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IASTM Feature Articles

Below you will find feature research articles written by a diverse group of authors that are key in the manual therapy world.   It is highly recommended that you download these articles and read them at your convenience.

Along the side bar you will find blog articles written by Matthew Hajzl, DC about various clinical topics and issues related to instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization.

Research Articles

Rationale for IASTM overlaps with the underpinnings of manual therapy in general.   IASTM is manual therapy.   Circulation/blood chemistry, fascia, trigger points, fibrous adhesions, scar tissue, joint mobility, proprioception, acupuncture meridians, and the extracellular matrix are all areas of focus in research related to manual therapy.

With specific regard to IASTM the newest most comprehensive research to support clinical effectiveness, and help clinicians direct treatment intervention come from the following:

  1. Structural Integrationists– this group has made fascia a focus for forty years based on the initial work of Ida Rolf (who in turn was influenced by osteopath Andrew Still).   Excellent research and teaching materials have be put forth recently by Thomas Findley, Robert Schliep,   Tom Myers, and many others.
  2. Trigger Point Researchers– these elusive entities have played a pivotal role in the myofascial discussion for decades, yet it seems that there are often attempts at “disproving” their existence. Look to the quality work offered by Jay Shah, John McPartland, Robert Gerwin, Jan Dommerholt and others to guide the discussion of treating trigger points in manual therapy.
  3. The Fascial Manipulation® Association– Luigi Stecco, his son Antonio, his daughter Carla, and other members of the worldwide Fascial Manipulation Association have put together tremendous original research related to fascial anatomy, diagnostic evaluation, and treatment intervention. Their hyaluronic acid hypothesis for fascial dysfunction is a welcome explanation for the “restrictions” that are often encountered when palpating soft tissues.
  4. Helene Langevin a much updated view of connective tissue and fibroblastic activity (compared to earlier scar tissue and remodeling theories of Cyriax). New concepts are offered like mechanical signaling, microtubule force transmission, fibroblast response to fascial stretch, and the manual therapy component of acupuncture and dry needling.

From the above, the theory that best supports IASTM will be related to the method in which you use your tool(s). IASTM is not a stand alone treatment. It potentiates other techniques by increasing the range and depth of manual contacts.

At the end of the day, it’s certainly important to understand the scientific rationale for soft tissue treatment. However, it will be your improved clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction that will ultimately justify this treatment approach.

For the academics, students, and myofascial aficionados who want to be up to date with current science of IASTM and soft tissue therapy, in general, these are must read articles. All available in PDF’s in a zip file by clicking below.