What is IASTM?
Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) is a range of tools
which enable clinicians to efficiently locate and treat soft tissue
IASTM actually has roots in ancient Chinese medicine, as the technique Gua
Sha. However, Gua Sha was actually used for removing bad chi
(energy) from the body and was only adapted as a treatment for musculoskeletal
issues in the last century.
Water skiing athlete, David Graston patented the most widely used manual
soft tissue technique the Graston technique after the frustration he
faced from his knee surgery rehabilitation. He felt that tools and techniques
that were used during his rehabilitation could not accurately pin point the
soft tissue adhesions that had been impeding his rehabilitation process. After
doing lots of research on different therapeutic techniques, particularly
cross-friction massage, Graston decided to use his experience to design a new
soft tissue technique that could help others in his situation.
The Graston Technique is an instrument-assisted, soft tissue mobilization therapy. It is in breaks up restrictions, scar tissue adhesions, and reduces chronic inflammation and fibrosis. Graston has been known to help a countless number of conditions, most notably: tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow, rotator cuff tendinitis, and even Achilles tendinitis.
Graston designed several tools to more precisely pin point adhesion and scar tissue within muscle. Each tool is designed for a specific condition which gives patients a more individualized treatment plan and accelerates their healing process. By using more individualized tools, the certified chiropractor of physical therapist are allowed more pressure control and can give patients pain-sensitive treatment. After several sessions patient’s range of motion should increase in the area affected as their overall sensitivity and inflammation in the effected tissue decreases.
Damaged tissue in the body leads to dysfunctional movement as damaged cells trigger an inflammatory response within the area and which reduces lymphatic drainage in the area and increases the presence of toxic metabolites in the tissue.
IASTM increases proliferation of fibroblast cells, a central component of the body’s Extracellular matrix (ECM). Fibroblasts are activated in response to biophysical strain, such as that implemented by IASTM tools. The pressure, toque, and fluid flow initiate a mechanochemical response from the fibroblasts that work to produce more collagen fibers and reorganize the ECM, reducing overall scar tissue.