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​Asian Medicine Inspired IASTM

The body has additional routes of chemical and structural communication

If you are apt to integrate Eastern and Western approaches to your Asian medicine practice, you will be pleased to know that there are some incredible theories regarding fascia and acupuncture points.  Helen Langavin has discovered that dry needling will signal a range of neurological and physiological responses through the fascial networks.  This is one explanation as to why meridians do not line up with nerve distribution- we are finding that the body has additional routes of chemical and structural communication much more integrated and nuanced than simply following a peripheral nerve back to the brain.  Langavin and other researchers are bridging the gap between Western Science and Ancient Asian Medicine.  Not that, Asian healing philosophies need to be justified, but rather there can be a "fusion" of concepts that improve the delivery of treatment modalities.

Asian medicine has always has a strong manual therapy component- IASTM tools can be used to perform folk techniques like Gua Sha and also Western fascia based techniques.  IASTM tools act as a force multiplier (the tool edge concentrating mechanical treatment force more specifically) and helped determine dysfunctional tissue along long kinetic chains via a property of annealed stainless steel called diagnostic resonance.  Similar to the way a needle rides in a record groove, the edge of an IASTM tool rides along tissue topography giving the practitioner "feedback." From an energy medicine or Asian medicine perspective the tools "feedback" can be said to amplify energy or chi blockages along meridians.  Here are some other features of IASTM tools:

  • Tools act as a force multiplier, giving more specific soft tissue treatments. The unique profiles of the instruments make contacts that are in many cases more accurate than thumb/finger contacts.
  • Using IASTM tools eases strain on the practitioner.  This becomes especially important when your practice becomes busy and you cannot possibly perform intense soft tissue therapies all day long.
  • By finding soft tissue lesions quickly and treating the dysfunctional area exclusively vs. working "around and around" it, you will save time in the treatment session.
  • Finally, by directly accessing the patients pain sites in the soft tissue, you will communicate (non verbally) with the patient that you are competent and effective as a clinician.

Western Specificity & Holistic
Eastern Medicine

IASTM is an effective therapy to add to any holistic approach

The holistic approach- treating all systems of the patient- is truly wonderful.  But, once in a while, it may be good to focus on the area of complaint with an effective therapy.   This gives the patient reassurance that you are both treating the pain site their body as a whole.  Once your patients see you as the doctor for treating all areas of the body, you will be surprised at the number of referrals and reactivations you will get for extremity conditions like tennis elbow or Iliotibial Band Syndrome.  And if you are already seeing a lot of extremity myofascial cases, you will be impressed with the effectiveness of IASTM instruments.   Here are some top conditions that you will see better results (while making your treatment quicker and less fatiguing).

Can you imagine increasing your caseload and patient satisfaction with more of these extremity cases in addition to your bread and butter acupuncture/Asian medicine patients?

  • Lateral Epicondylitis
  • Rotator Cuff Syndrome
  • Carpal Tunnel/Arm Tingling
  • Biceps Tendonitis
  • Patellar Tendonitis
  • Illiotibial Band Sydrome
  • Achillies Tendoniits
  • Plantar Fasciitis

​​Easy IASTM Gua Sha Fusion

Determine which tool or combination is right for you.

IASTM is not a complicated technique.  If you have experience with any soft tissue approach, you can perform your treatment just like you did with your hands, now with the addition of an instrument.  If you are familiar with Gua Sha you can perform this technique with the benefit of a sanitary tool (vs traditional materials like horn and jade).  And, of course, you can perform Western style IASTM strokes with the same tool. In terms of logistics and use during a treatment session, the minimum time for effective use of this adjunct therapy is about 5 minutes.  Here you can pick two to three treatment sites, perform your choice of IASTM stroke, and follow up with Eastern Medicine protocols.

We have videos you can watch on our Technique Page of four common IASTM strokes. Also, available at the bottom of the Technique Page is the comprehensive Technique Primer PDF with background, theory, descriptions of 8 therapeutic strokes, and references.  Before continuing, don't forget to bookmark this Asian Medicine IASTM page to easily access information later... And, would you think about sharing this page with your colleagues?