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  • Writer's pictureDr. Michael Rosson D.C

Recover Faster and Move Better With Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM)

Updated: Mar 28, 2022

Soft tissue injuries such as strains, sprains, or muscle spasms can be excruciating. They also impede your everyday quality of life. A sprained ankle for example, can limit your ability to walk, while a shoulder strain can make working out or getting dressed challenging. Furthermore, the prevalence of these soft tissue injuries is high, which is why we utilize therapies like IASTM in almost every treatment session.

What is IASTM ?

IASTM is a manual therapy technique in which a therapist uses a handheld tool (usually stone or metal) to scan the injured area and detect taut, tender, fibrous tissues. Once located, they will then apply cross-friction massage over the area. Although this can be mildly uncomfortable, it is up to the individuals tolerance to assure maximal comfort throughout the treatment. This process is often done in multiple areas within a given region or until the desired outcome is reached.

How Does IASTM Work ?

The scraping of the tissue is used to elicit a small amount of local inflammation to increase circulation, and increase the concentration of chemical and healing factors to the area. In doing so we can encourage the body to stimulate healing more rapidly. IASTM also quickly increases range of motion and decreases pain by modulating the nervous system and muscle tone.

Depending on the type of injury being treated, your therapist may combine IASTM with other treatments or modalities like cupping, stretching, or chiropractic manipulation. These adjunct therapies can further stimulate blood flow to injured soft tissues, ultimately alleviating discomfort and supporting recovery. You might seek treatment for a soft tissue injury following a workplace accident, sports trauma, or car crash (etc...). IASTM can treat both chronic and acute issues and is used to speed soft tissue healing after surgery, getting patients back on their feet quicker.

Common injuries treated with IASMT include:

  • Sprains/Strains

  • Tendonitis issues

  • Bursitis

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

  • Plantar fasciitis

  • Muscle spasms

If you are suffering from any of these ailments, IASTM may help speed up recovery and minimize pain during the process. It's also an all-natural solution and can reduce the need for pharmaceutical pain medication. For patients concerned about prescription medication dependence, this is considered a significant benefit. Learn more about myofascial release techniques in our previous blog.

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