Instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) is an amazing technique for treating a variety of soft tissue conditions. The tools pictured above are what I use in the clinic to treat these conditions. This technique helps to treat adhesions, scar tissue, tendinitis, and any soft tissue restriction within the surrounding tissues in the muscular system.
IASTM is really a modern spin off of the traditional Chinese technique of Gua Sha where husks were used many years ago. Graston technique was the first major advancement using stainless steel tools and a seminar series to teach practitioners how to use the tools. Many more spin offs were created thus coining the term IASTM.
IASTM is my go to treatment option for tennis and golfer's elbow, along with acupuncture and kinesio taping. IASTM is also a great modality to use for plantars fascitis, scar tissue adhesions, and active trigger points in muscle tissue. While this technique causes discomfort while underway, the results are amazing and the patient does not have to take time off their sport or activities.
So what does this do to help heal the tissue?
The scraping of the tissue over the injured area creates a controlled micro-trauma. This initiates the body to re-absorb excessive fibrosis and excessive scar tissue. It helps to begin the proper remodeling process of the soft tissues that surround the muscle and facilitates proper muscle function in the area. I have treated many athletes with IASTM and they report improved range of motion and strength in the area affected immediately.
IASTM is a great treatment tool along with acupuncture, cupping and kinesio-taping to improve performance and remodel injured tissues.