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The Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists

Soft Tissue Massage – What is it and why choose it? by Jack MacCullagh, Athletic Therapist

Soft tissue massage (STM) is one of the oldest and most common treatment techniques in a physiotherapist’s toolkit. STM is a versatile and effective method for relieving muscle tension and promoting overall wellness.

What is Soft Tissue Massage?

You might have heard athletes or fitness enthusiasts mention getting an STM to alleviate tight muscles after a grueling week of training and competitions. However, you don’t need to be an athlete to benefit from STM. It’s a great solution for anyone experiencing muscle tightness from various activities, whether it’s from working long hours at a desk, managing the physical demands of parenting, or performing labor-intensive jobs.

Who Can Benefit from STM?

STM is beneficial for a wide range of individuals:

  • Office Workers: Relieve tight shoulders and neck muscles from prolonged desk work.
  • Parents: Ease a tight back from frequently lifting children.
  • Manual Laborers: Alleviate leg and back tension from demanding physical work.
  • Athletes: Recover from intense training sessions and improve muscle function.

Techniques Used in Soft Tissue Massage

At Galway Bay Physio, our team employs a variety of techniques tailored to address specific muscle issues:


Effleurage is a gentle, sweeping massage technique that aims to increase blood flow to the affected muscle, promoting relaxation and preparing the muscle for deeper work. This technique helps in warming up the muscle tissue and easing initial tightness.

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage targets deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. Although it can be somewhat uncomfortable during the treatment, the results can be profoundly beneficial. This method focuses on breaking down muscle knots and reorienting muscle fibers, providing relief from chronic tightness and improving overall muscle function.

Trigger Point Therapy

Trigger point therapy involves applying pressure to specific tender points within hyperactive muscles, similar to acupuncture points. By focusing on these trigger points, this technique helps to relieve pain and dysfunction, effectively reducing muscle tension and improving mobility.

Why Choose Soft Tissue Massage?

STM might seem basic, but its benefits are substantial. It helps in:

  • Reducing Muscle Tension: Alleviates tightness and promotes muscle relaxation.
  • Enhancing Blood Circulation: Improves blood flow, which aids in muscle recovery and healing.
  • Relieving Pain: Provides immediate and long-term pain relief by addressing muscle knots and trigger points.
  • Improving Flexibility: Helps in reorienting muscle fibers and enhancing overall flexibility.

Book Your Appointment Today

If you’re feeling tight and sore from a hard day’s work, exercise, or sports, don’t wait for the discomfort to worsen. Soft tissue massage at Galway Bay Physio can help you feel better, move better, and live better. Make an appointment with us today and experience the transformative benefits of soft tissue massage for yourself.

By Jack MacCullagh,
Athletic Therapist

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