Brief History of IASTM (instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization) And, What will the Future Bring for this Niche Therapy.
Massage aides are an intuitive extension of the human hand recognized by nearly all cultures over a vast range of historical periods. Gua Sha tools and Asian medicine “cups” go back hundreds even thousands of years. T-Bars, Trigger Point tools, and roller massage tools have become common in the West for over 50 years.
How & where did IASTM develop in America?
In the USA around the mid 1990’s a diverse group including a recreational athlete and his friend, a Ball State University medical researcher, and a venture capitalist were involved in the development of the first medial quality stainless steel edge tools. They disbanded within a short time to pursue their own individual interests in the market. Their prospective companies did well to promote the widespread use of quality instruments as aides for manual therapy based on a Cyriax rationale of micro-trauma and tissue remodeling.
Where has it gone from there?
Ball State University medical researchers, along with independent clinicians like Warren Hammer, Tom Hyde, and Terry Loghmani contributed much to the published research and professional education concerning the IASTM clinical protocols in widespread use from 2000-2010. Recently, with improving science-based rationales for manual therapy centered on the study of fascia, there has been a growing interest in practicing manual therapies by numerous professions worldwide.
What can we expect from IASTM?
Anyone can guess what the future will bring regarding this niche technique. I’m guessing that by improving access to the smaller scale of anatomical structures, and by easing strain to the practitioner when treating the larger scale of myofascial anatomy, IASTM will continue to evolve as an essential manual therapy approach.