Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM)
This is the use of tools to help clinicians effectively locate and treat patients with soft tissue dysfunction. The technique most likely is the evolution of an ancient Chinese technique called guasha but guasha works on meridians whereas IASTM works directly on a specific muscle or fascial chain. There are many treatment modalities including Rocktapes, Graston and FAKTR.
IASTM is a massage procedure that is rapidly growing in popularity due to its effectiveness and efficiency.
IASTM works by breaking down small fascial restrictions and scar tissue. These adhesions or soft tissue dysfunctions most commonly come from repetitive strain, surgery and immobilisation. From clinical experience over 10 years, I’ve noticed it to be particularly effective on low back pain due to the thick thoracolumbar fascia and its ability to build up dysfunction from repetitive strain.
As in any manual therapy, It must be supplemented with exercise and spinal manipulative therapy to work on the whole kinematic chain to have the greatest long term success.