Looking at the Obvious Part 4: Healing After C-Section

The Stuck Liver Qi massage/rolfing-like technique found elsewhere on this site, (and as an integral part of the What Dads Can Do packages) and with YouTube footage is very liberating and a great homework adjunct to all of this work.

Scar Bridging

Over thirty year ago as an acupuncture student, I was told ‘scar bridging’ was of value. It was suggested that a shallow needle be inserted at each end of a scar to help the qi move through.

When we practiced on each other, a little forceps mark from my own birth, over an eyebrow was needled.  This caused temporary blindness in the eye it was above for about ten minutes, and when the vision cleared, it was better than before.  I took this as a sign that this acupuncture was very useful, and thus in practice started going through all my patients’ bodies clearing them of past blockages, as a consequence.

Most will have heard a variation on this theme, and many, like me will have probably played with this concept, and like me may have wondered why some ‘work’ better than others, and thus have tinkered further.   The energy being disordered is easy to check out – running the back of a needle across a scar – does it feel the same to them as the skin elsewhere?  Often the entire area above and below the scar is also ‘odd’ and you may have to move away further for it to normalise.

If the scar is itself a problem, and they refuse treatment on it, sometimes I send people away with a jar of comfrey ointment to rub/massage/pinch in and around the area for a few weeks prior to needling.  This is also the post needling homework for all who have been needled.  When I was taught Western herbs, comfrey was said to work on three levels – the bone, the skin (to normalize) and the aura – through healing ‘holes’ in it.  It seems to do a better job than anything else I have trialled.

Dr van Buren taught that any abdominal or thoracic scars needed St 30 inserted monthly for two years to help the Chong Mai reconnect all that they have caused.  As the Chong is the de-obstructing meridian – main highway, as well as the Sea of Blood, I start by pressing all versions (not where a text would specifically say it was) of the points Sp 4, Gb 41 and Ki 8 to see where the blockages are also.   Dai is obvious as it controls the entire area traversed by the scar and the previously pregnant uterus, and Yin Qiao is indicated with masses in the abdomen/uterus.

As moxa has been such a powerful tool in my practice, and as I have over the past 27 years taught extensively the Dr van Buren ‘take’ on Eight Extras, I have branched into using moxa on the scar and surrounding area, extensively needling the actual scar, ear points, using Xi Cleft points, Master points of the affected meridian, and then have undone stuck local manifestations, all to enhance flow through areas that have been traumatized.

This assists the return to a more natural look – the often keloid and/or highly coloured and textured scars, but more importantly seems to alter the sensations on the skin, above and below the past cut, which in turn releases meridian flow and stuck emotions /whatever so normal can emerge again.

This is especially so with C sections, as regardless of the reason – planned or unscheduled (hence possibly with more shock and angst attached), ‘emergency’ or unhurried, it leaves massive impacts on a woman’s body.  Working in the scar allows a reconnection with the local traumatized area.  The differences in unleashing what was blocking flow, to allow the body to self heal, rather than us attempting to orchestrate and superimpose what a text would say for the apparent differentiated condition, is colossal.

‘Moving the blockages acupuncture’ is what I call this.  Let nature re establish normal, and then see if any other intervention is needed.  Otherwise, we can look as though we are needling (as opposed to painting) by numbers, using a recipe book rather than taking cues for the person’s life.

I have watched women be astounded at the difference in their entire body, once the sometimes very old scar is attended to.  My attentions initially were to allow the meridians to work again – above and below the skin, and then see what else needed ‘fixing’ – as I saw the scar as the ‘disease’ entity.  How can the meridian flow work (hence the points we put in, in expectation) – especially when thinking of the eight extras, unless we reconnect them? Now I see this as an integral part of initial consultations, to just see what really IS the problem, once the meridian flow is re-established.

Why Bother?

We are not robots.  All experiences impact upon us.  Most scars are not just a mark on the skin -they carry libraries of memories.  What is dammed up may well be hidden – from them and from us, and maybe a very odd reaction may happen after you help release all of this – it will make a change and this change will reflect on all markers of qi and blood flow.

Acupuncturally, the fact that the Eight Extras supervise, regulate and maintain the flow of qi and blood (p69/75 “Acupuncture – a Comprehensive Text”), that they originate in the Kidney region and that they flow through the uterus and out onto the perineum before attending to the body, should alert us to some basic housekeeping before we try to intellectually plan out what a book might direct us to do.  There is the Bao Mai connecting or disconnecting the Heart (where the Shen is said to reside) and the Fetal Palace.  People have lives and these impact on what then presents as a ‘case history’.  People are living breathing entities with soul.  They also have feelings.

Possibly this was never going to be recognized in a culture went through the Cultural Revolution, Great Leaps Forward and Red Guards.  ‘Emotional’ being a major cause of disease seems to have slipped from the recently written texts.  There is NO mention is made of the role of sex/lack of orgasms and Stuck Liver Qi, hence all gyne problems.  Little has been said about the effect of such social experiments as the one child policy and the resultant rates of female infanticide on the women at least.

We in the West have also debased women’s lives – ‘old wives’ tales and intuition all falling under suspicion so that we need to validate with numbers, through science, the new god.  We focus on illness and what might happen, rather than altering the resultant energy and the angst to change these possibilities.  Re establishing normal seems missed in the recipes we now find in books for just about any problem.

Looking at the body in front of us, we could ‘tidy up’ what may be at least a contributing factor.  Initial treatments for many could be just undoing the impact of their having lived their lives. This may for some be many visits, as prior to actually getting into what they thought were their problems, even bothering to ‘diagnose’ as clearing out of debris is required.  Even if you ignored the patient responses and often joy at getting their body back, taking pulse or observing tongue and other changes will show the skeptic here that releasing what is stored inappropriately is very beneficial.

What to Do

The protocol I have developed over time has become an overall ‘Moving Blockages’ approach.  The initial issue has been covered before that of cold in the belly and the need for cupping this out.  Lurking cold is easy to spot – a warm hand on the belly is often all that is needed.  Sometimes there is a cold patch – and this could be anywhere as a spot from the pubic bone to the Cv 14 area.  Other times it may be all over the belly.  Sometimes I just have a ‘‘feel’ for this – although it is always better if there WAS cold on belly – as they themselves can feel it disappear.
We can also use massage and moxa as home work – I get people to call it ‘foreplay’ – as this extra really assists in far more than the birthing preparation I designed it for.

 

Cold Invasion

Cold lodges for later .  . . much later . . . consumes yang qi
Generalized Yang Qi is wasted in neutralizing the cold invasion.

According to the late Dr John Shen, (the pulse master Dr Leon Hammer learnt under) cold is stored in the stomach, intestines and uterus indefinitely.  We see it later on in their lives as the various stuck categories, sometimes forgetting in our diagnosis that yang mobilizes, and cold wastes yang.  This is a preventative mode, and also is immediately obvious to the client.  In times past, no doubt, this was what old grannies and elderly people did to the youngsters prior to paying for herbal and other attentions.

Cold needs drawing out. The trapped cold creates a drain on the yang available to hold babies/embryos in place and to go about normal circulatory and other metabolic tasks.  As an example, I definitely continue to do this until someone is ‘showing’ in pregnancy, so it is also safely part of my post IVF transfer protocol.  About 50 % of the women I see for transfer have a colder belly than before their procedure, and this is not helpful to keeping the embryo implanted. Using moxa is not going to have anything like the same effect, but after the cold removal is highly important.  Over my +30 years  working in this interface, I have discovered that needles alone do not have the same effect.

Moxa

Over the decades, the use of moxa seems to have dwindled in our profession.  It is invaluable as a reconnection aid, and if it is impossible to be used inside your clinic, please send the woman home with a stick with explicit instructions on its usage.  I take women outside and use it in the outside portion of my clinc, as either then beginning or the end to this treatment.  The difference for them and their perceptions of their body are amazing!

Heather’s Theory

– restore normal first then see what is needed.

The body is self healing.  It has a blueprint it is trying to return to.  Something is preventing this, and we can assist where other modalities ignore energy flow.

Heather’s Protocol

When treating most people, this standard procedure is followed – calm the Shen, unblock the spine, and then see what is left to do.   Before this should there be blanching on the skin of the back, or cold in the belly, thus is priority as the entire circulation is down with attempting to stave of this entity form the inner workings.

This is outside the scope of this article, and is dealt with elsewhere. The standard non cold removal treatment involves some back massage, prodding various points to see where the tension is stored, needling those I chose for release, moxa on needles, on the sacrum generally, and the insertion of many cooling and Shen calming points.

I start with Bl 62 as the master point of Yang Qiao – if tender – and I ruthlessly move around the area till I find one – and I start there.  Most have back/shoulder/neck tension/back issues in the past and unresolved angst that all flow into the system and lodge – this is a release before we start onto the actual body.

I work with the back first – the yang needs to move, and the structure if realigned is far more likely to allow normal function.  After mobilizing the sacral area (see the pelvic opening work as part of the birth preparation protocol found in “What Dads Can Do” or an article on site as before). I then start in on the actual birthing wounds.

Pressing all intervertebral spaces, and then the Hua Tou on either side of the sore spots, I insert all that are tender.  This may start to look like a lot of needles and work – and it is – but all leave significantly altered, which is why they seek treatment.  .  I also use Gv 1 prior to the back points and this is to release the entire pelvic/back and abdominal blockages a la Dr van Buren’s eight extra information.  Gv 1 being the luo point of the Gv . . .

Bl 11, 40 and 17 are always inserted – all as insurance against the significant amount of heat that will be used.  I have had people in the past break out in herpes after too much moxa – so in the spirit of doing no harm, I ensure that should the heat be too much, I am ’covered’.

Moxa needling everyone’s Bl 23, Gv 3 and 4 gets the yang mobilized.  Some of the Huo Tou may also be moxa needled.  With the needles out, more ‘gouging’ massage is done to release the sacro iliac area. After turning the patient over, the difference in the tongue is phenomenal and usually they feel vastly different in themselves.

Abdominal Work

Once on their back, the C scar is now ready for movement as I have set the scene.  I recheck the master points and all accumulation points that were initially tested.  Many will be very different.  I will needle the sorest I can find – as they are still blocked – and this may be many.  Which points are used is dependent on whether the scar is more normal to the touch for them when I press these and redraw the back of the needle over the ‘healed’ scar skin.

All Sp4, Gb 41, (either position both sides of the tendon, whichever is the sorest, and sometimes I do both – am being thorough), Ki 8 (accumulation point of Yin Qiao and thus works on pelvic blockages), Sp 8, and if I have used the ‘Kiiko’ protocol of testing bilateral St 27, 28 and found that Liver 4 releases the pain, these will also be inserted.  This is all BEFORE I touch the scar. The object is to clear EVERYTHING at once.

Having needled some or all of these, I may also insert Sp 10 – another point on Chong Mai.  Bilateral St 30 is followed by the scar itself – getting as many as she will tolerate.  Needless to say I ‘free needle’ – I have no idea how guide tubes would allow the flexibility here.  I use 34 gauge half inch (little) needles, and they go in just under the skin.  If it is a really angry scar I may go a lot deeper.  Sometimes I angle them under the bulk of the raised area.

Starting at either end is only useful if it is a small scar.  I have found that starting at one end and working to the other, up and down at once is like a wave of sensation, and it returns slowly so the sensation of all these needles is less traumatic, as she is not feeling ALL of it, as I am waking it up’ slowly.  The C scars may be faint and hardly there – and they still carry a huge burden, and there are all the layers beneath the surface.

Once this is done, needling Cv points above and below and using moxa on the needles is done.  Then I will do whatever else to settle the person – and sometimes this is local ear points to consolidate what is happening on the body.

NONE OF THIS HAPPENS IF IT IS A HALF MOON.

Why not?  The moon’s energy follows with the monthly lunar flows – and we are ‘full’ in the head when it is a full moon – and hence I suggest no one gets dental work or hair cuts then.  (Another article later in).  We, by using all these needles in a specific area can really drain the person.  Acupuncture used to be a lot more shamanic/alchemic and less mechanical, and ‘do no harm’ could also apply to our practices.

IF THIS SCAR HAS BEEN ‘BRIDGED’ BEFORE

. . and still is not ‘right’ – and this can be vaginal numbness/sexual loss/actual pain on the scar – and anything in between – or ‘just’ you run the fingernail over it and it is different – this means that circulation of all meridian flow is distorted.

Often all that is needed is moxa – on the sacrum and then on the actual scar line. Followed by comfrey ointment – rubbed in twice daily for a few weeks, and plucking/pinching it back to life.  I do not necessarily repeat the whole process – and likely not the actual scar.  The scar extra points have been found to work, and often JUST needling the right accumulation point and you found this by pressing it and retesting the scar – what makes it feel normal is what point you put in.  Usually I also see the master point as well – if tender.

Discussion

Whilst the severe railroad track appearance of the abdomen of the past is mostly gone due to usage of laparoscopic procedures, there are now many nicks and dabbles in investigative medicine that all will have left their marks in every aspect of the average body.  Look closely also, as many have had little cuts for all sorts of reasons, including of course the navel ring scars.  This is before we look to the fashionable alternative baby exit route and what it does long term.

Possibly the return to normal has not been covered in the literature, but I have found it to be the logical place to start, rather than trying to second guess using a superimposed theoretical model – I ask – why is this body not healing itself?  All of us have had lives and carry the echoes of all we felt within.

Looking at the various energy modalities – Reichian therapy as an example – all emotions can be tapped into along with their stored memories, through very gentle touch and directed breathing.  The armouring of a body thus carries the library of events, and should we open the right shelf, we can see the contents.  No easier way than starting in on the scar and asking about its history – what was happening at the time/how they felt about it- WELL!!!!  Always useful to have tissues, vibrational rescue remedies and such like on hand, as if we are doing a good job, things (especially emotions) move and shift.

As part of this, I carry the Aura Soma bottles to help release and clear all sorts of ‘stuff’. As energy medicine, acupuncture used to attract those who were slightly left of mainstream, and regardless of what was/is in the texts from China, and more recently the ‘evidence based’ rational medicine camp, reality as we live and observe in clinic still can shape what we regard as needing to move therapeutically.

Evil spirit possession used to be part of the acupuncture disease understanding prior to the Cultural Revolution in our medicine, and is still a part of most religious and many healing traditions.  The easiest to access is Tibetan – “Healing Through Harmony” by Yeshes ???  a past healer for the Dalai Lama is a great introduction to a more inclusive framework.

Whether we ‘believe’ or not, sometimes all sorts of old energies may release and having something to assist their transition through and away is helpful – especially to those who use the couch and room after this one has freely moved on.

Birthing

Listening to case histories over the decades, I hear a similar theme.  The point of ‘breakage’ is often of the heart and at birthing or afterwards with poor communication and support – and hence a loss of blood/security and often of deep pain/trauma on all levels.

As Dr Shen was very clear on the arrival of shock – and usually at or around birth for all of us, and definitely for the mother a primal wound that lodges deeply and forever. The realm of birthing leaves immense energy stores of grief/betrayal /rage and helpless /hopelessness in its wake.

It may be different in NZ but here in Australia, the need for primal and immediate maternal/baby bonding has been replaced by antiseptic panics over hospital protocols.  The bereftness felt at such a pivotal time of life for all concerned than is stored, and this is part of what ‘bridging‘ these scars releases.

As we are taught in college that ‘emotions’ are a ‘cause of disease, I am suggesting that a lot of the history taking we do (especially if tied into the ACC/insurance protocols) could be more revealing and focus on FEELINGS as most women can download a stash around birthing instantly.

This is a great source of brewing/festering heat underneath the Stuck Liver Qi etc.  The cold that arrived with the operation and aftercare, the loss of blood not replenished, leaving her in a vulnerable state to begin maternity, and all the emotional issues that were shelved as care if newborn took hold of her life, and all await and fester.

Stories to Illustrate

Julie – had an unplanned C section after a labour where cervix failed to dilate and the epidural eventually caused the usual ‘emergency’; situation of upset mum and baby.

“Since having the operation, I found myself bereft, as the exquisite sensitivity of my belly, that made foreplay just so delicious, was gone, There was no feeling there at all above the scar. The actual scar healing had been quick – there is just a very faint line there – but, I had lost the most precious part of making love for me.

Then Heather fixed the scar, as part of the general treatment I
came for. I have myself and my belly and pleasure back again -. I would have never thought a few needles could be so powerful.”

Virginia was years later still ‘outside’ herself, and absolutely not who she remembered being following her first child’s birth horror.  At this time she had been very adamant that no forceps were to be used – so this meant that although the baby’s head was visible on the perineum, and for at least an hour, eventually the C section happened and the baby was hauled back up and out.  Both were considerably shocked, and she had not been the same since.

A lot of post traumatic stress is a direct result of operations, especially in the high tensile fear base surrounding ‘safety’ in birthing.  After doing the protocol above, she felt very different – but I felt that there was more to move.

I took her outside (no ventilation in the clinic) and passed the moxa up her GV line from the ‘bum crack’ to waist level and repeated this for about five minutes.  She arose from the chair (straddled is best) and regally cast her eyes around – she could not believe the difference – she was back!!!
Moxa is a vibrational tool .  Especially useful for reconnection.

Helen had planned o have her children the ‘easy’ way – and got more than she intended. . .

“I left Heather’s after she attended to my C – scar, went home, and the next morning found myself trying on several pairs of knickers, as they all seemed to be too small. Then I realized that I was feeling them and the elastic – for the first time since my babies were born – and that now I had my belly back – I could FEEL my belly again – and I didn’t know that I couldn’t do that before”.

Some have birthing snatched from them, and realise the only way to birth is with help – but do not expect to be less of themselves after the event.

“My daughter was born just over four years ago via C-Section.  This wasn’t elective, I have a bi-cornuate uterus and my daughter wasn’t only lying in a breech position but in an “L” shape. There was no way, I was told, and that she could not be birthed vaginally, much as I wanted to.

Since the operation, my uterus had felt like a lead weight – it was always there, always heavy. I mean I could feel my uterus ALL THE TIME, where with other parts of my body I don’t notice them unless I touch them or they’re doing something.

I knew this wasn’t “right” but couldn’t get anyone to listen to me, so just accepted that this was part of “my lot” in having to have had a C-Section.

On top of that, ever since the birth of my daughter, having an orgasm just wasn’t the same. It was a similar sensation to that when I was pregnant – my uterus sort of went tight and the orgasm most times just disappeared.

Again I just thought this was obviously part of the deal of childbirth.

Since having being cupped and having acupuncture my uterus is “gone” – it’s just normal. The heaviness, the lead weight has departed and I don’t feel it anymore unless I have my period and even then my period pain has reduced to almost nothing where previously I needed a hot water bottle.

And best of all – I’ve had the first orgasm since before I got pregnant that made me go AHHH! The tightness has gone and I have a full orgasm”.

Why would we not want to restore normal before thinking through what a book would make of a set of symptoms a person is experiencing – could it just be that the energy is blocked and we have secondary issues that can be easily cleared?  This is much like a plumber going down the line and clearing out what is creating the apparently unrelated issues elsewhere.

Sometimes it is a definite impingement of flow that is being ignored by other sources.

Ages past, Jill arrived with a severe neck ache that was constant and apparently resistant to all forms of treatment.

No amount of osteopathic or other structural or acupuncture was relieving it.  I looked about and discovered a very faint scar on her abdomen.  In her teens she had had a baby who was adopted out. The scar was just a distant memory.

I figured that after everyone else has ‘had a go’ and nothing has worked, looking at foundation issues would be helpful.  Again looking to the Eight Extras – the Du and Ren and Chong all send branches up the spine and the front of the body.

After I scraped a needle back over the scar and she was ‘dead’ there, I realised that it was the likely culprit, as the flow through there was broken (easy to tell – the skin on scar feels different to the neighbouring skin).
After that one session, (and in her case it was minimal peripheral and mainly the scar and abdomen done) her neck was no trouble.

Conclusion

Pregnancy and life are simple – follow the owner’s manual . .

Look to the obvious blockages to Qi flow before trying to enforce a text book protocol, and all manner of things that the patient took as ‘just life’ and ‘their lot’ may magically dissolve.

 

2018 – update . .

This is all achievable with assistance – if interested in mentoring or if you wish to do the private online intensives .
See here for more.