What the heck is that? Other than a funny sounding acronym it is something that could help you a lot. IASTM stands for instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization. We use IASTM in a completely painless way that should improve your range of motion, your quality of motion, or improve your pain with motion. IASTM works on the myofascia (the connective tissue between the muscles and the skin) , the nervous system, and how the nervous system controls the myofascia, skin, muscles, etc. If there are any adhesions below the skin the metal tool makes it easier to detect those adhesions or scar tissue, work them out, and get you moving better. The instrument is a 5 sided tool with 2 beveled edges. The sides can be adjusted to be more or less aggressive or to work on smaller areas such as bony contours around your knuckles. One of the beveled edges is designed for scanning the skin for adhesions or resistance to light pressure, while the other is designed
for a slightly deeper tissue massage.
IASTM can be used for most conditions but isn’t helpful with all conditions. Research has shown it to increase healing and recovery for many conditions (research displayed below numbered 1-6). It is difficult to tell if your tissues are tight and need the treatment. However if you feel you’re tissues are tight or would you would like this form of treatment please ask your therapist as it is much easier to determine if someone else’s tissues would benefit from this.
Loghmani MT, Warden SJ. Instrument-Assisted Cross Fiber Massage Increases Tissue Perfusion and Alters Microvascular Morphology in the Vicinity of Healing Knee Ligament. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2013, 13:240.•Schaefer JL, Sandrey MA. Effects of a 4-Week Dynamic-Balance-Training Program Supplemented With Graston Instrument-Assisted Soft-Tissue Mobilization for Chronic Ankle Instability. J Sport Rehabil. 2012, 21(4): 313-326.
Schaefer JL, Sandrey MA. Effects of a 4-Week Dynamic-Balance-Training Program Supplemented With Graston Instrument-Assisted Soft-Tissue Mobilization for Chronic Ankle Instability. J Sport Rehabil. 2012, 21(4): 313-326.
Holtz BJ, Davey K, Engleman N, Kaeser C, Wood-Vossmer K, Bayliss AJ, Loghmani MT. A Conservative Manual Therapy Approach Using Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization For The Treatment of Bilateral Plantar-Fasciitis: A Case Series. Third International Fascia Research Congress. Vancouver (BC). 2012 Mar.
4) Loghmani MT (PT, PhD, MTC); Warden SJ (PhD). Instrument-assisted cross fiber massage alters regional microvascular morphology in healing knee ligaments suggesting possible angiogenesis. APTA Combined Sections Meeting [platform presentation]. New Orleans (LA). 2011 Feb.
5) Loghmani MT, Warden SJ. Instrument-assisted cross-fiber massage accelerates knee ligament healing. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy (JOSPT). 2009 Jul;39(7):506-514.
6) Hammer W. The use of transverse friction massage in the management of chronic bursitis of the hip and shoulder. JMPT. 1993 Feb;16(2):107-111.
Jamie Bovay, DPT, CSCS