Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization
Updated: May 15
Have you ever heard of or tried Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization or IASTM?
IASTM is a form of treatment for myofascial restriction, which is defined as tension or tightness in the body’s fascia. Fascia is the connective tissue that surrounds and holds things in the body together like the organs, nerves, bones and muscles. A good example of fascia is thinking of a piece of chicken and the thin white film you see on the chicken breast in between the skin and the muscle. IASTM uses tools or instruments that are designed to break down these myofascial adhesions and scar tissue build up in that tissue. This type of therapy can also help with the healing process because it can help create new proteins that are important for repair and recovery, such as collagen.
When we look back at the history of IASTM, there is a direct line to ancient Greek and Roman times when a metal instrument called a “strigil” was used in bath houses for therapeutic purposes. IASTMs have also been used in traditional Chinese therapy as IASTMs are called “gua sha.” The name “gua sha” is referring to the redness that appears on the skin when working with these tools. When you see redness on the skin, it is due to an increase in blood flow, which allows more blood and oxygen into the soft tissues being worked on. IASTM is working on the principles of these two traditional practices. There are many different techniques and instruments that can be used with IASTM tools, but all are working with the same traditional principles. An advantage of using these tools and techniques is that it has been found to help produce positive effects in shorter times than friction massage.
When one sustains an injury, inflammation and growth of new cells start to occur. It is during that time that fibrosis and scar tissue forms. These kinds of changes reduce the elasticity of tissues and can cause adhesions, which creates an abnormal function in the tissue, as well as has the potential of creating pain sensations for the individual. By using the tools available in IASTM, one can restore the normal function of tissue and decrease the scar tissue formation that has occurred.
Whenever you get injured, you want to get back to your recreational activities and sports as quickly as possible and IASTMs can help you get back on your feet sooner!
Call our office today to schedule your next IASTM appointment!