Soft Tissue Release (STR) is an advanced massage technique widely used in assessing and stretching soft tissues; muscles, fascia, tendons and ligaments.
Muscles are made up of strands of muscle fibers which should lie neatly alternating with one another. Each muscle has attachment points where they attach to bones or other connective tissue. However, muscle fibers can become damaged, congested and tangled. This can distort attachment points and cause restrictions and pain.
Stretching is often used for easing the pain of muscle tension and realigning the body so that it functions in a more optimal way. However, unlike generalized stretching, soft tissue release targets specific areas of tension within a muscle. It is also useful for targeting muscles that are difficult to stretch actively and for isolating a muscle within a group of muscles that would normally stretch together.
STR involves the therapist using manual pressure on a muscle to create a temporary false attachment point and then taking the muscle into a pain-free stretch to untangle the muscle fibers. STR is used to increase range of movement, relieve pain, prevent, repair and manage injuries.
STR is an excellent way of treating tendonitis in a muscle as it takes pressure off its point of origin, which is where the inflammation occurs in this condition. It has also been proven to be useful in the treatment of certain conditions such as medial and lateral epicondylitis (Golfers and Tennis Elbow) and plantar fasciitis (Policemen’s Foot/Heel) as it stimulates tissue repair in these conditions.
Soft tissue release is a recognized sports massage technique.
Soft tissue release is a form of bodywork designed specifically around the area of neuromuscular therapy. This type of therapy focuses on increasing recovery rates of muscular injuries, fixing muscular imbalances, and relieving chronic pain. Soft tissue release is a popular form of therapy among athletes as it is a quick and effective way of achieving strength and flexibility after muscular injuries.
The basic idea behind this approach is to apply pressure to the muscles while it is being stretched. This integrated movement technique helps to correct muscular imbalances, including areas that have been injured or have scar tissue. It’s important to remember that this therapy allows you to communicate with your nervous system- it’s not just a manipulation of tissue. The application of rhythmic pressure during a stretching routine is communicating to the nervous system the re-programming of the muscles. This eliminates the old muscle memory of how your nervous system thinks your muscles should normally be like, which is why pain persists. When trauma occurs to muscle tissue, the affected area becomes inflamed. But once the muscle memory is evoked during Soft Tissue Release, the muscles are encouraged to return to their normal state and the inflammation decreases.
Even though it may sound painful, soft tissue release does not put the body through any more pain than it is already experiencing. However, the patient does not just lie still either as you would during a relaxation massage. It is expected for the patient to maintain an active role throughout the therapy session. This is required for the special movements and stretches to be effective. At the end of the session you will also be taught how to perform some of the exercise and stretches by yourself at home which is important to maintain the recovery progress. You do not need to undress completely, but less clothing and stretchable fabric is easiest to move around in during the procedure.
Is soft Tissue Release for you?
How do you know if Soft Tissue Release is the right therapy for you? Well, if you experience any of the following symptoms then you could probably benefit from the treatment: frequent sports injuries, back pain, neck/shoulder pain, soft tissue injuries caused by car accidents, carpel tunnel syndrome, repetitive strain injuries, and office related injuries. Soft tissue release is an effective way to relieve muscle tissue pain and tension while preventing further damage.