If you train or workout regularly, you may think you have everything (physically speaking) in your life dialed in. But there is something you need to be doing often that will improve strength, increase fat loss, increase conditioning levels and help with your overall health and well-being.
Soft tissue work.
— Just a few definitions before we go further —
• Soft tissue = any tissue in your body that is soft. This includes muscles, fascia, ligaments, tendons, bursa sacs and joint capsules.)
• Soft tissue work is the overarching term for any modality that is intended to treat and/or improve the quality of soft tissues. These modalities can include self-myofascial release (SMR), Active Release Technique (ART), Graston (scraping) Therapy, Cupping, Deep Compression, E-Stim, Dry Needling, all forms of Massage Therapy and so much more.
—- school over —
When you do any sort of challenging movement—whether it’s resistance training, intense cardio or even vigorous sex—it usually creates small tears in the muscle called “microtrauma.”
Let me be clear: this is not only a part of training. Microtrauma is the entire point of training. The microtrauma results in the tissue healing, growing and ultimately getting stronger.
That’s the good. Now onto the bad.
Creating microtrauma will eventually lead to adhesions. This essentially occurs when tears don’t heal completely or properly, and muscle tissue begins to “stick” to other tissue creating tension from those tissues pulling on each other. These types of soft tissue damages impede function and performance.
So when we talk about soft tissue work, what we are really talking about is treatments that will work those “knots” out, restore blood flow and reestablish proper function. Essentially work to “unstick” your grilled cheese sandwich soft tissues.
Soft tissue work, whether for chronic muscle strains or for tendon issues, is really a kind of stimulus. When a therapist is doing work on your body, he or she is irritating the tissue to produce a chemical response to begin the healing process. This is why soft tissue work is often painful and can leave you feeling similar to a workout the next day.
Done regularly, this kind of work improves tissue quality and extensibility which allows your tissue to properly lengthen and ultimately maintain healthy tissue and prevent injury. Diligence pays off.
Not all soft tissue work is preventative. Injuries often do occur and various types of soft tissue work can be used to treat the pain. However, doing soft tissue work as a regular part of your fitness routine will improve your tissue quality and help prevent injury.
For you DIYers out there you can do some of this work on your own by utilizing a lacrosse ball or foam roller. For everyone else who doesn’t know where to put the ball or how to use the roller The Fix is here to help. Getting regular monthly Active Release work, scraping or cupping work done on your body will help to avoid injuries and perform better. All you have to do is book an appointment and give us 30 minutes of your time. Don’t wait until it’s too late! Learn more about our Active Release sessions here.