Soft-tissue mobilization: instrument assisted or hands-on?

19 de junho de 2019

The soft-tissue mobilization has been a very important technique in muscle recovery and as treatment for various musculoskeletal-related pains. It can be performed as a manual therapy, or with the aid of several instruments.
Which is the best therapy for your clients and for you as a physical therapist or PE professional? In this text, we will discuss both forms of soft-tissue mobilization and its differences, so keep on reading to know more!

Soft-tissue mobilization: what is it for?

The soft-tissue mobilization is a form of massage, which involves releasing any adherences the fascia may have. This adherences happen between fascia and muscle, in the muscles, or in the fascia itself.
When they appear, they may get in the way of the normal fluid and nutrients flow in the body. This causes muscle pain, and recent studies suggest, may even be connected to cancer, chronic pains and tissue deterioration.
Manipulating this tissue causes the fibers to reorganize, and provide the body with a healthy flow of important elements.
The technique has been used in athlete recovery between races and competitions. It speeds up muscle recuperation and allows the athlete to undergo further training or competitions.
As a treatment to musculoskeletal diseases, it has been largely used. Back pain, joint problems (most commonly knees, elbows and shoulders), and muscle pain can be treated using soft-tissue manipulation alone, or associated with other treatments.

The differences between manual and instrument assisted manipulation

Soft-tissue mobilization
Image: Shutterstock

Also known as myofascial release, the soft-tissue manipulation can be done with the therapists bare hands.
But nowadays there are equipments that assist both therapist and patient in getting the best out of the technique.
There are two main differences between the hands-on technique and the instrument assisted mobilization.

1. For the therapist

The main advantage for the therapist in using instruments to perform soft-tissue mobilization in the amount of effort necessary.
The equipments save up to two thirds of the effort made to reach the right tissues.
That means that the chances of developing stress-related disfunctions on the hands are minimized by three! And, of course, it also means the therapist is able to perform more sessions in a day.

2. For the patient

The tools to perform soft-tissue mobilization are especially made to reach different tissues. Some of them are located deeper in the body, so even with an incredible amount of strength, it is impossible to reach them with bare hands.
The myofascial release instruments are able to reach those deeper tissues, bringing much more effectiveness to the therapy.

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