When is soft tissue release used?
STR is a useful technique in a number of different circumstances:
1. Treatment of pain
According to Deyo and Chawkins (1996), 95-98% of all chronic pain is of a soft tissue origin.
The advantage of using STR to treat chronic muscular pain is that it can target small areas of muscle precisely.
So, for example, carpal tunnel syndrome may respond well to precise, gently applied soft tissue release.
2. Pre- & post-race
Broad-stroke passive STR can be a very effective pre-event warm-up treatment. It’s important that the technique isn’t applied too aggressively, though – the aim is to warm the muscles up here, not to increase range of movement.
STR can really come into own post-event, to help stretch out the muscles, especially after long races. The focus here, is usually on the major muscle groups, such as quadriceps or hamstrings.
Using soft tissue release, chronically hypertonic (tight) bundles of muscle fibres can be stretched whilst the surrounding normally pliable muscle fibres can be left untouched.
It’s this specificity which gives STR it’s real power as a therapeutic technique in the clinical setting.
Soft Tissue Release (STR) is a dynamic, highly effective technique that has an immediate and powerful effect on muscle and connective tissue. STR is a combination of Myofascial Release, Therapeutic Massage, and Active Assisted Stretching. The technique involves applying precise pressure during a specific stretch performed in multiple planes of movement. The goal is to appeal to the autonomic nervous system in a way that leads to spontaneous release of the injured muscle, thus regaining the original resting length of that muscle. The result: fast and permanent reorganization of scar tissue, the targeted muscle(s) return to the proper resting length, muscle imbalances are corrected, associated pain is decreased or eliminated altogether, and muscle performance is improved. Results are often obtained quickly. These techniques can be applied to soft tissue injuries in both acute and chronic situations.