By James Goodwin, PTA, CSCS
Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) has a long history stemming from traditional East Asian medicine called Gua Sha which consists of aggressive “scraping” of the skin to promote tissue healing. The scraping is performed with finely crafted tools such as smooth jade stone or buffalo horn. IASTM is now being used by many physical therapists across the country as a means to help improve tissue health but uses far less aggressive means. Also, the instruments or tools utilized in
IASTM have been upgraded to stainless steel to provide durability, effectiveness, as well as improved tactile feedback for the therapist.
So, why use IASTM? The benefits are many:
• facilitating connective tissue healing/recovery
• releasing adhesions and fascial restrictions
• neuromodulation of pain and tone, which simply means decreasing the brain’s perception of pain or threat to the tissue.
This technique only takes a few minutes and increases tissue recovery faster than traditional manual (hand) soft tissue mobilization/massage.
This technique should be performed without pain and without excessive force; the ideology of less is more, which unfortunately is not the case for some clinics. So, if you are tired of getting nowhere with traditional massage then schedule an evaluation at FPTS and see if IASTM is right for you!