Advice From A Certified Hand Therapist: What is IASTM?

Advice From A Certified Hand Therapist: What is IASTM?

Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) is a soft-tissue treatment that utilizes specialized tools to provide compressive strokes to manipulate the skin, myofascial tissue, muscles, and tendons. The compressive strokes from IASTM help stimulate the healing process to the injured area to aid and speed up recovery. Current research shows that IASTM can effectively treat upper extremity pathologies such as carpal tunnel syndrome, lateral epicondylitis, trigger thumb, shoulder injuries, and other myofascial injuries.

How does IASTM work?

IASTM is a specialized treatment that helps hand therapists target the fascial system to support healing and improve patient outcomes. Fascia is a sheath of connective tissue beneath the skin which attaches, covers, encloses, and separates muscles and internal organs. After an injury, trauma, or surgery, as the body repairs itself, scar tissue and fascial adhesions may also form, leading to pain, delayed healing, and decreased range of motion. IASTM can identify and stimulate scar tissue and fascial adhesions to allow the body to reorganize and help alleviate pain, improve blood flow, improve healing, and increase range of motion.

IASTM Benefits

  • Decrease pain
  • Increase range of motion
  • Manage scar tissue
  • Improve hyper/hyposensitivity
  • Improve circulation

How do I know if IASTM is right for me?

Scar tissue and fascial adhesions may be present in the body for many reasons besides from injury or surgery. Factors such as chronic pain, sedentary lifestyle, repetitive activities may lead to excessive fascial adhesions or scar tissue. Dysfunctional fascia and scar tissue may interfere with function, cause pain, and impact the quality of life.

Hand therapists trained to use IASTM can better address scar tissue and fascial adhesions to support the rehabilitation process. IASTM is most effective when implemented by a hand therapist who will use IASTM treatment in combination with appropriate therapeutic exercise, home programming, and activity modifications.