Body structures have layers of connective tissue on their outer surfaces. These layers allow the different parts to glide over each other. Sometimes fibers and/or bands of connective tissue form between surfaces that should be separate. When connective tissue layers become bound together, that's called an adhesion.
Immobility, inflammation or injury can result in layers of tissue becoming glued together. Surgery can create adhesions, and also scar tissue, which is even more stuck.
An orthopedic surgeon wrote that normally when
...one opens a thigh to remove fascia for surgical procedure, one will be struck by the smooth surfaces of contact between the fascia and the underlying muscle and that
these surfaces fairly glisten and are not adherent....
On the other hand, when one opens a thigh that has been at rest, either in a cast or in a splint, or as a result of rest in bed, one finds that the fascial surfaces, as well as the surface of the underlying muscle, is dull and does not glide; often times many small adhesions have formed between the muscle and fascia.
Ralph K. Gormley, 'The Abuse of Rest in Bed in Orthopedic Surgery', J.A.M.A., August 19, 1944
Quoted in 'The Encyclopedia of Health and Nutrition', Pyramid Books, 1962, by Max Warmbrand, N.D., D.O.
People who have been hospitalized, lying in bed for a long time, sometimes tell me they can no longer enjoy going for a walk. Their legs have become stiff. When I work on their legs, the layers feel stuck together. Neuromuscular Therapy releases the adhesions, so walking is easy and enjoyable for them again.
When working on people's legs, I've sometimes felt a horizontal line going around the leg. Tissue above the line felt more normal. Tissue below it felt hardened and glued together. When I asked, the client told me their leg had been broken, and had been in a cast which ended exactly at the place where I felt the line. The lower part of the leg, that had been in the cast, had formed adhesions. Neuromuscular Therapy releases the adhesions.
It's common for people to have adhesions between the viscera (internal organs) and the spine, pelvis, and diaphragm. Organs often are adhered to each other. People with visceral adhesions have difficulty breathing deeply. The organs below your diaphragm are supposed to glide up and down each time you breathe. Breathing should massage your organs. But if they're all bound together, your breathing is stuck.
People with abdominal adhesions may have constipation, abdominal pain, back pain, PMS, leg pain, shoulder pain, or a variety of other symptoms. The adhesions may form trigger points that refer pain and/or tension to other parts. Visceral Massage stretches and disrupts the adhesions, and gets these people out of pain.