Acupuncture and scar tissue:
What is scar tissue?
Generally, scar tissue is an unorganized replacement filler tissue that holds together a region of damage or injury. It is a fibrous cellular form of connective tissue that, if on the surface, usually has no hair, sweat glands and occasionally no nerves. Sometimes the nerve endings are left open and can cause chronic pain, including Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) or Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). Different types of scarring, depending on the type of tissue and injury have different needs and act differently, in fact it is not very functional at all.
Usually, scar tissue has very poor blood circulation compared to the healthy tissue around it and that makes it more susceptible to other ‘trophic’ issues later on. Scar tissue is generally stiffer, and of different color and texture than the surrounding normal tissue.
The reason I speak of scar tissue and not skin itself is because scar can happen inside too. Around your intestines, in the lung, inside nerves, joints, muscles, or anywhere else.
Scar tissue will never be the same as the healthy ‘original’ tissue.
How do you get scar tissue?
Sometimes this is obvious; a surgery, break, tear, cut, puncture, burn, scrape… all of those. However, not commonly known is the buildup of adhesions from chronic misalignment, misuse, inflammation. This can be from stress of chronic misuse or poor circulation and movement.
What does scar tissue do?
Scar tissue is nonfunctional fibrous connective tissue, think of Duct Tape that you would use to patch a hole in a coat. It hampers the function is decreased and it is a non-permanent repair that can become permanent if we do not completely heal. Much scar tissue can never become normal tissue. The damage has been done.
Scar tissue reduces function of the normal tissue
Scar tissue reduces the blood flow which brings oxygen and nutrients as well as brings away waste.
Scar tissue reduces lymph flow which helps with clean-up and repair.
Scar tissue reduces all fluid flow and energy flow.
Scars that cross meridians or are along meridians tend to have more pain.
Scar tissue slows or disrupts the natural flow of your vital energy (Chi) that nourishes the tissues and keeps them ‘vital’
Scars are more sensitive to barometric changes like when the weather turns bad and the area will ache.
How acupuncture can help;
Acupuncture or dry needling can increase the blood flow, Chi flow, lymph flow and improve the range of motion as well as the normal function.
How? As the needles are placed then removed they start a new injury that attracts all the factors of healing. Histamines to promote attraction of white blood cells, Heparin to increase and change the fluid flow and therefore the pH (acidity and alkalinity) of the area.
We promote more consciousness in that area of scar tissue which can enhance the healing and adaptation process. It is important to have our minds work with the natural healing so that we become more in-tune and ‘whole’. Medications and immobility stop that process and the brain gradually just accepts the pain and dysfunction as the normal. Probably the worst part is the acupuncture result of later ache from those areas that were ‘asleep’ and not working slowly coming back.
We should not lose sight of the goal and continue with the treatment as best we can. Movement and motion is the life to these areas including the emotional movement.
Acupuncture can also assist in getting the mind clear of the baggage around the injury, the anger and frustration can develop in to hope, wholeness, acceptance, adaptability, and success.
But wait, emotion? How can scars make a difference with emotions?
There are a few ways, first, the scar may be on a meridian, and all meridians have an emotional component that should be contemplated in the healing process to work toward wholeness.
Occasionally, some people feel these emotions rise up during a treatment. This is not only a normal thing, but a great thing to help you ‘get through’.
What about ‘emotional scars’?
That is a different type of scar, yet no less problematic. In fact, most times worse because they cannot be seen nor felt by any other hand. They are secret scars. Those can be helped with the right type of acupuncture, but that is only one step in a long journey. But that is for another time.
So, for a scar. Get some acupuncture. Ask about ‘surrounding the dragon’ a technique to get the Chi energy though that tissue. It reduces stagnation, heat and energy build up etc. Acupuncture can help you find relief as a part of a plan to get that scar to work with you instead of against you.