Feel and Function Better with Soft Tissue Work
The Bottom Line:
The goal of soft tissue work is to alleviate muscular tension and any associated discomfort. Soft tissue work can alleviate and prevent muscular pain, increase joint range of motion, boost effects of spinal adjustments, help repair muscles, and improve overall physical functioning. These benefits go far beyond just feeling good; soft tissue work can also result in several functional health benefits when done correctly. Check out Dr. Drees's background in Active Release Technique--an OSHA approved First Aid for Musculoskeletal Repetitve/Overuse Injuries (think Carpal Tunnel, Tennis/golfer's elbow, IT band syndrome etc.)
Why it Matters:
On a physiologic level, soft tissue work can improve the function of soft tissues in the body through different mechanisms. While the specific mechanisms by which soft tissue is working may be hard to see, we've outlined some of the science behind why it helps patients feel and function their best.
• Increased Blood Flow: Muscles require an effective blood supply with appropriate oxygen lev-els to stay strong and less prone to injury. Soft tissue treatments can improve blood flow and, as a result, provide more oxygen to muscles that require it.
• Removing Waste Products: Discomfort and pain in the muscles can be caused by a build-up of waste products from fatigued muscles. The lymphatic system is made up of lymph vessels responsible for eliminating waste products from the body. These lymph vessels can be stimulated to quickly and effectively remove these waste products through soft tissue work.
• Release of Neurotransmitters: The autonomic nervous system releases' feel good' neurotrans-mitters, including serotonin and dopamine. Excess stress and feelings of overwhelm can result
from a shortage of these hormones in the body. Soft tissue can activate the autonomic nervous system, causing these 'feel good' neurotransmitters to be released!
Most patients who have received soft tissue work can tell you that it usually results in feeling like a new person, but who knew this was because of scientifically supported mechanisms? Now you can receive soft tissue work knowing that there is the purpose behind the feelings of well-being!
Weerapong P, Hume PA, Kolt GS. The mechanisms of massage and effects on performance, muscle recovery, and injury prevention. Sports Med. 2005;35(3):235-56. doi: 10.2165/00007256-200535030-00004. PMID: 15730338.