Treating Fascia with Myofascial IASTM tools or Traditional Hand Contacts?
There are hands on “purists” out there that believe nothing is better than traditional hand contacts for myofascial release, trigger point therapy, Active Release Technique™, Orthopedic Massage, Structural Integration™ and/or Fascial Manipulation™. Well, they are right- the thumb, finger, palm, forearm, and elbow are always going to be the essential interface connecting the healing energy of the practitioner with the structural dysfunctions of a patient.
Can Myofascial tools REALLY offer
more for my practice?
A well designed myofascial tool is designed either for smaller more focal work, or to provide leverage for large deep strokes that will expand your treatment capabilities. A smaller point or edge contact (less surface area) allows access to smaller anatomical targets.
Try as you may, you cannot get your finger or knuckle into joint capsule recesses or really close to nerve and tendon channels. It’s a simple matter of scale. You can’t park a truck in the same space as a motorcycle.
For large deep strokes in the back, hip, & leg you can generate plenty of force with a palm, forearm, or elbow contact. And, these are still preferred with some approaches (illiopsoas or quadratus lumborum for example). But… there are some drawbacks to these contacts- mainly that they are hard to control and physically demanding for the practitioner. A myofascial bar gives you an option to perform a deeper stroke with more control and less effort.
Can it still be a “hands-on” practice?
Myofascial tools are indispensable for daily practice of soft tissue therapies- they are a direct extension of the hand. There’s no reason for not considering them “authentic” hands-on contacts to expand the capabilities of your technique of choice.