Soft Tissue Mobilization (STM)

Soft tissue mobilization can help the recovery of stiff, painful or over-tired muscles by: speeding up the elimination of waste products and temporarily increasing the local blood supply. STM primarily works the muscular system but can be utilized for scar mobilization and deep friction massage of tendons, fascial tissue, or ligaments. STM techniques are a combination of manual techniques designed to relax, release and stretch soft tissue.

  • Increase in localized blood supply.
  • Autonomic nervous system histamine responses.
  • Increase in flexibility and range of motion through extensibility of connective tissue structures.
  • Stimulate the lymphatic system.


  • Normalizing and improving muscle tone.
  • Promoting relaxation.
  • Stimulate circulation.
  • Produce therapeutic effects on respiratory and nervous systems.


STM techniques should NOT be used on patients with the following conditions unless his or her doctor gives permission:

  • An infection, a contagious disease, high temperature or compromised immune system.
  • An inflammatory condition such as thrombosis.
  • A skin infection, bruising or acute inflammation.
  • Unstable joints.
  • Cardiac condition.

In physical therapy, soft tissue mobilization is utilized with other modalities or exercise. Combining soft tissue mobilization techniques with other modalities may relieve a patient’s symptoms while concurrently promoting relaxation. This can improve the quality of rest and/or sleep which is essential for effective healing.

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