Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Manipulation (IASTM)
At Burswood Health, our practitioners use a range of assisted soft tissue therapy techniques to treat soft tissue pain and dysfunction.
Can Soft Tissue Therapy and IASTM Help You?
Our experience shows that chronic back, neck or joint pain is usually complicated by soft tissue pain and dysfunction. The term ‘soft tissue’, includes muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, blood and lymphatic vessels.
Most simple muscle strains resolve quickly over a few days with rest. A muscle strain which lasts more than a couple of days, however, may indicate a more complex injury which can then become chronic (long term).
Acute or chronic muscle strain often results in poorly healed muscles and connective tissues. Prolonged muscle tightness leads to poor circulation, toxic build up and reduced oxygen supply to the injured tissues.
Prolonged muscle tightness leads to poor circulation, toxic build up and reduced oxygen supply to the injured tissues. This causes the development of painful nodules and fibrous scar tissue which are called trigger points.
Trigger points are painful, palpable nodules which limit movement, shorten muscle length and decrease strength. Over time, our connective tissue – or fascia – becomes shortened and tight resulting in chronic stiffness and premature ageing. The correct treatment of muscle and soft tissue problems is necessary to ensure optimal strength and fitness.
Some of the techniques we use are; deep tissue massage, trigger point therapy, myofascial release, active release, dry needling, acupuncture, neuro-stimulation, cold laser, and kinesotaping. We also use special soft tissue therapy tools which can effectively treat the pain associated with trigger points and myofascial pain syndromes.
What is Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Manipulation (IASTM)?
A new type of assisted soft tissue therapy has emerged in the past 25 years. Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Manipulation (IASTM) uses a range of specifically designed tools to release adhesions, break down scar tissue, increase circulation and stimulate the healing response of targeted tissue. (Howitt, 2009, Strunk, 2014). The end result is enhanced tissue regeneration and improved healing of damaged, painful soft tissue.
The use of instruments to perform therapeutic massage in a structured way is a relatively new development. The concept, however, is based on the ancient Chinese medicine technique of ‘Gua Sha’. Manuscripts dating around 220 BC describe the use of a piece of jade or shell to ‘scrape’ skin and soft tissues to relieve pain and promote healing. (Nelson, 2013). Gua Sha, like manipulation and acupuncture, has stood the test of time simply because it can be helpful in treating one of the most prevalent health problems of mankind: muscle and joint pain.
In IASTM (or assisted soft tissue therapy), specially designed tools are used to apply pressure along the course of a muscle and the underlying soft tissue. The tools enhance our ability to detect abnormal tissue properties like trigger points, scar tissue, adhesions, and lymphatic blockage. They also provide a mechanical advantage that allows us to achieve greater depth of force transmission than can be produced with the hands alone. (Baker, 2013). The patient can feel the tools working and become more involved in the actual treatment process. The process is well tolerated because we always work within the comfort zone of each person. Importantly, the satisfaction rate is very high because people tend to experience significant results after only several treatments.
Types of IASTM Techniques
In the 1990’s, David Graston first developed the Graston Technique® which uses instruments for the treatment of soft tissue injuries.
There are now about 25 different types of assisted soft tissue therapy methods being taught around the world and each is similar in method and style.
Our clinic uses the Myo-Bar System underpinned by Gua Sha and Graston techniques.
Other Pain You Might Feel
Do you have a pain in your neck? Read more about how we can help you.
What types of problems can be treated by IASTM?
The great majority of joint problems involve muscle pain and dysfunction which require soft tissue therapy.
Some of the problems we treat are:
- Neck, mid-back and low back pain
- Whiplash injuries
- Tension headaches and migraines
- Shoulder problems – tendinitis, rotator cuff injuries, etc.
- Tennis and golfer’s elbow
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Hip osteoarthritis, bursitis and associated muscle strain
- Osteoarthritis of the knee, runner’s knee, patellar tracking disorders
- Leg cramps and shin splints
- Achilles tendinitis and tendinosis
- Plantar fasciitis
- Sports injuries
An assessment by one of our qualified practitioners is the starting point for a well-informed decision regarding the best treatment plan to suit you. We will get to the cause of your problem, discuss treatment options and show you what you need to do to achieve a quick and full recovery. Call us on 08 9361 2628 and book an appointment to see how we can help you.