What is Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Modality (IASTM)?
A: The IASTM technique incorporates an evidence-based form of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization that enables clinicians to effectively detect and treat scar tissue and restrictions that affect normal function.
The Technique: Separates and breaks down collagen cross-links, stretches connective tissue and muscle fibers Increases skin temperature. Facilitates reflex changes in the chronic muscle holding pattern Increases the rate and amount of blood flow to and from the area. Increases cellular activity in the region, including fibroblasts and mast cells. Increases histamine response secondary to mast cell activity.
Why is scar tissue a problem?
A: Scar tissue limits range of motion, and in many instances causes pain, which prevents the patient from functioning as he or she did before the injury or overuse of the area.
How is scar tissue different from other tissue?
A: When viewed under a microscope, normal tissue can take a couple of different fashions: dense, regular elongated fibers running in the same direction, such as tendons and ligaments; or dense, irregular and loose with fibers running in multiple directions. In either instance, when tissue is damaged it will heal in a haphazard pattern–or scarring–that results in a restricted range of motion and, very often, pain.
How are the instruments used?
A: The instruments are used to enhance the clinician’s ability to detect adhesions, scar tissue or restrictions in the affected areas. Skilled clinicians use the stainless steel instruments to comb over and “catch” on fibrotic tissue, which immediately identifies the areas of restriction. Once the tissue has been identified, the instruments are used to break up the scar tissue so it can be absorbed by the body.
Is the treatment painful?
A: It is common to experience minor discomfort during the procedure and some bruising afterwards. This is a normal response and part of the healing process.
What is the frequency of treatment?
A: Patients usually receive two treatments per week over 4-5 weeks. Most patients have a positive response by the 3rd to 4th treatment.
Will treatments affect my everyday activities?
A: Most patients are not disabled and continue to perform their regular functions at home or work. IASTM has become standard protocol in universities and hospital-based outpatient facilities as well as industrial on-site treatment settings such as Indiana University and the University of Michigan. The technique is also being used at industrial settings and by NBA, NHL, NFL and Major League Baseball trainers.
What kind of results does IASTM produce?
A: Historically, it has had positive outcomes in 75–90 percent of all conditions treated. It is equally effective in restoring function to acute and chronic injuries, and in pre- and post-surgical patients.
Can anyone obtain the instruments?
A: Only clinicians who have been trained and accredited in the Technique Basic course are qualified to obtain the IASTM instruments and apply the technique to treat patients.