Hands VS ToolsManual therapists use their hands directly on the body to achieve therapeutic results. Majority of bodyworkers believe that nothing can enhance the manual palpation skills, and, indeed, there are some qualities that cannot be replaced by human touch. However, there is considerable evidence that the use of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) is making a difference to therapists and their patients.
IASTM researches were conducted in the early 1990s. And formally this modality was introduced in 1994. The original patented technology, Graston Technique (GT-IASTM), involves the use of stainless steel tools to treat soft tissue dysfunctions.
For some, it may seem an unusual practice for a manual therapist to use stainless steel tools to treat soft tissue dysfunction. However, an application of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization is growing as therapists and patients become more familiar with its benefits. While no physical tools could ever replace all the qualities of human touch, IASTM has its own benefits.
The IASTM protocol is designed to provide an additional dimension to add to the effectiveness of many of hands-on methods. In addition, adequate manual dexterity is necessary for IASTM to be applied successfully.
IASTM ToolsThe specially contoured beveled edges in the IASTM stainless steel instruments greatly enhance palpatory skills. The successful IASTM technique is a comprehensive approach that, based on examination findings, integrates it with a rehabilitation program, including targeted stretching and strengthening exercises.
Soft tissue techniques are applied to treat dysfunction and unless the dysfunction is understood the best of methods may be applied in the wrong place and at the wrong time. For IASTM to be a successful method, a functional examination should always be conducted to determine the right place to use the instruments.
With the use of IASTM clinicians are not supposed to use soft tissue methods only to restore dysfunction.
Recent research is pointing to the additional role of affecting tissue pathology. A mechanical load on degenerated soft tissue is utilized by its effect on fibroblasts and the extracellular matrix. And this has added a new dimension to the treatment of dysfunction.
IASTM is particularly valuable in treatments which rely on palpation of deep fascial fibrotic changes. It is found to be especially useful in determining the direction of fascial barriers. IASTM’s scanning ability to feel can be compared to the use of a stethoscope for the detection of heart sounds.
IASTM Tools Save Therapists' HandsA major impediment in the life of therapists who use their hands are repetitive injuries to their hands and fingers over time.
Most clinicians report that the use of IASTM instruments reduces manual stress in their hands and upper extremities.