A few days ago I was speaking to a lovely lady over the phone about a knee condition she had. During the call she asked me…..”So, what exactly is a Soft Tissue Therapist”?
Afterwards, I thought to myself that there must be many whom don’t know what soft tissue therapy must be.
Soft tissue therapy refers to a range of manual techniques that target the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other soft tissues of the body. It aims to reduce pain, increase range of motion, and improve overall function by releasing tension, increasing circulation, and promoting relaxation. Soft tissue therapy is a valuable treatment option for a variety of conditions, including sports injuries, chronic pain, and postural imbalances.
One of the primary goals of soft tissue therapy is to improve the health and function of soft tissues in the body. Soft tissues refer to the muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and other connective tissues that support and move the body. These tissues can become tight, stiff, or injured due to a variety of factors, including repetitive motion, overuse, and trauma. Soft tissue therapy aims to address these issues through manual manipulation of the affected tissues.
There are several different techniques used in soft tissue therapy, each with its own unique benefits and applications. Some of the most common soft tissue therapy techniques include:
Myofascial release: A technique that focuses on releasing tension in the fascia, a connective tissue that surrounds and supports the muscles.
Trigger point therapy: A technique that targets areas of muscle tension, known as trigger points, to reduce pain and increase range of motion.
Active release technique: A technique that combines movement and pressure to release tension and improve function in soft tissues.
Deep tissue massage: A technique that uses firm pressure to target deeper layers of muscle tissue and release tension and adhesions.
Soft tissue therapy can be performed by a variety of healthcare professionals, including massage therapists, physical therapists, and chiropractors. The specific technique used will depend on the individual’s condition and goals for treatment.
There is a growing body of research supporting the effectiveness of soft tissue therapy for a variety of conditions. For example, a study published in the Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation found that myofascial release was effective in reducing pain and improving range of motion in patients with chronic low back pain (1). Another study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that trigger point therapy was effective in reducing pain and improving function in patients with chronic shoulder pain (2).
Overall, soft tissue therapy is a valuable treatment option for individuals with a variety of soft tissue-related conditions. By addressing tension, promoting circulation, and promoting relaxation, soft tissue therapy can help individuals reduce pain, improve function, and enjoy a better quality of life.
Guzmán-Pérez V, Segura-Hernández A, Martínez-Amador N, et al. Effects of myofascial release in patients with chronic low back pain: a randomized clinical trial. J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil. 2020;33(4):507-514.
Dommerholt J, Huijbregts P. Myofascial trigger points: pathophysiology and evidence-informed diagnosis and management. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2011;34(5):314-327