Recently, my baby and I attended a scar tissue remediation portion of a bodywork workshop, where I offered my 7 and a half week old cesarean scar for their training. I’m so glad I attended. Find details of the workshop and its teachers HERE.
I encountered this opportunity via the incredible Pamela Samuelson of EmbodyworkLA. I have known Pamela since we were both bodyworkers at the same spa 15 years ago, her light is Divine and her body/energy work sublime. These would be ideal hands for this work. Pam posted on social media seeking someone who needed work on breast scarring, I offered my cesarean scar. As I’m still exclusively breastfeeding on request so I also needed to bring the baby, she assured there would be many loving and helpful arms to assist. And so, healing via community care was agreed.
Why do bodywork on scars? Scar tissue can be invasive in multitudes of ways. I have nerve pain in areas with varied frequency/infrequency. When I told my OBGYN about my issues she recommended massage. Massage can help to break apart and minimize scar tissue, stimulating circulation and healing in the areas effected. My language is touch, and in touching my own body, I have learned that the sides of my incision have lumpy scar tissue and that is congruous with where I feel nerve pain. My muscle and tissue above and below the incision scar have a different density than before, in part because of scar tissue. Energetically and in my alignment, I feel the separation between my top and bottom body and my right and left body. The change in my circulation has made my legs notably twitchy at times.
I had learning to do about scar care and Pamela’s invitation was Divine.
But then… the baby was having a fussy day after a fussy night, where sleep was sparse. The baby fussed at home, then slept during the drive to the workshop. I’d prepared by putting on her boba wrap so I could remove her from the car seat and pop her in to carry on my body easily. Ha! Best laid plans… we arrived…ish… my car wanted me to go up a dirt hill, my phone had no reception, a house with the right address was directly across from where I parked but it was possibly on the wrong street. I put the baby in the wrap, grabbed the diaper bag and decided to go on foot. Baby screamed, struggling against the wrap she usually loves. I stepped out to pound pavement and the cold accosted us both. Her cry grew louder. I began to regret my decision and second guess that I’d committed to something more than I/we could handle.
Quickly, I reset.
A breath. A decision. Into the backseat for breastfeeding and soothing before going any further. The cry abated, tranquility settled in, and as we sat in the warm car cocoon Pam exited the house directly across my car. I opened my door and she told me to take my time where I was and the space was ready for me. I was also ready, as terribly unready as I felt was exactly the perfect amount of ready.
Soon, I was at the door and welcomed by Mo, we went upstairs to an expansive room with 8 massage tables set out. We were introduced and lovingly welcomed. People with grounded, kind and calm energy assured me that they would look forward to holding Tabitha while I received bodywork.
Before the work started, Tabitha was cradled in loving arms that were not mine and I went to the bathroom, ate something and had a breath. That was the beginning of the gift that was a shift from my attention and all my energy being devoted to my other, to my attention being able to find space to tend – and even just hear – my own needs. Then I gathered up my girl again, changed her and put her to my breast to have one more feed so she would nap while I was on the table receiving bodywork.
The room gathered together around the couch while I nursed. Mo invited introductions of those of us who had just joined in offering our various scars and stories for work, learning, and healing. We were four different surgeries, different scars, healed for different lengths of time and with unique emotional relationships attached to the reason for the scar. There was a top surgery, a cancerous lymph removal, a double mastectomy with expanders and reconstruction, and my cesarean. My scar was the newest; others were two, three, and four years old. The room was full of good listeners with attentive questions.
We moved to the table for the work. The woman who held my baby was loving and eager to hold Tabitha, and Tabitha was so comfortable. When I got on the table I found panic rising, anxiety as I searched for my baby, but they’d found a location near me and in my line of sight and I was comforted to see their comfort. Throughout the entirety of my bodywork experience I would look over to see them in concert and it settled me, so that over time I released into my separate experience more and more, knowing how safe my baby was. I dropped into my body, where I’d not connected completely for a long time. What a gift. They may not have known that this was part of the essential work for me, maybe they did, it surely was.
We started with castor oil packing. I will be doing this for myself, as it felt truly delicious and remarkably transforming. Castor oil was gently massaged into the scar, a towel covered the area, a hot water bottle on top of that, and another towel and blankets. The feeling was comforting. Castor oil is said to decrease inflammation, to pull out toxins and break apart scar tissue. Fair warning: castor oil will make your towels nasty, so designate something just for this or use saran wrap to protect your linen if you decide to do this work on yourself.
The scar work was performed by many hands for a considerable length of time. Practitioners rotated around the room, giving to each body offered. Touch on me was instructed to be light because the scar was so new. Before anyone touched my body they introduced themselves by name and asked permission to touch me. The requests for consent were a really comforting element to the practice and also shockingly unnerved me. That was an elucidating education, I should not be so jarred by being asked permission to be touched. More on that another day… I am sure.
I highly suggest everyone experience non-erotic consensual touch. There is a special kind of connection there.
The scar was rubbed with hands, across the line/incision of the scar and up and down (cross-fiber) over it as well. The areas around the scar were also rubbed, gentle strokes and little circles. The pathways for lymph and blood circulation were stimulated and opened. At one point a practitioner rubbed my feet, one rubbed my neck and shoulders, and one rubbed my scar area. I was encouraged to breathe. That was wise. I did circular breathing, inhaling a bulb of light up my cervix/root, traveling thru my vessel until it reached my crown and then exhaling breath and light around my body. If you read my blogs or have received my body/energywork, you know I’m a fan of this breathing practice. Circular breathing is a great way to clear and cleanse your chakras. The breathing helped to solidify a re-connection of my separated body; pairing with the body work in an open channel flow from head to toe.
My scar felt tangibly different when the work stopped, the incision line scar was not so hard or lumpy, the tissue underneath and around was not so dense, and my improved circulation was palpable. The color changed and the feeling of the entire area was softer, more malleable and aligned too. Movement post-work was far more comfortable and nerve pains less frequent. We had taken 100 steps in the right direction.
All was not rectified on this table. Right now my body is devoted to my baby’s body. I’m a machine for her food and comfort. I have little time to figure out my vessel, and in finding that time I found a body transformed. I was swept with the overwhelmingly huge nature of the all encompassing changes. I was struck by the potency of my pains and imbalance, a changed vessel from all I’ve ever known. I will see Pamela for personal work to continue this healing path, which needs hands beyond only my own to truly tend and mend.
Recently, another new mom said something about getting her old body back. I don’t want that. Screw that. I have been transformed. I’ve no desire to go back to where I was because I am wonderfully, gratefully, purposefully somewhere new. My body is changed, as is all of me, as I had hoped it would be. What will it look like? I don’t know. I do seek balance, center, clarity, alignment, fitness, strength and wellness as ever before. How long will it take to feel balance and ownership again? I don’t know. Time. It will take time. The time it needs. That is okay. I am okay. In fact, I am safe and loved, and this experience affirmed that.
There is now a path of self-care for me. Perhaps I can make time for a castor pack once a week, certainly I can give a couple minutes in shower and after to do scar massage. In the days since the work I have enjoyed some stretch and strengthening times. I was not sore but sensitive post-work. I feel a tangible and visible difference that is an improvement in my comfort. I have been reminded of what a difference it makes to connect with oneself for even an hour and I will work to devote time to that.
As a manifesting experience this was ideal. Mod Med Woman is meant for experiences such as this, attending workshops/healing locales/rituals and sharing these ways with you. This is why I started this blog and it is so good to be incorporating its evolution with my own. If you are a practitioner and would like to invite me to learn with you, please do not hesitate to reach out.
This experience was entirely positive and left me stronger. Every person who offered their scar felt it change, and themselves along with it. We discussed our tangible and emotional changes post-work, every experience was positive and profound.
Be thoughtful, listen to your body as you touch it, reach out for helpful hands of others who are skilled in these ways if your body says it needs more than you can give. There are a lot of potent feeling attached to our scars, make space for the feels. Touch your scar gently, touch the area around your scar, give it all love. Loving touch heals in so many ways and you deserve that.
“Scars. A sign that you had been hurt. A sign that you had healed.”
** I am not a doctor, participation in anything mentioned here is of your own discretion.