not have the same strength or flexibility. Collagen, which is laid down during the repair process, results in a thickened, fibrous, weaker and less elastic area. Skin needs to be able to glide to a certain degree over underlying tissues in order to allow us to move freely.

Scarring will affect this particular property and force us to start moving in a slightly different way and space. It will result in reduced blood and lymph flow and change movement dynamics, often also through subconscious defensive mechanisms.

Lymph channels are severely impeded by scarring. This often shows as swelling around the site of the scar, in turn affecting elimination of toxicity in the area and possible long-term stasis of the fluid.

Nerve tissues are unavoidably affected which results in altered or reduced sensation of both the scar and surrounding tissue.

Scars can produce local and non-local effects. Due to its lack of elasticity, scar tissue creates a dragging or tethering effect on the whole body which may lead to altered function elsewhere in the body, for example an appendix scar can lead to back pain and shoulder problems; a scar on the wrist may affect neck mobility and cause stiffness.

If normal movement of soft tissue is not restored, joint mobilisation, treatment of trigger points and fascial release will have only a short term effect.

All scars are a lasting representation of a traumatic episode, therefore there can often be an ongoing emotional impact involved with any scar. This may be buried or may be evident, for example the individual is unable to touch or look at their scar, or the area in some cases feels disconnected from the rest of the body.

A scar is like the tip of an iceberg. Consider the incision from a caesarean section – it goes through all the layers of the skin, the fascia and the abdominal muscles, and the wall of the uterus. There is a depth and a breadth of scar tissue under the skin we cannot see.


Psychological impact of Scars

The psychological impact of an injury (and the resulting scars) is probably as important as the rehabilitation of the physical tissues themselves. Some common ways of responding can include:

  • Low self esteem and loss of confidence

  • Sleep disturbances

  • Loss of libido

  • Anxiety, depression and PTSD

  • Anger

  • Fear

  • Self loathing and image problems

  • Psychological disconnection from that part of the body

Caesarean sections, for example, whether they are elective or emergency, hold a lot of psychological trauma as well as having a physical impact. A woman may feel the lower and upper halves of her body are not connected. This may be due to a lack of neural feedback, a disturbance in lymphatic flow and drainage or perhaps energetic disconnections with the acupuncture meridian pathways.

Psychological improvements can and do occur quickly with the administration of MSTR®.


What is MSTR®?

Mcloughlin Scar Tissue Release (MSTR®) was developed by body worker and Bowen teacher, Alistair McLoughlin. It has been shown to improve the function of the scar and release trauma bound within it, as well as changing the appearance of the scar.

Gentle fingertip pressure is applied to the scar to help free restrictions. No force is involved and the work is always applied within your tolerance.

MSTR® may also be helpful where dense fibrous tissue is present, for example, plantar fasciitis, frozen shoulder, dupuytren’s contracture.

Feelings of disconnection can relieved and a harmonious and wholeness restored. MSTR® is a truly powerful and ‘holistic’ treatment approach, for the mind, body and spirit.


What type of scars are suitable for MSTR®?

  • Appendix, gall bladder

  • Caesarean section

  • Mastectomy

  • Lumpectomy

  • Hysterectomy

  • Joint replacement

  • Burns

  • Trauma wounds

  • Surgical incisions including keyhole surgery

  • Fascial scars

  • Cosmetic surgery

  • Muscle, tendon and ligament tears and sprains

  • Plantar fasciitis

  • Lymph node removal

  • Amputations

  • Frozen shoulder

  • Axillary Web Syndrome

  • Spinal block, epidural

  • Injections, vaccinations


Why is MSTR® recommended?

The implications of scar tissue extend far beyond the area of the scar and the original injury. It is well documented that scars can be associated with low back pain, hip pain, diaphragmatic, jaw and shoulder pain.

Not only can scar tissue be responsible for pain, numbness and tingling, it can also be responsible for part or some of:

  • Altered posture

  • Decreased range of movement

  • Decreased ease of movement

  • Decreased energy flow

  • Obstructed lymphatic flow

  • Numbness

  • Weakened muscles

  • Emotional distress

  • Decreased sensation

  • Referred pain


What to expect at your MSTR® session

Firstly, a detailed history of the scar will be taken. Touch is very gentle over the scar, throughout an MSTR® session you remain in complete control.

There is no minimum amount that should be completed in one session. Treatment can be stopped at any point if you feel you have reached a threshold

The effect of releasing a scar can be very emotionally and physically intense, so it is always done at a level that is acceptable to the person receiving it.

It does not matter how long you have had the scar, working on it with MSTR® can still make changes. Just 1-2 sessions can produce noticeable results. Work can be done weekly.


Benefits of MSTR®

  • Decreased pain levels

  • Change in colour, from white to a healthier pink

  • Lumps, bumps and dips become smoother

  • Increased range of movement

  • Increased sensation

  • Increase blood flow, and therefore increased oxygen

  • Increased lymphatic drainage

  • Release of emotional trauma attached to the scar

  • Loosening of adhesions and restriction


Important Notes

For treatment to be considered, scars must be fully healed and at least 8 weeks old, in some cases it may mean waiting a bit longer to heal completely.

Scars that are years old can still benefit from treatment.

Scars over plates and screws can also be considered for treatment.

It is very important to disclose the full medical history of your scar/medical history/procedure you have undergone.

Cancer treatment – you must liaise with your Oncology team prior to MSTR®.

We cannot treat over an active tumour, infected or contagious wounds or over surgical mesh.

We cannot work with scars from inorganic material such as surgical mesh.

Jemma x

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