Soft tissue release is a mechanical technique used by the therapist to help you to move more freely and feel generally better in your skin.
This article will take a look both at a specific tool of the massage therapist but also remind the reader of the nature of ‘soft tissue’ and how you can nourish it, take care of it and generally be more aware of this gift which lies beneath your skin.
What is soft tissue?
We are very aware of the gift of our skin and how these days, knowledge and awareness helps us nourish it, hydrate it and generally take care of it, grateful that it is the glue that holds us together. What we are getting more curious about is everything underneath the skin. Historically, we might not think about it until it begins to hurt and then we want to know much more about it as we seek the help of our massage therapist, who will be happy to educate us as well as do all in his or her power to heal.
Soft tissue, basically, is everything under our skin that is not bone nor organ. This includes our muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia. Your massage therapist is highly trained to know specific treatments that will help to unlock the tension in these areas. Depending on your specific injuries a number of techniques might be employed to help with your issues.
Basically, simple massage could be termed soft tissue release as its frictional movements ‘iron out’ the ‘knots’ or adhesions that cause the soft tissue to be inhibited or locked, thus inhibiting movement and or causing aches or pains. So, whilst generally massage could be called ‘soft tissue release’ there is also a specific procedure called S.T.R, carried out by sports therapists and remedial therapists to further stretch out muscles, and tendons and to achieve freedom of movement and general wellbeing.
STR is a technique through which the therapist actively stretches the muscles, tendons and fascia. The therapist works earnestly and speedily as he repeatedly works a muscle by holding it and moving a limb. An example of this work would be the stretch of the hamstrings. The bicep femoris (Main muscle from which the strings originate) is held by the therapist (to deliberately impede it) whilst holding the foot and moving it from the buttock to it resting place on the massage couch.
Why employ STR?
To improve range of movement which is a primary goal in sports massage and remedial massage therapies.
What are the effects of STR
We can expect that there will be improved range of movement.
which we mentioned above.
We can hope for repair in the soft tissue injury.
We can expect a breakthrough in the scars and adhesions (Knots).
We can expect a more harmonious muscular balance.
Will there be any pain experienced in this method?
This is an age old question in remedial and sports massage therapy.
Oftentimes people will report that they have experienced a great deal of pain or discomfort in sports massage. This should not be the case. People come to therapy to be relieved of their pain. However, when pressure is applied to tight muscles it can intensify the pain experienced. It is not however the objective of the therapist to cause you pain. Your therapist will ask you to tell him or her if you are experiencing unnecessary pain.
During the assessment at the start of the treatment your therapist will as you to report your pain experience from 1-10 (10 being the highest) it is our job to bring that down.
I always check in with my client from time to time and also ask them to tell me as soon as their pain rises. (All people have a unique pain threshold) When pain is experienced the technique can be altered using more gentle pressures until the soft tissues are released and the pain has decreased. One of the benefits of regular massage treatments is that a trust is built between the client and their practitioner and it is often found that we can work more deeply over time and our tolerance for tension builds and better results are accomplished.
If you would like to know more about soft tissue release you can look out for future blogs on this site and I will be very pleased to discus this great treatment when you visit for a general consultation and or treatment. I look forward to seeing you. Meanwhile feel free to contact.