Soft Tissue Manipulation: A Powerful Form of Mechano therapy

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This short review provides an important perspective on soft tissue manipulation/mobilization (STM) as a powerful and direct form of mechano therapy, which has significant implications in physical rehabilitation, disease prevention and health promotions. STM, e.g. therapeutic massage, whether administered by hand alone or with a rigid device, is a type of manual therapy frequently used by clinicians worldwide to address common musculoskeletal pain disorders. It is a type of mechano therapy which applies non-invasive mechanical stimuli to the surface of the body so as to influence molecular, cell and tissue structure and function via mechano transduction, ultimately leading to improved clinical outcomes.

Soft Tissue Manipulation

A brief overview of mechano transduction is provided, with a focus on the ECM-integrin cytoskeleton pathway, and the impact of STM mechanical stimulus on different tissue types are considered in this article. On-going research is suggested to further validate STM as a viable, cost-effective treatment option in an aging population and the clinical relevance of STM is discussed. STM intervention should be approached as a prescription, a targeted and precise form of mechano therapy in which optimal dose pressures and frequencies are delivered to achieve desired outcomes and advance the field of soft tissue manual therapies.

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