Often a tightness, a constriction, a pain, is the result of how you hold your body. There is often a feedback loop whereby you hold your body a certain way, this causes a tension, tension leads to pain, so your body tightens up even more in that direction, and you are eventually left with an (unnecessary) muscular imbalance. After years of repetition, the connective tissues around your muscles and bones will themselves hold you in the imbalanced position, locking in the pain patterns, even if the muscles have managed to relax in the meantime.
We will look at how you hold your body, both in a relaxed state and when practising / at work. Imbalances are often hard to see in the mirror, and often they are subtle or only become apparent during the activity we are pursuing.
If necessary and if you are comfortable with it, we can measure and record angles using a goniometer (pictured); we can draw out the muscular patterns on your body; we can take photographs of alignments; we can video movement; and there is a range of other tests.
This can help us see any imbalance in a more objective fashion, and can help with monitoring progress.
Please note that, throughout this type of work, we are focused on you as an individual, to relieve a specific problem that you have brought in. The project is not to recast your body into some theoretical model of "perfect alignment" for the sake of it and where there is no problem.
Soft tissue therapy should be a pleasant experience, whereby your body and muscles and tissues feel they can relax in order for healing and rehabilitation to take place. Whatever your goals, whether addressing a general area of tightness, a specific injury, a wider structural issue, or something else, we will begin by ensuring the body is relaxed and receptive to touch.
To be effective, soft tissue therapy cannot be rushed or forced – it needs to be adagio: slow, measured, fluid, purposive. With a little time and hands-on, your tissues will begin to soften. This softening then allows movement and release. Often we work with the breath, accessing the diaphragm, to help the body relax and allow a deeper impact. This is often welcomed by musicians and singers.
Treatment takes place on a professional treatment couch, generally under towels, with the use of lotion as appropriate.
Some people view the body as a collection of levers and pulleys, that just need to be pushed and tugged into desired positions.
But modern science, tuition methods, and perhaps your own experience, show that the body is so much more.
What an experienced Soft Tissue Therapist offers is the power of sensitive touch, directed towards realigning your body with your purpose. Through this touch, I employ a range of interrelated techniques, such as deep tissue, neuromuscular, myofascial, stretching, broad, targeted, whatever feels right for you.
You may be well-built or slender, sporty or less active, wanting to participate in your treatment or just to lie down and experience, seeking a “hard” or a “gentle” massage, and so on. In all cases we will maintain a sensitive but firm connection throughout, and the consistency in approach is that we will always work adagio.
A Clinical Massage Therapist is there to help bring the most out of you, so that you can bring the most out of yourself. Our aim in most situations is to help resolve an issue, then give you the tools to minimise the chances of its recurrence.
So when we talk about muscular imbalance, about tightness, about posture, the hands-on soft tissue therapy will help directly with relaxing tissues and dissipating any adhesions and stuckness, but you and your body will then do so much more. Manual therapy will raise your level of internal awareness of what is happening inside your body, so that after the session, you can explore and experience more fully how your body is working.
Having looked at how you go about your daily practice and work, we will identify any subtle changes to your positioning and movement that would help relieve unnecessary tensions and that would ensure you play safe to avoid future injury.
And there is more. Imbalance is often the result of strength and tightness on one side combined with weakness and fatigue on the other side (the antagonist muscles). If this is the case, we will identify targeted exercises to help strengthen the weaker side, including light-touch exercise tools where needed, and strategic stretches for the tighter side. We will look carefully at how these exercises and stretches can be built into your daily routine, and I will provide support in between sessions to encourage you to keep up the exercises, if you would like this.
Please be assured, what we will not do is try to fundamentally alter how you do your job or how you play. This is where you and your tutors and coaches are the experts. The Soft Tissue Therapist will simply work with you to enable a smoother, pain-free flow to whatever it is that you already do so well.
Frequently Asked Questions
Could Soft Tissue Therapy and bodywork help you perform at your best?
Get in touch today for a 10 min chat which, if appropriate, may lead to a no-obligation, complimentary 30-min online consultation.
We will run through the issues you are facing, offer as much advice as possible, and discuss potential next steps.