Soft Tissue Therapies

What are the soft tissues?

Soft tissues are basically all the components of our musculoskeletal system excluding bones. These include: – 

  • Muscle 
  • Tendon 
  • Ligament 
  • Fascia 
  • Lymph channels, arteries and veins 

What is Soft tissue therapy?

There is much more to soft tissue therapy than just massage. Soft tissue therapies, when used by a physiotherapist, can be considered targeted hands-on clinical massage. 

When is soft tissue therapy used?

Soft tissue therapies can be used in isolation, or as part of a larger treatment regime. There are a wide variety of conditions that involve the soft tissues. Therefore, there are many conditions we can treat. These include: – 

  • Upper and lower back pain 
  • Postural issues  
  • Shoulder pain 
  • Rotator cuff dysfunction 
  • Golfers and Tennis elbow
  • Neck pain and stiffness 
  • Post-surgical rehab 
  • Ligament sprains/ tears 
  • Muscle tears 
  • Plantar fasciitis 

How does soft tissue therapy help?

There are many benefits to soft tissue therapies these include: – 

  • Reduced muscle tension 
  • Improved circulation 
  • Stimulation of the lymphatic system 
  • Relaxation 
  • Increased joint mobility and flexibility 
  • Improved skin tone 
  • Improved recovery of soft tissue injuries 
  • Heightened mental alertness 

What are the types of soft tissue therapy?

Myofascial release 

Often viewed as traditional massage. Long strokes of varying depth or intensity are used along the length of a muscle. The aim of Myofascial release is to decrease muscle immobility and pain by relaxing contracted muscles, improving blood and lymphatic circulation, and stimulating the stretch reflex in muscles. 

Trigger Point release 

Hypersensitive areas of muscle are known as trigger points have been well documented. Trigger point release involves holding static pressure over a trigger point (often referred to as a muscle knot). Holding static pressure will allow the trigger point to release. As this happens the pain in the trigger point will fade. 

Cross Fibre frictions

Used on tendon and ligament injuries. As the name suggests the pressure is applied across the fibres of the tissues. This technique has been shown to improve blood flow and healing. 


Uses deep rhythmical movements to “squeeze” tissues against each other. These techniques will often use the knuckles and fingertips to kneed, wring, lift and roll the muscle and fascia. 


French for “to touch lightly on”, is a series of gentle massage strokes. Effleurage is basically a form of massage involving a circular stroking movement, the whole hand is often used. Effleurage can be firm or light without dragging the skin and is with the whole hand (fingertips to palms). The process starts at the bottom of the limb and pushes back towards the heart to work as a mechanical pump on the body to encourage venous and lymphatic return. 

By Peakhurst Physio

Caring for the whole person, not just the injury

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