The past nineteen months have been challenging on so many levels for human beings around the world. The Pandemic is responsible for unleashing a lot of feelings from parents, elders, single folks, youth, and caregivers. For me, 2020 was also a year of raising a new baby during the early days of a global pandemic (while homeschooling a kindergartener) and adjusting to a new lifestyle with two kids at home. On top of worrying about what this scary virus meant for adults and kids alike, I was also worried about forgetting everything that comes with having a baby: how to take care of him, how to respond to his needs, how to figure out what he’s feeling, how much to feed him, and how to let myself recover from a c-section when all I wanted to do was move… but it turns out that:
1) every baby is different,
2) recovery is extremely important, and
2) parents just figure it out, over and over again. Human beings are smart, intuitive, adaptive and resilient.
Despite all the challenges faced this year, I did discover something to make my mama-life much easier: I discovered milk-duct therapy and c-section scar release therapy at Yoga Mamas in Toronto. I had never heard of these innovative release sessions while in the postpartum period after my firstborn, and am always excited to try something new within the wellness sector to release pain and/or tension. It turns out that Yoga Mamas is the only clinic in Ontario specializing in c-section scar release therapy, so I feel lucky to have stumbled upon the news when they launched! New mamas have it hard enough, so having options like these treatments, among other innovative therapies offered at Yoga Mamas, help us cope and get healthy so we can focus on being the best mamas we can be.
I wanted to share my experience about my c-section scar therapy in today’s blog post because I think all women who experience the major surgery should consider treatment afterwards.
I decided to try out c-section scar therapy not because my scar was hurting me, but because it had been my second c -section and I was worried about scar tissue build-up. And, despite the impeccable job my OBGYN did on my incision, I had a bit of numbness on the right side. I reached out to Jamie Kalynuik, Yoga Mamas Clinic Founder, and shortly thereafter I started my sessions with Ellie Hong, a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist. I only needed two sessions, and the release I felt after my first session alone was palpable.
Ellie was hands-on, friendly and welcoming. She explained how we would work on releasing the tension, pain and tissue behind the scar. In addition to a traditional physiotherapy assessment and treatment, Ellie uses a set of two devices called the Dolphin. The Dolphin is a non-invasive, painless procedure that “bounces” a current between the two Dolphin devices. This creates an electrical “sewing needle” effect throughout the scar, and the entire length of the scar is treated during this procedure. After my first session with the Dolphin, I felt an immediate release I didn’t know I needed. What I had initially thought were tiny, permanent knotted muscles or scar tissue underneath my point of incision, have now completely loosened and vanished. It was so strange to touch my lower abdomen and not feel a tightness I hadn’t known I had been holding on to. I was so happy I could cry.
The next appointment was just as successful. Ellie used the Dolphin on my scar once again, and the release was immediate. Ellie also gave me some great suggestions on how to work on building up my lower abs again, as a many parts of my body were overcompensating for the weakness caused by the surgery.
I am not the expert in this field, however, I am someone who believes in therapy and trying different methods to improve my health, and was open to this novel treatment. I am a patient and I’m forever a student. So, to help provide education for all c-section mama’s out there, I wanted to ask Ellie some questions directly about the treatment in hopes that it will give you some technical insight into the therapy.
Kelly: Ellie, you made me feel so comfortable and at home as soon as I arrived at Yoga Mamas, so I have to thank you again for that. We talked about my scar and the impact it has had on my body. What areas do you notice are most impacted from c-sections that women may not realize?
Ellie: I am glad you felt comfortable and at home!
A lot of women don’t realize c-sections can cause fascial adhesions, which can produce body-wide chronic pains, most notably in the low back and shoulder. It is not uncommon after a Dolphin Neurostim session, women will report an improvement in their back or shoulder symptoms as well! Furthermore, c-sections scars cause sympathetic up regulation (our fight and flight system) and hold emotional trauma, which is why some women I see have a difficult time even touching their scar. Releasing the c-section scar can help with calming your nervous system down and balancing out your emotions.
K: What are the techniques you use to release the scar? Above, I talk a bit about how the Dolphin works, but as the professional, feel free to add any other insights around this amazing device!
Ellie: I start by placing one unit at the acupuncture point SP (Spleen) 6 which is 4 fingers above the medial ankle bone just behind the tibia bone, and the other unit above the scar. I repeat this for the other leg. This helps reconnect the scar electrically with the lower half of the body and helps improve lower lymphatic and circulatory movement. Then, by placing one unit above the scar and one unit below the scar, I “sweep” along the entire length of the scar three times. I end the treatment with “plugging both ends of the scar” by placing one unit at one end of the scar and the second unit at the other end.
K: Lastly, what is something you would say to a mom that was debating trying c-section Dolphin Neurostim scar therapy?
Ellie: I would say you have nothing to lose! Dolphin Neurostim is a safe, effective alternative to manual c-section scar release therapy, and delivers great results! A lot of mom’s I speak to have a difficult time releasing the scar themselves, so this is a faster, and great alternative!
Thanks to Ellie, Jamie and the amazing services provided at Yoga Mamas, I no longer have a tightness underneath my scar. I hadn’t even realized the physical and emotional impact it was having on me until my scar was released. The numbness on the right side of my incision line is now gone, and I have been working to improve my ab strength.
I’m not an influencer, I’m not a physiotherapist: I’m simply a mama who found something that helped and wanted to spread the word. We need to talk about these therapies more- and scream it from the rooftops for all mamas to hear!