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IASTM - Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilisation


Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilisation (IASTM) is an advanced procedure that is changing the way chronic and acute soft tissue injuries are treated. Developed and further enhanced from the Graston Technique® which was the industry standard and benchmark, having been the first to develop and teach instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilisation (IASTM). Since Graston Technique’s® patent expired in 2010, IASTM and its further advanced techniques have come to the fore. IASTM has roots in China and the East as ‘Gua Sha‘ and was first documented in Traditional Chinese Medicine several thousand years ago; using instruments made from buffalo horn to successfully illicit similar outcomes in treatment that have remained little changed in techniques to this day. In IASTM the use of stainless steel instruments allows the practitioner to pinpoint and break down scar tissue and fascial adhesions, which are often the cause of pain and dysfunction. IASTM varies deeply in its depth of application from simple massage/ mobility based techniques aiming at improving general tissue mobility, metabolic effect and general function to a complex soft-tissue treatment system encompassing the lasted research on myofascial pain and movement dysfunction.

How soft tissue injuries can cause pain:
The body is largely made up of soft tissues including muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia. When any of these soft tissues are injured through the cumulative injury cycle, or through direct trauma such as spraining an ankle, the tissues repair themselves in a randomised fashion. This causes scar tissue to develop in the area, and may lead to pain and chronic injury.

While scar tissue itself does not cause any pain, it restricts the range of motion and stops nerves from sliding correctly, and the resultant stiffness often contributes to persistent pain. The pain can range from mild and irritating to severely debilitating and requires effective treatment to heal properly.

How does IASTM and the previous Graston Technique® work:
IASTM and Graston Technique® use specialised concave and convex, hand-held stainless steel instruments. Our certified practitioners brush or rub these instruments against scar tissue, adhesions or fascial grain, in a form of cross-friction massage. This helps to break down the problem scar tissue through re-introducing microscopic trauma to the affected area, which stimulates the body’s healing process.

Some of the conditions that we treat using the IASTM include:
Lumbar strains and sprains
Rotator Cuff Tendinitis
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Cervical strains and sprains
Shin Splints
Achilles Tendinitis
Plantar Fasciitis
Patellofemoral Disorders
Lateral and Medial Epicondylitis.

A  typical course of treatment ranges from six to ten sessions. SPORTS CLINICAL are one of only a handful of certified clinics in the UK to offer the technique. With the increasing popularity of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilisation (IASTM) there are now many different types of IASTM available. At SPORTS CLINICAL we use IASTM and also some of the even newer techniques such Fascial Abrasion Technique (FAT-Tool®)

As clinicians and movement experts, we want to offer our clients the best possible treatment. In order to do this it’s not the slight difference in technique or IASTM instruments that really dictate the effectiveness of IASTM treatment, it’s the in-depth knowledge of the different types and applications of IASTM, and their clinical relevance to the pathological or movement dysfunction you present with. We believe in providing only the best, in-depth IASTM as leading providers.

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