Healing C-Section Adhesions – GuaSha Massage

We are very excited  to have a special guest writing the post today on the topic healing c-section adhesions. Dr. Joe Linza is a Chiropractic Physician and a Fellow of the International Academy of Medical Acupuncture. I met Dr. Linza, his lovely wife, and some members of his staff at an event on Ft. Campbell.  We were sharing the same table.  We began discussing his services, and I asked about massage to break -up adhesions from c-section.  After supporting a client with severe adhesions from previous c-sections, I had embarked on a mission to learn about ways to help with this problem before labor begins. Through research, I learned of the Graston/Gua Sha Massage.  Dr. Linza’s office offers this massage technique. The Gua Sha technique is especially helpful for those who have established adhesions, but can also be performed on recent c-section scars.  Be sure to discuss with your care provider prior to beginning any treatment.  For best and safest treatment, I would highly recommend seeing a professional who is trained in these procedures once you have been cleared by your care provider.  Here is a video demonstrating massage for a recent c-section scar. This is not to be considered medical advice.  Always discuss with your care provider.  Without further ado, here is Dr. Linza’s article to which I added the title.  Healing C-Section Adhesions – Gua Sha Massage By Dr. Joe Linza, D.C., FIAMA Funny name, amazing results. If you suffer from chronic pain, muscle tightness, restricted motion due to scarring, headache, muscle ache, pulled or torn muscle, inflammation, and the list goes on, this soft tissue technique may be just what you need. (Gua=scrape/rub, Sha=Bruise/petechiae) is an East Asian Healing Technique, commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Gua Sha, which has been in use for over 2000 years, can be found in most Asian countries along with many Western countries that have an Asian immigrant population. Using handheld tools, commonly made out of jade, bone, horn, ceramic, or metal, the practitioner scrapes the tool over lubricated skin. This technique creates transitory therapeutic petechia (a reddening of the treated area) bringing healthy blood and nutrients to the area, breaking down scar and muscular adhesions, reducing pain and promoting healing. This technique is known by several names; coining, spooning, or scraping. The Western term for this type of treatment, Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM), also has several names with Graston or Graston Technique being the most well known. Gua Sha is a medical technique and should only be performed in a licensed practice, by a licensed medical professional such as an Acupuncturist, Chiropractor, MD/DO, RN, Massage Therapist, or Physical Therapist. Gua Sha has been used to treat an array of conditions to include but not limited to: back, neck, knee, and shoulder pain, as well as acute and chronic illnesses such as, fever, chills, cough, wheezing, nausea, vomiting, asthma, bronchitis, cold, flu, fibromyalgia, sprain, strain, muscle spasm, scars, muscle adhesion, breast dissension/ mastitis. This technique is essentially scraping restrictions in the skin, bringing blood and healing nutrients to the skin surface. Where to scrape for muscular issues or scarring is obvious, for other ailments it is decided by those particular parts of the body associated with different organs or processes. Gua Sha can be used to break down the adhesions (scarring), and fascial restrictions that form from both unintentional trauma such as an accident, or intentional such as a surgical scar e.g., C-section. Scar tissue is less flexible than normal tissue, and can cause restricted motion in that area. Scraping allows the body to reinitiate the first stage of healing, providing better motion and less sensitivity in and around the scar. This is of particular importance for mothers who have had cesarian birth. C-section scars can often cause adhesions between tissues that are not normally joined such as the colon, uterus, ovaries, bladder. This type of scarring may also lead to restricted movement of the sacrum, and the iliacus and psoas muscle groups causing chronic low back pain. Often the C-section scar is overlooked by medical professionals as the cause of postpartum pain or other symptoms. When the body is injured it sends blood, specifically the healing substances found in white blood cells, to the wounded area to begin laying down new collagen, tissues, and repairing the injury. Modern research shows Gua Sha produces an anti-inflammatory and immune protection that lasts for several days, along with a 200%-400% increase in micro perfusion(surface circulation of blood). Practitioners believe that Gua Sha stimulates blood flow and healing while removing unhealthy elements from the treated area. How to perform the technique: A lubricating medium such as coco butter, massage oil, coconut oil, etc. is applied to the area for treatment. A smooth edge instrument is used to scrape the skin in long or short strokes. Direction of the stroke is not as important when working on scar tissue. The scar is targeted from all angles to maximize adhesion breakdown, in addition to the surrounding tissue. This stroking motion creates the raised redness (petechiae), or sometimes bruising (ecchymosis), which will usually fade in 2-4 days. Gua Sha may be somewhat painful, and can be mildly sore to the touch, but should not exceed 5/10 on the pain scale. The treatment may look painful/frightful, with the description sounding just as bad, but it is more than tolerable and the results are absolutely worth it. When should it not be performed? The ultimate decision will be made with your medical provider, but the following conditions are usually avoided: broken skin/ wounds, sunburn, bruise, boils, skin tags, infected areas, bleeding disorders, diabetics, persons on anticoagulation medication, recent fractures, recent surgery, varicose veins, phlebitis, on weak or feeble patients. Gua Sha should not be performed during the 1st trimester of pregnancy (just as any other soft tissue technique or mobilization), nor should it be used on or over a pregnant stomach. An existing C-section scar can be addressed during the 2nd and 3rd trimester, and with new scars, work begins at six to eight weeks postpartum. Thank you, Dr. Linza for this informative article.  We hope you find it helpful.                                 Dr. Linza is located in Clarksville TN, and can be reached for treatment at:                             Clarksville Chiropractic Center, (931)647-3692.