Soft Tissue Mobilization (STM)
Manual treatment of the soft tissues has existed since the beginning of recorded history in the form of massage and manipulation. The primary purpose of these approaches was to treat symptomatic soft tissues. The functional orthopaedics approach to soft tissue mobilization (STM) has been developed not only to evaluate and treat soft tissue dysfunctions that precipitate myofascial pain but also to evaluate and treat those dysfunctions that alter structure and function and produce mechanical strains on symptomatic structures. In addition, STM offers a functional approach for evaluating and improving the patient’s capacity to achieve and maintain a balanced posture, which enhances the ability to learn and perform efficient body mechanics. This approach is integrated into a broader treatment strategy of joint mobilization and neuromuscular reeducation and is coupled with a specifi c training, conditioning, and fl exibility program.
STM is intended to be used as a component of a complete manual therapy program that includes evaluation and treatment of articular, neurovascular, and neuromuscular dysfunctions. The approach encompasses evaluation of the soft tissue system and application of specifi cally directed manual therapy techniques to facilitate normalization of soft tissue dysfunctions. This integrated treatment approach has been termed functional mobilization.