Fascia, Caesareans and Other Abdominal Surgery

Talking to many of the ladies, both students and teachers, at Shambhala Studios, it would seem that I am not alone in having had abdominal surgery in the form of a caesarean.

For many of us, it was extremely inconvenient at the time but, once the scar had healed, we thought no more about it.

Until a decade or so later, when the extent of the unseen damage began to make itself known.

When I saw my osteopath about a pain in my shoulder and postural problem, he said that he could probably link all my symptoms back to my two caesarean scars.

Obviously, when you have surgery, they have to cut through the various layers of flesh and muscle and then stitch you back up again. The problem is that encasing the body beneath the skin is something called fascia. It’s the interconnective tissue that holds everything together. If you look at a piece of steak, it’s that white stretchy stuff that often dissects the best cuts and which most people leave as being ‘fat’.

This elastic tissue connects all sorts of different parts of the body to each other in ways that it is very difficult to understand unless you have actually worked with it on cadavers and, once its uniform cohesion has been damaged, it seeks to regain it by sticking itself back together.

However, the surgical restitching may mean that it is now closer to a less than perfect joining area, causing puckering and tethering which can impact upon other, seemingly unconnected, parts of the body.

I was first introduced to the concept by a friend in London who is a masseur and had attended a couple of courses where they learned about the muscular structure of the body by dissecting it from bodies that had been generously donated for scientific research. He revealed that one of the most effective and rewarding yoga stretches is ? because the thigh pulling across the body causes a pull on the fascia under the skull which massages the area of the brain that makes us feel good.

On both his visits to Shambhala Studios, Gary Carter also mentioned that he had taken part in such work and it formed the underlying basis of his understanding of anatomy, leading to many of the theories and asana adaptations that he builds into his own practice.

Then Sandy Tubby, my physiotherapist also started to talk about how we should massage our caesarean and other surgical scars to keep the broken fascia from adhering to areas of the body that it shouldn’t and causing problems.

Running my fingers along my own scar, it felt relatively flat for the most part but there was definitely an uncomfortable area near my left hip – a discomfort which stretched down into my groin and the top of my thigh.

It was this which was pulling my shoulder forward and rotating my left hip up and back causing a sort of twisting effect.

By massaging the area thoroughly and stretching out the underlying connective tissue, she was able to effect an immediate improvement in my ability to stand up.

Later, I was talking to Jan Chant, one of the yoga teachers and she explained that she had successfully flattened out her own caesarean scar through repeated performance of sphinx and cobra postures which had effectively rubbed away any build up of excess fascia behind the wound.

So, if you have a postural problem that doesn’t seem to be going away and you also have an abdominal surgical scar, you might want to investigate if there is a connection.

For more about Fascial stretching.

Shambhala Studios have two masseurs – Alison Bartram and Nichola Wright.

Comments are closed.