Soft Tissue Massage: Purpose, Benefits, Side Effects, Cost, Time to Work

Ms. Thula Chelvan
Published at: 16/4/2024

Soft Tissue Massage: Purpose, Benefits, Side Effects, Cost, Time to Work

Key Takeaways

  • Soft tissue massage works to relieve muscle tension and pain, stimulate circulation and encourage healing.

  • There are numerous benefits such as chronic pain reduction, stress alleviation, increased flexibility, and improved athletic performance.

  • Though generally safe, possible side effects like temporary discomfort should be watched for.

  • The price of a soft tissue massage can fluctuate and is often dependent on the therapist's experience and location.

  • Some individuals may feel relief immediately following a massage, while others may see benefits over a longer period.

What Is The Purpose of Soft Tissue Massage?

Soft tissue massage is a great way to alleviate the tension and discomfort that can build up in the muscles due to everyday activities, stress, or injuries. It works by increasing blood circulation to the areas that are affected. This helps to decrease inflammation and deliver oxygen and nutrients that are essential for muscular healing and recovery.

Additionally, when your muscles are relaxed, a ripple effect of advantages can be felt throughout your body, such as lessened nerve pressure and enhanced overall bodily performance.

Enhancing Blood Flow and Recovery

One of the most overlooked aspects of massage therapy is its ability to boost circulation. Soft tissue helps to eliminate toxins while promoting the influx of beneficial elements.

Benefits of Soft Tissue Massage

Here are some of the main benefits of soft tissue massage:

Decrease in Long-Term Pain

Soft tissue massage can be a lifesaver for those who are suffering from chronic pain. This type of massage can help to stop the pain cycle by treating the soft tissue damage or inflammation that is causing the pain. It's like pressing the reset button on your body's pain response.

Relief from Stress and Relaxation

In our busy and demanding lives, stress can have a big impact on our bodies. Soft tissue massage provides a break, a moment of peace where the body can rest and the mind can let go. The reduction of tension in the muscles often results in a decrease in symptoms related to stress, like headaches and insomnia.

Improving Flexibility and Range of Motion

We often don't appreciate our ability to move freely until it's hindered in some way. Massage techniques that work on stretching and manipulating the soft tissues can help to preserve and even enhance flexibility and range of motion. This is particularly beneficial for people who are active or are recovering from an injury. 

Boosted Sports Performance

For athletes, soft tissue massage can be a game-changer. Regular massages can boost athletic performance by increasing flexibility, decreasing muscle pain, and speeding up recovery time after workouts and competitions.

Soft Tissue Massage: Purpose, Benefits, Side Effects, Cost, Time to Work

Potential Side Effects of Soft Tissue Massage

Now, let's see the potential side effects that one might feel after getting a soft tissue massage.

Usual Aches After Massage

Feeling a little sore after a soft tissue massage is normal, especially if your muscles are very tense or knotted up. This soreness is usually mild and goes away in a day or two. It's just your body's natural way of adjusting to the changes in muscle tension and circulation. 

However, it's important to keep in mind that, while a little discomfort is to be expected, pain is not. You should feel relief after a massage, not increased discomfort. 

When to See the Doctor

If you're in pain, have a lot of swelling, or have any other strange symptoms after a massage, you should see a doctor. These could be signs that something more serious is happening that needs to be looked at by a doctor.

Primarily, if you have a pre-existing medical condition, it's essential to have a conversation with your doctor about massage therapy to make sure it's safe for you.

Cost of Soft Tissue Massage

The cost of a soft tissue massage can fluctuate based on the experience of the massage therapist, the duration of the massage, and where you live.

Factors Influencing the Costs of Soft Tissue Massage

The cost of a soft tissue massage session can vary depending on several key considerations. Understanding these factors empowers you to make informed decisions when selecting a health practitioner and budgeting for your treatment.

  • Therapist Qualifications and Experience: LMTs with extensive experience and specialized certifications, such as Myofascial Release Therapy, Sports Massage Therapy, or Trigger Point Therapy, often command higher fees. These credentials signify additional training and expertise in specific areas, potentially justifying a premium cost. Conversely, recently licensed LMTs may offer more competitive rates.

  • Geographic Location: Urban areas with a higher cost of living typically see massage sessions priced at the upper end of the spectrum compared to rural locations. This variation reflects factors like the overhead costs associated with maintaining a practice space and the general economic climate of the region.

  • Session Duration: The length of your massage session directly impacts the total price. Most LMTs offer tiered pricing based on session duration. Longer sessions (typically 90 minutes or 2 hours) cost more than shorter ones (30 or 60 minutes).

Estimated Cost Ranges

Taking these factors into account, here's a breakdown of the typical cost range for soft tissue massage sessions:

Therapist Qualifications:

  • Experienced LMT with advanced certifications: $100-$150 per hour

  • Recently licensed LMT: $50-$80 per hour

Geographic Location:

  • Major metropolitan area: $80-$150 per hour

  • Rural area: $50-$100 per hour

Session Duration:

  • 30-minute massage: $40-$70

  • 60-minute massage: $60-$120

  • 90-minute massage: $90-$150

  • 2-hour massage: $120-$200

How Long Does It Take for Soft Tissue Massage to Work?

While others might need a few sessions of soft tissue massage before they notice a big difference, Some people can experience relief right away.

Quick Relief vs. Prolonged Healing

Many individuals feel immediate relief from aches and stiffness after a single massage. However, for chronic musculoskeletal conditions, such as myofascial trigger points, chronic low back pain, or osteoarthritis, multiple sessions are usually suggested for lasting benefits.

What Determines the Length of Treatment?

There are a number of factors that can determine how quickly your body responds to soft tissue massage, such as:

  • Your general health and level of physical fitness

  • The type and seriousness of the ailment being addressed

  • The frequency of your massage treatments

  • Your way of life and the amount of stress you're under

When it comes to massage therapy, it's important to stick to a regular schedule. Regular treatments can help keep the benefits going and stop pain or tension from coming back.

MSK Doctors for Your Soft Tissue Massage

Soft tissue massage offers a range of benefits for your overall health and well-being. Studies have shown it can be effective in reducing pain and muscle tension, improving range of motion, and promoting relaxation. Additionally, massage therapy can help manage specific conditions like chronic low back pain, headaches, and sports injuries.

At MSK Doctors, we understand that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work when it comes to musculoskeletal health. That's why we offer a network of highly trained musculoskeletal specialists to provide a variety of treatments tailored to your specific needs.

Contact us today to learn more about soft tissue massage and overall health improvement.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is Soft Tissue Massage Effective for Acute Injuries?

Indeed, soft tissue massage can assist with acute injuries by lessening inflammation, enhancing circulation, and relieving pain. Nonetheless, it's essential to hold off until the acute phase of the injury is over and to obtain permission from a healthcare provider before starting massage therapy.

Can Anyone Get a Soft Tissue Massage?

Generally, soft tissue massages are safe for the majority of people. However, if you have deep vein thrombosis, severe osteoporosis, or open wounds, you should be careful. If you have any health concerns, always check with a healthcare provider.

What Is the Recommended Frequency for Soft Tissue Massages?

The answer to this question largely depends on the person's individual needs and goals. Some people may only need a soft tissue massage once a month to maintain their overall well-being. However, those dealing with more specific issues or chronic pain may need to have a soft tissue massage once a week or every other week at first.

Does Soft Tissue Massage Help with Recovery After Surgery?

Soft tissue massage can help with recovery after surgery by improving blood flow, reducing the formation of scar tissue, and increasing mobility. However, it's important to get approval from your surgeon before starting massage therapy to make sure it's suitable for your stage of healing.

How is Soft Tissue Massage Unique from Other Massage Styles?

Unlike other massage styles, soft tissue massage specifically targets muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The techniques used in this massage style are designed to reach the deeper muscle layers, which is a stark contrast to a Swedish massage, which is more about relaxation than therapeutic benefits.


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