What is Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM)?
Between the muscle and skin there is a layer of fibrous connective tissue called fascia. After musculoskeletal injury or a hard workout (which is really many micro injuries), this layer can develop what are called myofascial adhesions (excessive collagen cross-links). Myofascial adhesions decrease range of motion and can become pain generators when pain-sensitive nerve endings grow into them.
Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM)
The technique makes use of instruments, similar to the ones pictured below, to break-up these adhesions to improve range of motion and mobility. This approach to fascia work reduces friction allowing for increased precision, sensitivity and depth that cannot be accomplished with the hands, knuckles, elbows etc.
IASTM instruments make it easier to detect and treat fascial dysfunction. They magnify the abnormalities (scars, restrictions and adhesions) in the fascia and make it easier to locate the area to treat. Using a tool focuses the force through an area smaller than your finger with less friction. Hence, this allows a more efficient treatment. The goal is to trigger an inflammatory healing response. Therefore, this will stimulate the production of new collagen and proper, more functional, less painful healing.