Soft tissue release may be performed in three ways: passive, active-assisted or active.
1. Passive. When STR is performed passively, the therapist applies a lock and moves the client’s body part so as to facilitate a stretch.
2. Active-assisted. This form of STR requires the client and therapist to work together. Usually, the therapist applies a lock, and the client moves his or her body part to bring about the stretch.
3. Active. In active STR, the client applies a lock to himself or herself and also performs the stretch without assistance. Active STR can be performed by almost anyone and does not require a therapist be present.
Throughout this book we use common anatomical language. However, clients are unlikely to understand these terms unless they are therapists or health professionals themselves. It takes practice to explain to clients what they are required to do for active-assisted STR without using technical language. Many clients may not understand what you mean if you ask them to invert or evert a foot, for example, or to flex or extend a wrist. One tip is to demonstrate the action you require before making your lock. If you want to give the command of ‘up’ or ‘down’ when referring to a wrist movement, for example, then you need to demonstrate what you mean by those commands. Another tip is to avoid mixing different types of STR within the same treatment. If you start with active-assisted STR, a client may think he or she is required to assist throughout a treatment and may not relax when you want to perform passive STR. However, many clients soon become accustomed to STR and will demonstrate a preference for whether they want to take part (active-assisted) or whether they prefer to receive the treatment passively.