Instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) is a manual physical therapy technique, performed by physical therapists using special plastic or metal tools to gently move and scrape against the skin.

There are a number of different speeds and pressures that an IASTM-trained physical therapist may use while conducting this specific technique, and it will be based on the nature of your condition and your specific needs. These different speeds and pressures help relieve pain, decrease inflammation, and promote the healing process. They also work to facilitate a contraction (also known as turning a muscle on) or inhibit a muscle (also known as turning a muscle off).

If you have been living with a painful and/or limiting condition, IASTM will likely benefit you. Contact Washington Physical Therapy today to schedule an appointment with one of our licensed Kirkland, WA physical therapists and learn more about what you can gain from this technique!

What exactly is IASTM?

You may be wondering, “why is it necessary to use instruments in physical therapy?” Most manual physical therapy treatments are done with the hands, but there are many benefits that instruments can bring. For example, these special instruments can effectively break down fascial (connective tissue) restrictions and scar tissue across the body. These instruments are also designed to act as an aid for physical therapists, so they can find and treat affected areas with more accuracy.

When using certain levels of pressure through IASM on the affected muscles, tendons, or ligaments, a mild inflammatory response is initiated. While this may seem counterintuitive, inflammation helps promote the body’s natural healing process, so you can recover and get back to your life faster. This also helps break down adhesions or scars that may have occurred, due to a surgical operation, repetitive use injury, or immobilization. By breaking these down, IASTM allows functional restoration to occur.

IASTM has been proven to help with:

  • Limited motion
  • Pain with movement
  • Motor control issues
  • Muscle recruitment issues

What conditions can IASTM treat?

You may be wondering if IASTM is right for you. There are a vast number of conditions that IASTM can treat, including:

  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Hip pain
  • Ligament sprains
  • Muscle strains
  • Chronic joint swelling associated with Sprains/strains
  • Heel pain/Achilles tendonitis
  • Patellar tendonitis
  • Rotator cuff tendonitis
  • Bursitis
  • Post-surgical and traumatic scars
  • Muscle imbalances
  • Myofascial pain and restrictions
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Tennis and golfer’s elbow
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Trigger finger
  • IT band syndrome
  • Shin splints
  • Scars (surgical, traumatic)

Contact Washington Physical Therapy to get started:

Do you have one of the conditions listed above? Are you suffering from pain? Are you not able to breeze through your daily tasks anymore? If so, IASTM may be for you. Contact our Kirkland, WA physical therapy office today to request your appointment and meet with one of our dedicated physical therapists who will determine the best course of treatment for you. Don’t suffer through life any longer - take a stand with physical therapy!

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