Soft Tissue Therapy

Soft Tissue Therapy (STT)

soft tissue therapy, stt, physiotherapySoft Tissue Therapy is the assessment, treatment, and management of Fascia, Muscle, Tendon and Ligament injury, pain and dysfunction primarily of the Neuromuscular System.  Repetitive strain injuries (RSI’s), muscular overuse injuries and postural adaptations of the soft tissues are becoming more common and account for the majority of these disabilities and impairments.

The treatment techniques we use at our clinics include:-


Soft tissue massage is one of the oldest, simplest forms of physiotherapy. It involves manual application of pressure and movement directly to the soft tissues off the body (i.e. muscles, skin, fascia, tendons).

Its intended benefits and effects of soft tissue massage include:

  • Helps relieve muscle tension
  • Reduces muscle spasm
  • Realigning scar tissues
  • Improves lymphatic drainage
  • Increases joint mobility
  • Increases local blood flow
  • Pain relief

There are different ways soft tissue massage can be applied

Soft tissue massage can be administered in many different ways at different depths and for different effects.

Positional Release Therapy (PRT)

PRT is a very specialised technique focusing on treating protective muscle spasm in the body.  This technique involves finding a tender point in the body (muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints) and then moving the patients body part away from the restricted motion barrier and towards the position of greatest comfort.  The mechanism behind this technique is that the shortening of the muscle sends a signal to the brain causing the muscle contraction to be reduced.  This technique may be used for relief of musculoskeletal dysfunctions that are too acute or too delicate to treat with other procedures.

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF)

PNF stretching is one of the most effective forms of flexibility training for increasing range of motion.  This can be both passive (no associated muscular contraction) or active (voluntary muscle contraction).  There are several variations of PNF stretching.

PNF strengthening involves using a PNF pattern.  PNF patterns of movement were developed because all normal coordinated human movements occur in spiral or diagonal motions.  Muscular contractions are strongest and most coordinated during these diagonal patterns of movement.  These diagonal patterns involve rotation of the extremities and require core stability.  Muscular contraction is also enhanced through irradiation and there is optimal facilitation of the stretch reflex in a synergistic group during movements with in these patterns of movement.

Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT)

NMT is an approach to soft tissue manual therapy in which quasi-static (different depths/duration/speed) pressure is applied to the soft tissue to stimulate striated skeletal muscle and the pressure must be applied perpendicular to the skin surface if muscle is to be stimulated.  Often these areas of muscle are Myofascial Trigger Points.  NMT can address postural distortion, biomechanical dysfunction, nerve compression syndrome and ischemia by balancing the central nervous systems relationship with the structure and form of the musculoskeletal system.

Trigger Point Therapy

A trigger point is a tight area with in a muscle tissue that causes pain either locally or in other parts of the body.  Trigger point therapy is specifically designed to alleviate the source of the pain through cycles of isolated pressure and release.  In this type of therapy, the recipient actively participates through deep breathing as well as identifying the exact location and intensity of discomfort.

Myofascial Release (MFR)

MFR is a soft tissue therapy for the treatment of skeletal muscle immobility and pain.  It aims to relax contracted muscles, improve blood flow, lymphatic circulation, and stimulate the stretch reflex in muscles.  Fascia is a thin, tough ,elastic type of connective tissue that wraps around most structures within the human body, including muscle thus creating support and protection.  Myofascial Release is an attempt to bring about changes in the myofascial structures by stretching or elongation of fascia, or mobilising adhesive tissues, by slowly moving through the layers of fascia until deeper tissues are reached.

Soft Tissue Release (STR)

This is a technique for stretching muscles, fascia and tendons and can be carried out 1)actively, 2)passively or 3)weight bearing.  The application of the techniques requires a specific “lock” being applied manually to the tissues and stretching the soft tissue appropriately depending on the orientation of the fibres.  When active stretches are performed, it may not necessarily be the “tight” part of the muscle that stretches, but the part that is already more pliable. STR helps localise a stretch to those fibres in the muscle that need lengthening.

Muscle Energy Techniques (MET)

MET’s are used to treat musculoskeletal dysfunction, especially decreased range of motion, muscular hypertonicity, and pain. MET’s are a direct and active technique, meaning it engages a restrictive barrier and requires the patients participation for maximal effect.