Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) is effective in treating acute or chronic conditions. The objective of IASTM is to break down scar tissue and/or fascial restrictions. IASTM is effective because it provides a controlled microtrauma to the affected soft tissue structures. The technique stimulates a local inflammatory response in which there is increased blood flow and increased cellular activity.
Scar tissue is responsible for limited range of motion. When a muscle, tendon, or ligament is stressed, tiny microtears are formed. Sometimes when the body tries to repair these microtears, it does so in a haphazardly manner, resulting in a tight bundle within the muscle, tendon or ligament. These bundles restrict the normal glide that is necessary for optimal movement and the result is decreased range of motion or movement that is painful.
IASTM functions to detect and eliminate these tight bundles. In order to heal the area, the bundles must be gently torn apart, creating internal microtrauma. Once the microtrauma has occurred, the body once again begins the healing process. The difference this time, is that the muscle, tendon or ligament is put on a stretch which encourages the fibers to grow in the desired direction.
Typical treatment frequency for IASTM is 2 times per week and generally lasts 3-4 weeks. The treatment frequency varies with specific conditions and the general overall health of the patient. Patients report post treatment soreness and bruising following the first couple treatments.