Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Massage, (IASTM) is the use of a tool to work on the soft tissue of the body during massage. Instrument-assisted massage influences the fascia which is a connective tissue web-like structure that encompasses every bone, muscle organ, ligament and tendon in the body. Fascia is affected by stressors such as repetitive movement patterns which can cause the connective tissue to stretch and bind (like how your jumper looks if you pull or pluck it -the material tightens in that area). IASTM can help break down these bindings or adhesions in the fascia and scar tissue.
IASTM can begin the healing process which lays down new fibres. Combining IASTM with movement patterns helps to organise the new tissue. Like sports massage or deep tissue massage IASTM can also be used to break up muscle adhesions and restore tissue to its normal length and function.
IASTM treatments were developed by experienced medical professionals through years of detailed research. The use of these tools and their effectiveness has been scientifically validated over and over again.
IASTM is another option to resolve pain and tightness in the body. This approach to fascia (the body’s connective tissue) work reduces friction which allows a preciseness, sensitivity and depth that cannot be accomplished with the hands, knuckles elbows etc.
IASTM instruments make it easier to detect and treat dysfunction in the fascia. They magnify the abnormalities (scars, restrictions and adhesions) in the fascia and make it easier to locate the area to treat. Using a tool focuses the force through an area smaller than your finger with less friction. This allows a more efficient treatment. The goal is to trigger an inflammatory healing response. This will stimulate the production of new collagen and proper, more functional, less painful 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
The following are issues that IASTM can help with:
- Neck pain
- Back pain
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (wrist pain)
- Foot pain
- Tennis elbow
- Shoulder pain
- Knee pain
- Ankle pain
- Scar tissue – for example caesarean/hysterectomy/laparoscopy/discectomy
- Shin splints