Soft Tissue Therapy is the management, manipulation and rehabilitation of soft tissues of the body including muscles, tendons and ligaments. It is applicable not just to sports people but to anybody wishing to guard against or recover from a soft tissue injury.
The techniques used by soft tissue therapists have been developed to ensure effective and efficient results are gained from each massage given. Soft Tissue Therapy may:
Improve circulation and lymphatic flow
Assist in the removal of metabolic waste
Sedate or stimulate nerve endings
Increase or decrease muscle tone
Increase or decrease muscle length
Remodel scar tissue when required
Assist in mental preparation for sporting participation
You do not need to be a sports performer to benefit from Soft Tissue Therapy. The benefits above can also help relieve the many day to day problems, repetitive strain injury, sprains, tension, fatigue, that everyone experiences. Many Soft Tissue Therapists work with a great range of clients in assisting with preventive treatment and injury recovery.
By ensuring you use an SMA practitioner, you ensure that you will be receiving an individually tailored, high quality massage. Depending on the type and timing of activity these benefits can be achieved for anyone.
If you are a sports performer, of any level, a sports specific massage can be beneficial at various stages of participation. For example:
Regardless of your experiences in sport or exercise, whether you exercise socially or compete to an international level - Soft Tissue Therapy may have something to offer you.
Members of the SMA will be able to identify anyone for whom Soft Tissue Therapy would be ill-advised or detrimental to their short or long-term well being. They will assess each individual and provide the appropriate massage techniques, and advise on alternative action if required.
What's in a name?
What we as practitioners should call ourselves is a vexed question. Sports Massage Practitioner? Sports Massage Therapist? Soft Tissue Therapist? Remedial Massage Therapist? Sports and Remedial Massage Therapist? The permutations are endless. What is clear is that ‘what we call ourselves’ is an important issue on many levels. It should define what we do and it has an impact on the perception people have of our profession.
We have listened to many points of view over the years, including :
- The use of the word ‘Sports’ is too narrow to reflect our members' client base.
- The use of the word ‘Sports’ puts off potential non-sporting clients.
- The use of the word ‘massage’ doesn’t define adequately what our members do.
- The use of the word ‘massage’ puts off some of our members' clients.
Additionally, the skills of many of our members have developed beyond the ‘core’ discipline of massage and most of our members include a significant number of non-sporting individuals in their client base.We are also attracting interest in membership from other disciplines including Physiotherapy, Osteopathy, Chiropractic and Sports Therapy.
Balanced against all of this is the desire to keep intact the branding that has become so recognisable since our creation in 2002. The logo, the letters MSMA and ‘The SMA’ have become synonymous with the provision of high quality Soft Tissue Therapy.
We believe that the use of the terms Soft Tissue Therapy/Therapist provide a useful umbrella that encapsulates the broad spectrum of skills on our member register. However, how you describe yourself under this umbrella is your choice (there is no protection of title). Clearly we would prefer some degree of consistency in terms of title and Soft Tissue Therapy/Therapist are terms that have been used (particularly in elite sport) for many years, but we can by no means impose this title on you. Ultimately you must choose the title that best describes your personal situation and preferences.