Soft Tissue

This page only includes articles published in the last 5 years.

Trigger points and myofascial pain syndrome

  • A 2015 systematic review of randomized control trials (RCT) found seven studies that demonstrated that myofascial release (MFR) with conventional physiotherapy is more effective than a control group receiving no treatment for various conditions.1
  • A 2016 commentary recommends that due to current thought, in which trigger points feature significant hypoxia, induction of ischemia would be counterproductive and so the term “ischemic compression” should be replaced by “TrP compression.”2

Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS)

  • A 2015 systematic review found that tai chi, yoga, meditation and mindfulness-based interventions reported consistently positive results.3
  • A 2014 systematic review and meta-analysis found that “massage therapy with duration ≥5 weeks had beneficial immediate effects on improving pain, anxiety, and depression in patients with FM.”4

Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM)

A 2016 systematic review found some evidence that IASTM may increase short term joint ROM but that research is still emerging.5

Soft tissue treatment for upper and lower extremity musculoskeletal disorders and injuries

A 2016 systematic review found that myofascial release therapy was effective for treating lateral epicondylitis and plantar fasciitis. Localized massage combined with multimodal care may provide short-term benefit for carpal tunnel syndrome.6


  1. Ajimsha MS, Al-Mudahka NR, Al-Madzhar JA. Effectiveness of myofascial release: systematic review of randomized controlled trials. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2015 Jan;19(1):102-12.
  2. Dommerholt J, Finnegan M, Grieve R, Hooks T. A critical overview of the current myofascial pain literature–January 2016. J Bodyw Mov Ther 2016;20(1):156-167.
  3. Lauche R, Cramer H, Häuser W, Dobos G, Langhorst J. A Systematic Overview of Reviews for Complementary and Alternative Therapies in the Treatment of the Fibromyalgia Syndrome. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:610615. FREE FULL TEXT
  4. Li Y, Wang F, Feng C, Yang X, Sun Y. Massage Therapy for Fibromyalgia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Manchikanti L, ed. PLoS ONE. 2014;9(2):e89304. FREE FULL TEXT
  5. Cheatham SW, Lee M, Cain M, Baker R. The efficacy of instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization: a systematic review. J Can Chiropr Assoc. 2016;60(3):200-211. FREE FULL TEXT
  6. Piper S, Shearer HM, Cote P, et al. The effectiveness of soft-tissue therapy for the management of musculoskeletal disorders and injuries of the upper and lower extremities: A systematic review by the Ontario Protocol for Traffic Injury management (OPTIMa) collaboration. Man Ther. 2016;21:18-34.