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.