IASTM is Essential for Massage Therapists
Ease up the stress on your body with IASTM
Massage therapists, more than any other manual therapy profession have the tactile/palpation skill set to perform truly miraculous soft tissue therapies. Why? because you've been evaluating myofascial dysfunction, and dare I say, "diagnosing" with real hands on contact. Although, trained as a DC, I gave up trying to find spinal subluxations my first year of practice (don't tell my colleagues). I started to learn myofascial work and began relating my patients pain syndromes with fibrous tissue, trigger points, fascial restrictions, etc.
Lo and behold! Not only were the patients amazed that I could pinpoint the source of their pain, but case resolution time improved significantly. But, whew! performing intense deep tissue work all day was exhausting. How could I ease up the stress on my body and perform soft tissue therapy all day? The answer was instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization- IASTM. (Of course, we are talking about supplementing your sessions with IASTM approaches in small focal targets, or deep tissue targets, not minimizing or forsaking real hands-on therapy).
IASTM instruments are a group of profiled edge tools that act as a force multiplier (the tool edge concentrating mechanical treatment force more specifically), and help 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."
With better feedback and mechanical advantage, I no longer dreaded that muscular athlete client at the end of the day. Want me to go deeper? Work into the quads a little longer? No problem! We'll be using Myo-Bar myofascial tools today. To recap, the key advantages of IASTM tools are as follows:
Is IASTM in Your Scope of Practice?
IASTM is an effective therapy to add to any holistic approach
Younger massage therapists especially, have a limiting belief or fear about expanding their skills into the realm of pain syndromes. Why? Myofascial dysfunction occurs on a continuum, starting with mild tightness/soreness and progressing into pain, weakness, & numbness/tingling. But treatment for both mild and more severe symptomatic myofascial dysfunction is the SAME. You determine the restricted tissues and preform treatment restore function.
That said, treating the myofascial dysfunction related to common diagnoses is absolutely within your scope of practice as a massage therapist. No, you cannot give a patient the medical diagnosis- those are reserved for physicians looking at radiographic/MRI pictures who have never touched a patient's pain site in all their years of practice.
When it comes to IASTM tools, they are categorized just like any other massage aide; stones, trigger point tools, rollers, Asian Medicine cups, gua sha tools, etc. If you are hearing differently- that IASTM tools are in a "special' category- it is usually by a DC or PT colleague who may be threatened by you practicing this powerful adjunct soft tissue technique. If you have any more questions on this issue, please contact me. But before that...
Can you imagine increasing your client base, improving client satisfaction, and getting more referrals for myofascial pain syndromes?
ique Integration for
Effective use of this adjunct therapy is 5 minutes.
IASTM is not a complicated technique. For any soft tissue approach, you can perform your treatment just like you did with your hands, now with the addition of an instrument as an extension of your traditional contacts. In terms of logistics and use during a treatment session, the minimum time for effective use of this adjunct therapy is about 5 minutes.
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 IASTM page to easily access information later... And, would you think about sharing this page with your Massage Therapy colleagues?