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What is Soft Tissue Therapy?

Updated: Sep 27, 2022

Soft Tissue Therapy is a treatment approach which has evolved out of the more traditional Sport & Remedial Massage Therapy. It is primarily a hands on treatment used to modify pain and restriction as well as promote tissue healing and performance.

The SMA, Association for Soft Tissue Therapists describes it as, “the management, manipulation and rehabilitation of soft tissues of the body including muscles, ligaments and tendons”. This is commonly associated with the musculoskeletal system, however, it can also influence our bodies other systems, including the nervous system, immune system, lymphatic system and fascial system, to name a few.

As we lead busier, sometimes less active, and more stressful lives, we take for granted the effect this has on our body and become accepting of aches, pains and dysfunction. Soft tissue therapy can help manage this, reduce the impact it has on our physical and mental health and provide a way to safely stress the soft tissue structures and systems of the body to stimulate adaptation and change in a positive way.

This may include:

  • Reducing tension, stress or pain caused prolonged sitting at a desk/​computer.

  • Promoting physical and mental recovery from exercise or work.

  • Reducing injury risk.

  • Alongside a progressive rehabilitation programme following injury.

  • Preparation for training and/or competition.

  • Recovery from training and or competition.

  • Post-operative scar work to improve soft tissue mobility and function.

Quite often we go from 0 (sitting all day at work) to 100 (out from run/​cycle/class etc) quite quickly without some form of preparation in between. Adding Soft Tissue Therapy alongside a series of routine exercises for mobility and preparation, prior to exercise, can help reduce the risk of injury. Coupled with a tailored strength programme, the benefits can be accelerated.

During your Soft Tissue Therapy appointment, you will first discuss with your therapist the presenting problem alongside your activity, injury and health history. Observation of how you move and a hands-on assessment of how the soft tissue feels will then be performed by your therapist. This will guide the most appropriate approach and treatment plan to address any pain or movement dysfunction.

The treatment itself may include massage, if it is likely to have an optimal effect on your treatment goals but may also include other techniques such as soft tissue release (STR), Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilisation (IASTM), Muscle Energy Technique (MET) and Myofascial Release (MFR), all of which all come under the umbrella of Soft Tissue Therapy.

How regular your treatment needs to be depends very much on your goals, stage of recovery following injury, how often and how intense you train, how long you sit and how your body responds to stress and treatment. Your therapist will be able to advise more accurately after the first assessment and discuss an ideal management plan for you. You may need more than one session in a week or only one session a month.

If you would like to book a soft tissue therapy appointment, please contact our reception team on 0118 975 8000 or email us on


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