Accessibility View Close toolbar

801 Twelve Oaks Center Dr., Suite 810

Wayzata, MN 55391 USA

952-475-4080

Instruments can assist with deep tissue therapy

By David Freidson | Posted: Monday, March 24, 2014 12:00 am

Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization is a physical medicine technique used to treat scar tissue in muscles, tendons and ligaments.

IASTM is used by tens of thousands of manual medicine practitioners (physical therapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, athletic trainers, and occupational therapists).

The origin of IASTM can be traced back thousands of years ago to China. In Chinese Medicine, a technique called "gua sha" was, and still is used. Gua sha is sometimes called coining.

Objects such as a spoon, or metal coin were used to treat conditions in which the blood was stagnant. These items would be rubbed, or scraped over the skin to create "sha" to increase the blood flow. In the medical world, the word petechia is used to describe what the Chinese call sha. Gua sha is still used in Chinese Medicine, usually in the form of hand held plastic instruments.

Fast forward a couple of thousand years from ancient China to the early 1980s when the modern use of IASTM has its roots.

In the early 80s, physical therapist Gail Chamberlin and orthopedic surgeon James Cyriax both published literature on the benefits of transverse friction massage. TFM involves using the hands to vigorously rub in a transverse direction to hypertonic or tight muscle fibers.

The current use of instruments was developed as an alternative to TFM, since TFM is fatiguing on the practitioners hands. The birth of modern day IASTM is due to David Graston.

In 1987, David Graston was dealing with scar tissue following a knee surgery, which was causing him a lot of pain. Graston, in conjunction with Ball State University developed Graston Instruments.

The Graston Technique is considered by most the gold standard in IASTM. It is a patented technique using six stainless steel Graston instruments and it is performed by nearly 20,000 practitioners worldwide.

Physical therapists, chiropractors, athletic trainers and occupational therapists are the most common providers who are certified in the Graston Technique. The list of college and professional sports teams that use the Graston Technique is too numerous for this article. For full disclosure, I am a Graston certified provider.

IASTM is used to treat a variety of conditions. I prefer to use Graston on areas of the body in which there isn't a lot of muscle; such as the feet, neck, forearms, hands and the front of the lower legs.

I use Graston to treat achilles tendon problems, golfer's elbow, tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, neck pain, thumb pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and shin splints.

I decided to become certified in the Graston Technique for two reasons - the effectiveness of the technique and because I wanted to save my hands.

I chose Graston because it was the most studied and most widely used IASTM technique. The Graston website cites that there are positive outcomes in 75-90 percent of all conditions treated and that results are usually seen in three to four visits.

IASTM isn't the most pleasant technique to have performed and I discuss this with patients before I do the technique. Most patients who see me are okay with the temporary discomfort if it will help them to feel better after.

But if you don't like deep tissue massage, then IASTM probably isn't for you. Also, I show people pictures of the petechia, or redness that can linger for a couple of days after a Graston treatment. Some patients don't want to have petechia on visible skin for cosmetic reasons.

There are also contraindications to this technique such as hematomas, rheumatoid arthritis, skin problems such as infection, blisters and ulcers, fractures, open wounds, over cancerous tissue and for those on blood thinners.

I don't advise trying to do IASTM on your own at home. There are several different IASTM techniques out there. And there are several competent providers in this area who utilize IASTM techniques.

David Freidson is a licensed chiropractor and works out of the Synergy Health & Rehabilitation office in Minnetonka. To learn more, visit www.synergyhealthmn.com or call 952-475-4080.

Sign-up using the form or call us at 952-475-4080

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

7:00 am-6:30 pm

Tuesday:

9:00 am-4:00 pm

Wednesday:

7:00 am-6:30 pm

Thursday:

9:00 am-4:00 pm

Friday:

7:00 am-6:30 pm

Saturday:

By Appointment Only

Sunday:

By Appointment Only

Location

Find us on the map

Testimonials

Reviews By Our Satisfied Patients

  • "Staff is always friendly. Dr Dave always asks (and listens!) how I am doing and adjusts my treatment as needed. He is great about letting me know what I can expect from treatments and has referred me to a sleep center and a neurologist for symptoms he felt could be better addressed by them. Best of all, he was right. The combination treatments have me feeling better than I have in years."
    Lisa M.

Featured Articles

Read about interesting topics

  • The 5 Senses

    The 5 Senses The five senses, that is, the sense of sight, touch, hearing, taste, and smell, provide us with necessary information regarding the world around us.1 These precious capabilities enable us to navigate our environment with seemingly instantaneous feedback with reference to our actions and ...

    Read More
  • The Benefits of Sleep for Adults

    Obtaining sufficient restful sleep is an essential requirement for optimal human productivity. Such a practice is a key component of a healthy lifestyle, which includes a nutritious diet, regular vigorous exercise, and a positive mental attitude. How much sleep one needs varies from person to person. ...

    Read More
  • Back to School and Mental Wellness

    Summer is a subjectively fleeting season and school days are upon us once again. For children, this bittersweet time marks the completion of a period of relative freedom and the beginning of a new set of responsibilities. For adults, the onset of late summer and early fall signals yet another turn of ...

    Read More
  • Repetitive Motion Injuries

    A repetitive motion injury (or overuse injury) involves doing an action over and over again, as with a baseball pitcher throwing a baseball, a tennis player hitting a tennis ball, typing at a computer keyboard, and most notoriously, typing with your thumbs on the tiny keypad of your phone. It may be ...

    Read More
  • Left-Handers Day

    Left-Handers Day Left-Handers Day, celebrated on August 15th, was launched in 1992 by the Left-Handers Club, an organization based in the United Kingdom. Since then, Left-Handers Day has become a worldwide event and social media phenomenon. Around the world, approximately one in ten persons is left-handed. ...

    Read More
  • Peak Experiences

    Peak Experiences The American philosopher and naturalist Henry David Thoreau roamed far and wide over the hills and mountains of his native Massachusetts and neighboring New Hampshire. In his masterwork, "Walden," Thoreau famously stated that we must "reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical ...

    Read More
  • Dynamic Warm-ups

    In a common occurrence, you bend over to pick up the pencil you inadvertently dropped on the floor. Or you bend over to pick up the soap bar that has slipped through your fingers in the shower. Or you bend over to lift a bag of groceries out of your automobile trunk. These are all daily events. But on ...

    Read More
  • Summer Sports

    Summer Sports In the summertime, everyone's thoughts turn to the outdoors. We want to get out in the sun and have some fun. Some people do exercise outdoors, such as running, walking, and biking, all year long regardless of the weather.1 For others, summer's warmer temperatures make activity outside ...

    Read More
  • Wellness Gardens

    Wellness Gardens When time is spent in an office or indoors day in and day out, some can lose that connection to the outside world. And that loss of connection can lead to higher stress levels and more health ailments without even realizing it. But when that the gap between office life and outdoor life ...

    Read More
  • Smart Shoulders

    Our shoulder joints have the greatest range of motion of any of the musculoskeletal joints in our bodies. The shoulder joint is really two joints, the glenohumeral joint between the arm bone (humerus) and the shoulder blade (scapula) and the acromioclavicular joint between the acromion (a bony projection off the scapula) and the collarbone (clavicle). The glenohumeral joint is a ball-and-socket joint and the acromioclavicular joint is a gliding joint. ...

    Read More

NEWSLETTER SIGNUP

Sign up for more articles