Myth of Breaking Soft Tissue

Soft tissue is generally defined as the bundles of cells within the body that are soft: muscles, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, nerves, as well as connective tissue, organs, skin, and fat.

If you search for information online about “breaking adhesions”, you will find information about various treatment modalities (such as ART, IASTM, Graston, et al.) that purport to support this myth.

Breaking soft tissue means causing harm and injury.

In this video, I would like to address and dispel the myth of breaking soft tissue.


  • Direct manual therapy technique is never going to transmit into significant forces that will break up soft tissue.
  • Soft tissue structures are simply too strong and tough for a manual therapist to release by physical force.
  • Tightness in muscles indicates tension due to physiological stress and overexcited or hypersensitive nociceptors.
  • Soft tissue manual therapy techniques downregulate our sympathetic nervous system and upregulate our parasympathetic nervous system to promote recovery.