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Physical therapy: Soft tissue massage

The process of diagnosing, treating and managing a soft tissue injury is called soft tissue therapy, addressing the pain which mainly stems from certain neuromusculoskeletal areas. This form of therapy is carried out by qualified and trained professionals such as chiropractors, massage and physical therapists as well as some doctors from the area of naturopathy and osteopathy.

Soft tissue injuries often take place due to repetitive or cumulative strain injuries. Fortunately, adequate health care professionals like those skilled in the fields of anatomy, pathology, physiology, biomechanics, functional anatomy etc. all can successfully treat these forms of injuries through physical therapy and soft tissue massage.

Soft Tissue Therapy

As it was mentioned above, any form of therapy which tries to help the patient deal with soft tissue injury is called soft tissue therapy, regardless whether it deals with the assessment, diagnosis, treatment or the recovery process related to the specific injury.

Unfortunately, sometimes, physical therapy is not enough for helping the patient deal with some type of a soft tissue injury. Then, the therapist sends the patient to a different, more qualified health expert.

As for the therapy itself, it consists of choosing the best treatment approach, depending greatly on the form of the injury present. Among the possible techniques which can be used for these purposes, the practitioner may choose from trigger point ones or opt for myofascial therapy, focusing on improving the connective tissues and the flexibility of fascial areas of the body. Also, these approaches are beneficial for helping a person deal with scarring pain and other such adverse effects.

Massage can also be an option here and practitioners often choose Swedish massage or some other methods for helping an individual deal with his/her swelling or inflammation, affecting a certain soft-tissue part of his/her body.

Some massage types create cross-friction, which results in heat, alleviating pain and adequate conditions for dealing with various soft-tissue injuries, predominantly those located in tendon areas. On the other hand, if the treatment needs to take care of the area between the muscles and the fascia, sustained pressure is often used.

However, a single form of therapy may not be enough for removing certain soft-tissue problems alone. Rather, a combination of different approaches may sometimes present a necessity in order for a successful therapy to take place.

Soft Tissue Massage

Soft-tissue massage is one of the main tools of soft-tissue therapy. It aims to improve blood and lymph flow in the soft-tissue areas, reducing one's exposure to inflammation and pain. Additionally, it improves the flexibility of certain body parts, boosts the immune system, reveals any muscular spasms and removes them and increased oxygen delivery to the muscles, making them less strained.

If the Swedish massage is used, its main purpose is removing the toxins from the muscles and promoting the oxygen flow in the area. Friction therapy, on the other hand heals the affected body part through the process of head generation and exposure. Also, soft-tissue massage can use trigger point massage to ease one's chronic muscle pain and improve flexibility of the body.

If a soft-tissue massage a person has undergone was a good one, he/she should feel an improved range of motion, along with a release of the adhesions and a decrease of blood pressure. Hemoglobin production should be increased through this process and coronary arteries should become dilated.

Athletes, after this form of massage, should notice how their performance has improved and patients suffering from arthritis should feel that the stiffness being common for their condition is less present. The beneficial effect of soft-tissue massage is likely to be felt through a boost in memory and cognitive functions, due to better blood circulation and oxygen delivery to the body. Also, this effect can stem from the absence of stress hormones attacking the body, especially the brain.

Due to the hormonal-balancing effect that soft-tissue massage can have, women in their PMS, menopause and pregnancy, all should feel less bothered by the symptoms of their conditions, once they have undergone this form of massage.

Finally, fibromyalgia patients and those who are prone to bed sores due to the fact that they cannot leave the bed can find relief in this form of massage therapy too.

All in all, soft-tissue therapy and soft-tissue massage are two terms which are involved in the process of diagnosing, assessing and treating an injury affecting a soft-tissue part of the body. Moreover, recovery can also be a part of this form of therapy. In fact, soft-tissue massage is a great technique for managing many different types of health problems, helping people overcome inflammation, swelling, pain and dysfunctions affecting some of their body parts.

Yet, do not forget or neglect the fact that soft-tissue therapy may not be capable of treating all types of injuries successfully. Thus, if your problems with the soft-tissue areas in your body cannot be resolved with this form of therapy, seek medical assistance again and try some alternative approaches.   

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