It is a therapy that is applied with the hands or with the aid of tools to muscles, joints, connective tissue and ligaments. This therapy is direct to:

  • improve blood circulation;
  • improve elasticity and the slide between the fascial planes.
  • reduces scar tissue and the adhesions
  • Reduces soreness and improves tissue recovery.
  • Improves neuromuscular efficiency.
  • Increases blood flow.
  • Maintains normal functional muscular length.
  • Improves joint range of motion.
  • Decreases overall effects of stress on the body.


Several studies have been conducted from Stecco’s family around the topic “fascia”. They have individuated some particular vector areas in the body, which became vital for a correct motor pattern. Body Fascia seems to be implicated in the Proprioception and Peripheral Motor Control, sending information to the CNS (Central Nervous System) influencing the motor pattern.

Also, anatomical interconnections have been individuated linking several body parts through a sequence of interconnections, so an impairment in the fascia could cause an issue distally from where is the restriction. These anatomical connections in the fascia are called myofascial sequence/ myofascial meridians, etc. depending on the authors.

An example could be a restriction in the fascia (e.g. neck) which could refer the pain distally (e.g. hand), without a nerve involvement. In the case of musculoskeletal disorders appears that the fascia’s ground substance becomes thicker (more viscous) with a reduced fascial sliding.

The soft tissue mobilization through a mechanical, vascular, neurological and receptor effect aims to improve the fascial sliding and elasticity in these areas so that the tensegrity will be re-established.

In nutshell, this should bring back a normal function in the musculoskeletal system with a normal range of movement, normal muscle function, and reduction in the pain. Among these, we find therapies like fascial manipulation and trigger points therapy.


IASTM (Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization):

It is a soft tissue therapy that involves the use of particular tools designed to help the physiotherapist to treat that fascial restriction more efficiently and effectively. They allow using the right amount of pressure to easily treat tendons/ligaments or small structures, to be more efficient (less time and more quality) and to relieve the therapist’s hands.


Cupping therapy:

It is another type of soft tissue therapy that uses tools, in particular, cups on the skin to create suction. It can be used in two modalities: static and dynamic. In the second one, with the use of oil or cream to create a contemporaneous sliding on the tissues whilst performing the vacuum. Cupping therapy as well can be used for the stimulation of acupuncture points.

cupping therapy


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ME Barra et al., Clin Rehabil 2011 25: 339, The immediate effects of via cutaneous fibrosis on pain and mobility in patients suffering from painful shoulder: a randomized placebo-controlled pilot study.

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Huang, C.-Y. At al. (2013). Table 1. Acupuncture in Medicine, 31(3), 336–337. Effectiveness of cupping therapy for low back pain: a systematic review.


Jong-In Kim et al. (2011), Cupping for Treating Pain: A Systematic Review

DOI: 10.1093/ecam/nep035