A scar is a mark left on the skin that results from the body's healing process after a wound – caused by an accident, surgery or even acne - has healed. Even though it is common in many adults, it can damage people's self-esteem, as well as causing a lot of pain and discomfort.

Sarah Patstone is a British holistic therapist working in Silves, Portugal, where she qualified two years ago as a McLoughlin Scar Tissue Release (MSTR) practitioner – the first one in the Algarve.

It was in 2008 that Alastair McLoughlin - whose interest in the effects of scars goes back 30 years ago - started to develop a scar treatment protocol. “The technique was refined enough that by 2011 it was thought as part of the many bodywork techniques he developed, international teaching began in 2018 when it became known as McLoughlin Scar Release or MSTR”, Sarah explained.

How does it work?

According to Sarah Patstone: “MSTR is applied using gentle pressure moves with fingertips. These purposeful and focused moves help to gently free the restrictions in the scar tissue. No force is involved in any way and there is no use of chemicals, oils or lotions”.

After eight weeks from the surgery that caused the scar, patients can start to carry out MSTR treatments. Indeed, “the effects of post-surgical scars on the human body cannot be underestimated”.

“The body forms scar tissue as a natural response to trauma when the skin is lacerated or punctured either by accident or surgery. Collagen being laid down during the repair process results in a thickened, fibrous mass which can impede proper circulation of blood, congests lymph flow, and can even impact on range of motion”, she said. “Additionally, the severing of delicate nerve tissue often results in dysthesia of not only the scar but the adjacent, surrounding tissue. As the scar is fibrous and non-elastic it will have a dragging and pulling effect on bio-mechanical function of all physiological systems particularly the fascial membrane covering muscles, organs and glands”.

MSTR v Bowen Therapy

Although MSTR can sometimes be mixed up with Bowen therapy, it is a different method. “The scar tissue does not come from Bowen therapy. However, it seems that many Bowen therapists are applying this technique because they can easily add it to what they already do. In fact, Bowen therapy works holistically throughout the body and the scar tissue release work is done specifically around the scar.”

In short, the MSTR is similar to Bowen therapy, but it is more specific. In fact, “this scar work is not massage, deep friction work, fascial release or Bowen. It is a unique method that focuses solely on scar tissue and works with the collagen fibres in the skin”, she said.

Health Benefits

According to her: “MSTR is a gentle, deeply effective and natural way of working on scar tissues. It can help the scar and surrounding areas quickly return to a more normal state”. Also, it reduces the way it looks like - it can make it less visible, as well as ending with tingling.

The benefits are not just physical, in addition to relieving pain and discomfort and reducing the size or colour of scars, there are great emotional releases from these scars that are usually associated with wounds that can result from various traumatic events such as war, accidents, and surgeries, among others.

Also, it's never too late. “I’ve worked with a 60 year old lady who had a cesarean section at her twenties and we worked on her scar last summer and her emotional release was amazing”, Sarah, who also does home visits, told The Portugal News.

For further information, please email Sarah by bowenbysarah@gmail.com or call 965611416.