This article was written for Grazia Magazine for April 2020 edition.
What is the psychological impact of a scar/scars on a person?
Scars can impact each and every person in a different way. Some of the clients we treat are more effected by the psychological impact of having a scar (related to the trauma of how they got their scaring), than by the physical pain or visible nature of their scar. If an individual has experienced a trauma which has resulted in scaring, then this emotional connection with the event maybe revisited by the person, every time they look at their scar. When the psychological problems continue to affect the individual, then this person may feel a real sense of disconnection from their scar. They may not be able to touch the body part where the scar has formed. In some cases, they may not care or look after the part of the body which holds the scar. To be able to address scaring, we first need to ensure how the induvial is coping with the scar itself. Taking time, holding the space and providing a listening ear are all parts of the treatment we provide, in helping the person re engage back with that body part. Encouraging the individual to take the first step in looking at their scar and acknowledging its existence, has to come first, before any hands-on treatment can commence.
What are the biggest challenges in acceptance?
Once an individual has acknowledged their scaring and has started the journey of talking and sharing about how they got the scar, then hands on gentle treatment can commence. Scar Therapy is a journey for both the client and the practitioner. Muscles have a memory, and can hold pain and stress, so once the individual starts to re connect with their scars through treatment, these memories can surface, be acknowledged, dealt with and be let go of. It’s in this release, that the individual can find rest, peace and above all acceptance with what they have gone through. As this is an individual journey, it takes time to achieve this acceptance, and sometimes it is the last thing to be achieved in treatment.
Do you think that seeing more scars in the media (e.g beauty campaigns) can make a meaningful impact on acceptance?
Social media can play a helpful part in raising awareness of individuals and their scars. It is also a platform to be able to share the persons story of how they have come to accept their own scars. Seeing more images of people with scars and learning about their journey to acceptance, will engage, encourage and educate individuals all over the world. Scars are as unique to the person, as their own fingerprint. It is so important, that we acknowledge the beauty in differences, that they are part of the person, and help support everyone on their journey to recovery. For us scars are beautiful, and its an honour to be able to share in peoples scar recovery journey.
Written by Hannah Poulton. Senior Physiotherapist, Scar Therapist and Acupuncturist. Owner of HLP Therapy, Leicester.