Massage & Bodywork

JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2021

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80 m a s s a g e & b o d y wo r k j a n u a r y/ fe b r u a r y 2 0 2 1 Recently, there was a beautiful article on scar tissue in Massage & Bodywork ( July/August 2020, page 52) titled "Scar Tissue: Not Breakable, But Changeable" by Catherine Ryan. In it, Ryan explored the deep iceberg that lives underneath the scars we see. She unraveled the collagen and elastin that define how the fascia operates, and she pondered the "tensile strength of steel" of the connective tissue that has us wondering whether we really can do anything. In that same issue, Til Luchau opened his doors to let us listen in (and by listen, I mean read the transcript) on a meaningful conversation he had with Robert Schleip, PhD. These two leaders in the field of Rolfing intricately understand fascia. Their discussion about what happens to the fascial network in relation to the nervous system, and how fascia responds differently under anesthesia, shed some light on how much of our "life energy" is actually in our physical tissues. We so often approach this topic empirically, but the data and findings leave us baffled. Can we really influence how connective tissue acts? Why is it that when you relieve tissues of the nervous system component (under anesthesia) they act differently? The science is amazing and I, alongside Ryan, Luchau, and Schleip, am obsessed with it. I am fascinated with the similarities of how our physical tissues operate with the workings of our inner, more emotional selves. The idea of tissues having anthropomorphic qualities—like muscles working together as a group of friends might; with all the love and drama of a group of teenagers, or the thought that one muscle takes over the responsibilities for another; with all the control issues of a corporate manager with OCD—seems to offer a different perspective on some of these seemingly unanswerable questions. Scars, as Ryan's article points out—and as Darren Buford echoed in his editor's note in the same issue—are "cool as cucumbers" on the surface but often hide the emotional component that comes with the other facets of life. This concept resonates deeply for me. Scar tissue extends beyond what we see and feel. Its tendrils creep into every layer of who we are; the physical tissues that are rooted like the Kennedy family tree, but also the mental, emotional, and spiritual layers that aren't as easily traceable. There is no 23andMe app for that. When connective tissue binds to create a scar, it is essentially remodeling us—or putting us back together after something has broken. Once it has remodeled, there is a full-fledged, all-hands-on-deck, group effort to get The Anthropomorphic Connection Physical and Psychological Benefits of Connective Tissue BY ALLISON DENNEY technique | THE REBEL MT

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