Soft tissue manipulation covers a range of treatments which aim to improve the mobility of stiff, immobile soft tissues and those with poor circulation due to inactivity or increased tension. It is also used to help mobilize scar tissue, thereby preventing long-term recurrence of inflammation. Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) is a new range of tools which enables Physical Therapists to efficiently locate and treat individuals diagnosed with soft tissue dysfunction.
The technique itself is said to be a modern evolution from Traditional Chinese Medicine called Gua Sha1. However, Gua Sha was not used for treating musculoskeletal conditions, but was traditionally applied along meridians to move the bad chi out through the skin. IASTM is a procedure that is rapidly growing in popularity due to its effectiveness and efficiency while remaining non-invasive, with its own indications and limitations.
IASTM is performed with ergonomically designed instruments that detect and treat fascial restrictions, encourage rapid localization and effectively treat areas exhibiting soft tissue fibrosis, chronic inflammation, or degeneration. With our patented VIP PT Method, IASTM is used in conjunction with exercises and other modalities designed to correct biomechanical deficiencies by addressing musculoskeletal strength and muscle imbalances throughout the entire kinetic chain.
How does it work?
Instruments effectively break down fascial restrictions and scar tissue. The ergonomic design of these instruments provides the clinician with the ability to locate restrictions and allows the clinician to treat the affected area with the appropriate amount of pressure.
The introduction of controlled microtrauma to affected soft tissue structure causes the stimulation of local inflammatory response. Microtrauma initiates reabsorption of inappropriate fibrosis or excessive scar tissue and facilitates a cascade of healing activities resulting in remodeling of affected soft tissue structures. Adhesions within the soft tissue which may have developed as a result of surgery, immobilization, repeated strain or other mechanisms, are broken down allowing full functional restoration to occur.