What is Soft Tissue Therapy?
The soft tissues of the body include the muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia. These muscles undergo tremendous wear and tear throughout our daily lives, especially if we adopt poor lifestyle habits such as prolonged sitting and not performing correct strength and conditioning. This results in chronic muscle imbalances whereby some muscles become overworked, underworked, too short, or too long. If not corrected, these imbalances often result in injury and general aches and pains. Furthermore, pain can often be referred to another area of the body, as quite often, where the pain is, the problem isn't! A key reason for this is the influence of fascia, which is the connective tissue that links the body together. Therefore, a vital focus of my practice is examining the key lines of fascial tension throughout the body, and releasing off areas of tightness - as tightness is not always muscular in nature. This holistic, global approach is something that is often missing from many practices!
How is Soft Tissue Therapy Practiced?
There are many different ways to influence the soft tissues in the body. Previously, I have gone by the title of 'Sports Massage Therapist', as Sports Massage Therapy is perhaps the main method I use in practice. However, I eventually found this to unrepresentative of what I do and the scope of my specialist expertise. After all, I do not just provide a 'massage', and the 'Sports' element implies you have to be an athlete to benefit, which is definitely not the case! After all, since when do you need to be an athlete to suffer from aches and pains? Therefore, I have now chosen the title of Soft Tissue Therapist, as along with a large variety of sports massage techniques, there are many other methods that I incorporate into my practice to tackle muscle imbalances, which include posture assessments, strength and conditioning, stretching, osteopathic articulation techniques, gait analysis, personal training and sports taping. This is all made possible through my degree in Sport and Exercise Science, and my Biomechanics related master's degree, amongst other qualifications. I also plan on adding other services in the future, so watch this space! All of my services can be read about on their own separate pages on my website, but when you read about them, do remember to consider the holistic approach I take, as it is important to consider the body as a whole rather than honing in on specific areas of symptoms!
The 'Holistic Approach'
There are many benefits of sports massage, but it is important to highlight the limitations on how most other practitioners use this service. As I have mentioned elsewhere on this site, I take a more holistic approach to treating bodily pain and dysfunction. This is because the body is an interconnected structure, and it is only by treating it as such that we can really address the true cause of your issue. In almost all cases I see, the cause of an issue is in a different place to where the pain lies. The body is simply good at compensation and transmitting tension through its connective tissue. Therefore, if the back hurts, it is likely a problem with the hamstring, if the pain exists in the knee, the foot or hip may be the culprit - the list goes on... Therefore this knowledge of the interconnected body simply renders the symptoms-based approach taken by most practitioners much less effective. This is essentially the 'bury your head in the sand approach', as the problem is never solved, and you simply learn to mask it - much like taking painkillers! Quite often I receive requests for a back and shoulder massage, because that is where the pain lies, but I always strive to encourage my patients to get the most out of their treatment by exploring the culprit areas. After all, if all we needed to do to truly solve an ailment was to rub the area that hurts, there would be no need for healthcare professionals at all!
What to Expect:
This first appointment is longer than the others to allow extra time for the background history relevant to the patient's biomechanics to be recorded. Following this, a biomechanical assessment will be performed, followed by relevant sports massage treatment to relieve the pains/tightness specific to the patient. Lastly; and perhaps most crucially, suitable aftercare advice will be given to ensure improvement of the problem can be made outside of appointment times.
Although every effort is made to correct a patient's dysfunction as quickly as possible, it is likely that at least one follow-up appointment will be recommended to monitor the improvement of a complaint and to offer further treatment. After all, a biomechanical improvement should be thought of as a process, rather than a quick fix whereby the longevity of any improvement will be extremely limited. These appointments will usually consist of a short consultation for familiarisation of any new developments, followed by further sports massage treatment to aid the dysfunction further. Patients should feel a significant improvement in their level of pain, tightness or level of sporting performance after the biomechanical treatment has run its course, making them feel as though they don't need to book in as often for follow-up treatment. However, despite this, many individuals feel a benefit from booking in from time to time for sports massage treatment in an 'MOT' capacity to prevent the return or development of new tightness/injuries. After all, even with perfect biomechanics, the body will still eventually tighten, particularly if the individual does a lot of sport!
Length of follow-up appointment:
A typical follow-up session is approximately 1 hour in length. To realistically give enough time to cover everything in good detail, I would recommend 1 hour follow-ups for most of my clients, based upon the level of dysfunction I typically see in clients.
However, some customers may choose to opt for a 30 minute follow-up session. 30 minute sessions are available on Mondays and Tuesdays at Melton Wellness House, on Fridays at Race Hub, or as a mobile session within Melton Mowbray itself only (normal travel radius only applies with two-together option).
*Please note that, unless stated otherwise, it will be assumed that any clients booking in for a follow-up session wish to have the standard 1 hour session.