What is Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization?

Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) is rapidly growing in popularity due to its efficacy and efficiency, while remaining non-invasive.

IASTM is another option to resolve pain and tightness in the body. It utilizes specifically designed instruments in order to easily detect and treat fascial dysfunction. These instruments work to magnify abnormalities, such as scars, restrictions, and adhesions in the fascia, making it easier to locate and treat the area. The use of instruments limits friction, resulting in certain precision, depth, and sensitivity that cannot be accomplished with hands, knuckles, or elbows.

Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) incorporates a patented form of instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization that enables clinicians to effectively detect and treat scar tissue and restrictions that effect normal function. The technique separates and breaks down collagen cross-links; splays and stretches connective tissue and muscle fibers.

Utilizing IASTM techniques also allow for an increase in the rate and blood flow to and from the area, as well as increasing the cellular activity in the region. The goal of IASTM is to trigger an inflammatory healing response, stimulating the production of collagen as well as proper and pain-free healing.

Benefits of IASTM

  • Decreases overall time of treatment
  • Allows faster rehabilitation/recovery
  • Reduces need for anti-inflammatory medication
  • Resolves chronic conditions thought to be permanent
  • Clients can continue to engage in everyday activities

Common Issues Treated

  • Cervical sprain/strain (neck pain)
  • Lumbar sprain/strain (back pain)
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (wrist pain)
  • Plantar Fasciitis (foot pain)
  • Lateral Epicondylitis (tennis elbow)
  • Medial Epicondylitis (golfer’s elbow)
  • Rotator Cuff Tendinitis (shoulder pain)
  • Patellofemoral Disorders (knee pain)
  • Achilles Tendinitis (ankle pain)
  • Scar Tissue
  • Adhesions
  • Trigger Points
  • Shin Splints
  • Plantar Fasciitis

What is scar tissue?

Scar tissue is a dense, fibrous tissue that affects everyone. It is an underlying factor in many injuries as the collagen proteins grow in a single direction, making the tissue less elastic compared to healthy skin. As scar tissue builds, muscles become shorter and weaker. This can lead to a reduction in range of motion, loss of strength, pain, tingling, weakness, and numbness.

There are two different ways that scar tissue can form. The first way is if a muscle, tendon, or ligament is torn or crushed. The body forms scar tissue in order to “glue” together the torn pieces as scar tissue is a necessary part of the healing process.

The second way that scar tissue is formed is by soft tissue in the body not receiving enough oxygen, also known as hypoxia. Hypoxia is more common than one may think. Poor posture, athletic pursuits, repeated use, and sustained pressure, like sitting, increase muscle tension and result in hypoxic conditions. When muscle tension is increased, blood supply to the area is reduced. Blood flow is essential as blood carries oxygen to the muscles and a reduction in blood flow means less oxygen, resulting in hypoxia. This can lead to free radicals accumulating in muscles. These free radicals attract cells that produce scar tissue. After time, scar tissue begins to affect the surrounding muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and nerves.