Having recently added soft tissue release to my massage tool kit, I thought it would be helpful to explain what it is here.
Soft tissue release is a massage technique that can help ease tension in muscles by applying static pressure to a muscle and then moving the associated limb or part of the body in order to lengthen the muscle. In most other massage techniques, the pressure moves over the muscle, but in soft tissue release, it is the muscle that moves and the point of pressure that stays relatively still. It can be performed passively with the therapist moving the limb (or body) or actively with the receiver making the movement as directed.
I can identify if a muscle could benefit from soft tissue release from reported muscle tension during the consultation, from a postural assessment or if I come across an area of tension during a massage. If the area is suitable for the technique, I will shorten the muscle (e.g. for the hamstrings by lifting the lower leg and foot to bend the knee when the client is face down on the couch), then apply pressure using the palm of my hand, a thumb or knuckle and then slowly stretching the muscle by moving the limb (so lowering the lower leg and foot back to the coach in the hamstring example above) while maintaining a constant, comfortable pressure. To enhance the effect, it can be repeated actively with the receiver making the movements. This short video clip shows soft tissue release of the quadriceps muscles (in the thigh) by way of another example.
Some soft tissue techniques can be used for self-treatment at home, and appropriate stretching exercises can also enhance the effect. I can show you how to do these where appropriate.
If you are experiencing muscle tension and would like to arrange a consultation or treatment, do get in touch.