Soft Tissue for Dummies?

by Sean St. Onge

Wait, who are you calling a dummy? Dummy!

September 18th at 6pm at the INFAMOUS 212 Health and Performance Studio B in the Rumford Center complex, we will be hosting a workshop aptly named "Soft Tissue for Dummies."

I like to think that our workshop, that we have done for the past 5 years, has provided a great service and large amount of education for all who have attended. But me being me, and wanting the click bait, I chose the Microsoft Programs "Books for Dummies" route. So I named this workshop in jest. 


Because that is, in essence, what we try our hardest to provide you with. A literal A to Z on the who, what, when, why, and how often to be utilizing soft tissue release tools. 

But for the purposes of this blog, let's do a bit of an abridged overview.

What is soft tissue, or myofascial self release (SMR)? 

"Myofascial release is a safe and very effective hands-on technique that involves applying gentle sustained pressure into the myofascial connective tissue restrictions to eliminate pain and restore motion. This essential "time element" has to do with the viscous flow and the piezoelectric phenomenon: a low load (gentle pressure) applied slowly will allow a viscoelastic medium (fascia) to elongate." -John T. Barnes PT


Now, in English please...

Self massage is what we are bascially talking about. When I say, "self" I mean in the context of with the use of soft tissue tools that you may be familiar with. Foam rollers, P-Knots, Myofascial balls, sticks, half rollers, Rumble Rollers, Half Rumble Stumble Rollers, paint get the point. 

Here's the rub.
In order for our muscles and bodies to perform the tasks we ask from it on a day-to-day basis, whether training or not, we need some tough love for all the tough work we put ourselves through.

Sit all day at your job? YUP. Immobile hips, thighs, ankles, neck and upper back.

Stand all day at your job? YOU BETCHA. Upper back extended, lots of wear and tear on your feet, tight hips again (chances are if you are standing all day you are not taking really long strides to stretch them puppies out), and extended neck muscles. 

We have many tools at our disposal to help you combat these issues. Of course, if these tools can no longer do the trick, we could outsource you to another professional like a licensed massage therapist or chiropractor. 

In the meantime...

Utilizing these tools, from bottom to top:

FEET: Our feet do a TON of work and rarely get that all too loving massage by our loved ones. So, learn to do it yourself and mill out all of the day's work. Think of the sage advice that John McLean was given at the beginning of Die Hard. 

SHINS: If your feet were in need of some love, your shins will tell you the sequel to that story. These muscles play a huge role in being able to move; sit, run, hinge, squat, deadlift, step, walk, etc. 

THIGHS: If you use your legs daily, these are guaranteed to be begging for some work. 

HAMSTRINGS (back of thigh) AND GLUTES (butt): I know I have expressed the importance for each of these muscle groups, yet if you suffer from low back pain or tight hips, these muscles may be the culprits. If you sit daily like at a desk job, they need love. Just because they are not utilized while seated does not mean they don't need action.

Get it outta the gutter kids, gluteal activation is key for a great many movements we do that may seem trivial, yet they are essential. Getting up from a seated position, for instance, requires gluteal contraction the moment your heels dig into the floor to stand. 


So what my associate is trying to say is...this workshop is going to be really cool. Like you wouldn't believe it. Nothing better than me talking for 90 minutes about nerd-tastic soft tissue release techniques complete with a slide show of internet foam roller themed memes! We really hope you can make it!