Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization

February 19, 2018

What is instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization? Is it beneficial for you? Continue reading below to find out! 




Instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization involves the use of medical grade stainless steel hand-held tools to manually mobilize muscle tissue. A well-known type of IASTM is called Graston and is used by practitioners where a specific set of steel tools are used in conjunction with heat, stretching and exercises.  It is thought that IASTM provides mechanical advantage for the practitioner by allowing deeper penetration and more specific treatment while reducing stress on the hands.   IASTM can produce positive effects in a much shorter period than friction massage and is also known to have increased vibration sense by clinician and patient allowing for detection of altered tissue properties.



Essentially what occurs in injury is the inevitable production of scar tissue which reduces tissue elasticity and cause adhesion which can lead to diminished soft tissue function and increased pain. Scar tissue can limit perfusion and subsequently restrict the supply of oxygen and nutrients which interferes with collagen synthesis and regeneration of tissues. The largest purpose of IASTM is to remove scar tissue through tissue mobilization. Another method is through microvascular and capillary hemorrhage along with localized inflammation as a result of the pressure and shearing forces produced by IASTM. This controlled and induced localized inflammation serves to restart the healing process resulting in increased nutrient supply, increased blood supply, migration of fibroblasts, collagen synthesis/realignment, and ultimately tissue turnover and regeneration.



It has been shown that IASTM stimulates connective tissue remodelling through resorption of excessive fibrosis by inducing repair and regeneration. IASTM is an effective way to target tight, tender, injured tissue. Studies have show that the recovery rate is quicker with the use of IASTM than other forms of soft tissue therapy. This type of therapy can be painful and soreness can present up to 48 hours after treatment but the benefits greatly out weigh the risks associated with this type of treatment. If you feel that you are someone who may benefit from instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization call into the clinic today and book an appointment with one of the clinicians. 





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