Andreo Spina has just come out with what I think is his best video yet. In it, he describes the way scar tissue adheres between layers of soft tissue in the body.
This information is critical to everyone who has a body. Soft tissue scarring is a fact of life. Everyone gets it. Knowing what to do about it and actually doing those things will improve your health, your movement, and your strength.
What are Soft Tissues?
The body has several layers of tissues.
There’s your skin, on the surface.
Under that, there’s the fascia, a contractile connective-tissue. Fascia is that white stuff you see on meat that you get in the supermarket.
Then there’s the muscle, which is attached to bone by tendons.
And the bones are attached to one another with ligaments.
Scar tissue, or “adhesions,” are areas where some part of the soft tissue gets damaged, and doesn’t actually heal. Instead it forms rigid connective-tissue bridges in order to stabilize the tissues and allow for movement.
Typically scar tissues remain when the body isn’t moved. But we’ll get to that in a second.
First, here’s Andreo’s video:
So you can see the importance of breaking up scar tissue. Imagine, as Andreo said, “stretching your leg up with a pair of skin-tight jeans on.”
You can’t do it.
That is, you can’t move well if your soft tissues are full of scar tissue that is preventing them from moving.
And if you can’t move well, your body can’t do several things:
1. It can’t pump blood back to your heart sufficiently. The contraction of muscle is what pumps blood back to your heart. If your muscles can’t (or aren’t made to…different issue) contract fully, your circulation sucks.
2. If that happens, metabolic waste builds up in your tissues…so, number two is You can’t clear metabolic waste produces efficiently. When those build up, disease happens.
3. You can’t feel the joy of movement. If you’re bound up by scar tissue, movement is probably painful. That’s no fun. And that doesn’t help you want to move.
So, what can you do about it? Here are a few things:
1. Get high-quality bodywork.
What do I mean by this? I mean bodywork from someone who understands the video above, and who isn’t just giving you a “relaxation massage.” People who label themselves as offering “sports massage” often have a good understanding of the above. Self-massage works as well. Investigate some techniques and apply them (on YouTube you can search for things like “myofascial release” or “skin sliding” or “break up adhesions” or “self-massage” or any combination of the above).
2. Take hot baths.
Yes, a nice hot bath is relaxing. Throw in some Epsom Salts if you want. The bath can also help to “liquify” the very soft tissues in your body, allowing them to slide again. But that will only happen on one other condition…that you:
3. Stay well hydrated.
This means drinking plenty of high-quality H2O. Not going to go into a lot of detail here. Simply try the pee-test. If your pee is not clear, you’re dehydrated (with exceptions). Also, try to get well-water from reliable local sources rather than drinking chlorinated/treated water from the tap.
4. Move Well, Move Often!!!
This may be the single most important factor. Moving itself, as long as your body gets heated up to a nice sweaty level, will help to resolve soft tissue adhesions. Of course, it won’t usually do everything, but it will sure help. And once those adhesions have been (manually) broken up, there’s nothing better than full-range, hot movement to keep things from sticking together again. That’s one of the reasons Tai Chi is so good for you. Getting down into the pose above (snake creeps down, I think) demands a high level of balance and strength, AND – to the point of this post – it puts the soft tissues of the body in the deepest possible level of stretching and contraction…
Foam rolling can help, but as Andreo points out, it doesn’t really or necessarily slide one layer of soft tissue over the other.
But don’t just sit there reading this! Go do one of those three things (or all of them)! And put them into your regular practice!!!!