IASTM - Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization
When you hear the word massage you begin to think of certain things such as lotion, oil, soft music and a pair of strong hands. The term tool is usually far removed from that list, but it shouldn’t be! There are various tools a massage therapist can use to help increase relief and speed up recovery time. One such technique is called Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization or IASTM.
IASTM is used to achieve a myofascial release which is a form of soft tissue therapy where the therapist applies continuous pressure into the connective tissue restrictions to decrease pain and increase range of motion. By using the various tools, the therapist can release trigger points, or knots, at a faster rate.
IASTM is a modern version of the traditional Chinese treatment Gua Sha, which means ‘scrape sand’. Like Gua Sha, the tools used have various shapes that have edges that have a finer edge on one side and blunter on the other. A scraping method is used on the restricted tissue.
The scraping method helps to break down scar tissue and reduce stagnant blood by forcing circulation and bringing in fresh blood and oxygen to the tissue. The tool helps to smooth the muscle fibers which will increase range of motion and allows the therapist to use greater pressure to be able to get a deeper release. With continued use during treatments, it has shown to reduce inflammation and pain as well.
IASTM can be used for a myriad of different issues, but some of the most common are:
- Neck Pain
- Back Pain
- Rotator Cuff Tendonitis
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Achilles Tendonitis
- IT Band Syndrome
- Post-Surgical Scars
- Medial/Lateral Epicondylitis
- Muscle Strains
- Scar Tissue
- Shin Splints
- Chronic Ankle Sprains
Clients who should not receive IASTM:
- The tissue is compromised (tumor, infection, open wound)
- Client is on blood thinners
- Client has thin skin prone to tearing
- Deep Vein Thrombosis
The use of tools during a massage should not be met with hesitation but sought after. The benefits received are worth giving it a try if you don’t have any issues that would restrict you from receiving the therapy method. There is nothing quite like the combination of a strong pair of hands and a good tool.