Post Operative Fascial Release

I have been using Fascial Release (connective tissue release) for quite a while to help with releasing tissue that may be pulling the body out of position. I have come to realize that there are many people out there that are encountering adhesions in the Fascia as a direct or indirect result of having had an operation either recently or in the past.
I had heart surgery 3 years ago and for 3-4 weeks I was unable to bring my arms back and open up my chest as my sternum was healing. As a result of the surgery, there was a lot of scar tissue in the chest and upper abdomen area that was adhering structures in that area to each other. A close comparison would be if you were leaning forward with a shirt on. Then you poured glue on the front of your shirt and stayed there until the glue dried. When you tried to stand up, the glue would make it difficult for you to stand up straight. This is almost what the body does during the healing process post surgery. As the Fascia (connective tissue) travels continuously throughout the body in a continuous web, these adhesions around the chest and abdomen area can affect the body’s ability to be upright and flexible and can produce symptoms elsewhere in the body quite often.
Besides the direct effects of surgery, adhesions can also occur when tissues are shortened for an extended period of time. As I wasn’t able to open up my chest or abdomen area for that 3-4 weeks post heart surgery, the tissues remained shortened. There is a law with the tissues of the body called Adaptive Shortening. This law dictates that if a tissue is in a shortened position for long enough, then it will remain in that shortened position.
When I do fascial release treatments, I can look at the body for imbalances that tell me where there are tissues that are pulling the body out of balance and do some range of motion movements of the limbs and body to help determine how the body is being affected by these adhesions. When the body is pulled out of position, it affects joint mobility, affects stability and will strain and weakens muscles causing low grade chronic pain.
When you release fascia, it must be treated almost like stretching leather. It is not so much about the intensity of the stretch but the time that you hold it. The longer the better. Often the adhesions won’t begin to release for 1 to 2 minutes and the longer they are held in the stretched position, the most likely they will remain. The time spent holding the stretch, the Ground Substance or basic part that makes up Fascia will reorganize itself to that stretched position which is why the fascia will not return to it’s shortened position.

Magnesium and Cellular Equilibrium

I’ve always been a big fan of the benefits of Epsom Salts (Magnesium Sulphate) and the importance of Magnesium for our cells.

Wikipedia does a good job at summarizing the importance of Magnesium at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnesium_in_biology

As a Physical Therapist, I was interested in it from the stand point of it’s effect on the muscles. The way that muscles contract is that they bring calcium into the cell allowing the muscle to contract. The job of Magnesium is to pull the calcium out of the cell, allowing the muscle to relax and recover. Without sufficient Magnesium in the area, the muscles will remain in a contracted state. The irony with tight muscles is that they tend to not receive much oxygenated blood (with dietary Magnesium) very well and Magnesium travelling transdermally may be a kind of back door way to get to muscle tissue. ¬†People ask me if dietary Magnesium is sufficient. I believe that good food is helpful but supplements may not absorb so well.

The additional benefits of Magnesium can also serve Nervous System cells, cardiac and smooth muscle cells like of the Digestive system and of the arteries. There is strong proof of the benefits of Magnesium for Arrhythmia, lowering blood pressure by reducing contraction of blood vessels and improvement of contraction of the large and small intestines as it moves food through our system. The digestive system works best with enzyme release and food movement when the body is in relaxation state as well.

It may also be beneficial for the effects of the Nervous System over-firing and things like panic attacks, chronic stress, insomnia and even Fibromyalgia.

I’m always a believer though that it is never just one thing ie: Have an epsom salt bath and everything’s ok. Lifestyle change, habit changes and other things also need to be present for a healthy body to operate. I also believe that if it doesn’t hurt to try, then it’s worth doing.

Check with your doctor if you have concerns. They may not back it up, but it it’s okay to try, then give it a shot for sure. I generally have 1 or 2 Epsom Salt baths per week with 2 cups of salts per bath for 15 minutes with the water at comfortable temperature.