Cross Fiber Friction Massage

23 Jan

Yesterday I had a long and very enlightening discussion with an experienced massage therapist. We talked about the plastic wrap sensation I have in my back still. He explained to me that after surgery sometimes adhesions form in the connective of fascia tissue.

An adhesion is a band of scar tissue that binds two parts of your tissue together. They should remain separate. Adhesions may appear as thin sheets of tissue similar to plastic wrap or as thick fibrous bands. The tissue develops when the body’s repair mechanisms respond to any tissue disturbance, such as surgery, infection, trauma, or radiation.

The massage therapist explained that he had dealt with adhesions before and they appear as described above: cable-like or thin sheets like mine. He talked about a deep tissue massage technique that is used with great success. it is called cross fiber friction massage.

In this technique the fascia, a strong connective tissue which performs a number of functions, including enveloping and isolating the muscles of the body, providing structural support and protection is manipulated in order to break up the adhesions.

Cross-fiber friction involves doing transverse movements to the connective tissues, like tendons and ligaments, in order to loosen up their fibers.This can be performed by opposing thumbs or the heal of the hand, especially on the iliotibial band, a band of muscle in the thigh.

So basically a trained massage therapist uses deep tissue massage going across the grain of the adhesions in order to break them up. This takes quite a few sessions. According to an article in Massage and Bodyworks Magazine, the therapist should keep your pain level at around a 6 on the 1-10 pain scale for 20-30 minutes per session.

The therapist I spoke to explained that yes, it IS uncomfortable and there is a great deal of deep breathing involved in a session. But once the adhesions are broken down it is easier for your body to heal. You will have better range of motion and, best of all, no more plastic wrap feeling!

Because the therapist I spoke to is so far away, I’m going to look into finding someone close by who has the experience to handle this. But before I go, I’m going to call Dr. Elliott’s office and talk to his nurse, Patti. I want a medical opinion on this before I go and do something that may cause me more harm than good.

As usual, I’ll let you all know how it goes.


2 responses to “Cross Fiber Friction Massage

  1. Lisa@LasVegasMassage

    June 2, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    I have an existing client that had her second knee surgery. She had physical therapy and had to do exercises during her rehabilitation. One of the things that the physical therapist did is to use a tool to break up the adhesions. The client had me do was cross-friction and transverse strokes to help break up the scar tissue. Its been almost a year and there is so much improvement.

    • FledgelingSkeptic

      June 3, 2010 at 12:06 pm

      Lisa, I can see that you’re a new reader to Boobcast. Welcome! Thank you for sharing your client’s story. That’s great that she’s doing so well.

      After my latissimus flap breast reconstruction surgery, which was not covered by insurance, I was not given a physical therapy protocol or rehabilitation. That would have required a great deal of extra money out of pocket that we simply could not afford. My surgeon and his nurse both assured me that the scar tissue would relax over time and it has. Please keep in mind that a knee is, quite obviously, very different from a back.

      My surgeon and his people were correct. It has been 13 and 1/2 months since my lat flap reconstruction. The scar tissue has relaxed and most of the sensation in my back has returned. Matter of fact, I will be writing a post about that once I’m a little further along in my healing for my recent nipple reconstruction.

      One small note: Unless the scar tissue is in the abdomen causing the abdominal wall to grow onto the intestinal tract, the scar tissue are not adhesions.That was drilled into my skull repeatedly by the staff of my surgeon’s office as well as my surgeon.

      If you would like to know more about my story, please start at the beginning of the Oct. 2007 archives.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: