After reading that title, someone that is familiar with this amazing regenerative treatment may think that the person undergoing this therapy may have had a severe injury or lives with chronic pain. Surprisingly, neither is the case. The fortunate individual to receive once a week sessions of Astym (A-Stim) therapy for an entire year is our staff massage therapist, Fran.
Fran did originally have a mild shoulder injury that was addressed with a few sessions of physical therapy, including Astym therapy and exercises. While receiving one of her last treatments, Fran inquired if the treatment could be performed on the entire body at one time. I responded that indeed it could, it would just take close to an hour and probably would not be that enjoyable. Fran said that she would be very interested in having it done as a maintenance therapy, as well as, possibly preventing future injuries from surfacing. Her twenty years in the massage industry was taking its toll and she was very proactive versus reactive in the care of her health. I was excited to get started as the researcher in me was very curious to see how someone would feel after have this treatment done for preventive measures after a prolonged period.
So, what is Astym therapy you ask? It is a treatment that regenerates soft tissue, like muscles and tendons. It removes unwanted scar tissue or unhealthy restricted tissue that may be causing pain and lead to more serious conditions down the road. I have been successfully using Astym therapy for over 15 years and have seen it work on the most severe cases even after other therapies have failed. One patient that I treated several years ago had a failed total knee replacement which lead her to use a walker for five years. After receiving Astym therapy, she shocked her doctor when she switched to a cane after 2 months of treatments and her pain was significantly reduced. Another recent success story was from a woman who had been to 4 PT’s and spent 6 months receiving massages twice a week only to have her symptoms spread to both of her legs. Finally, after only 12 Astym treatments her symptoms were 85% resolved and she can now sit for the first time in years without pain.
We have countless patients that have responded favorably to Astym therapy for many different conditions. Here are just a few of conditions that respond well to Astym therapy:
Lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow)
Post-operative scar tissue
Rotator Cuff tendinitis
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Sprains and strains
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Prior to starting on Fran, I talked with the Clinical Team of Astym therapy, who have refined and researched this technique. I wanted to be sure there was no contraindication for this extended treatment for a healthy patient.
“Astym therapy’s ability to resolve soft tissue problems is remarkable, and it routinely works even when other interventions fail. We often hear about patients suffering for years and trying multiple treatments without success, and then finally finding relief with Astym therapy.” said Thomas Sevier, MD, the Medical Director for Astym therapy.
One of the reasons Astym therapy is so successful even where other treatments fail, is that it was scientifically designed to address the underlying cause of the soft tissue problem rather than trying to just take away the pain. The body’s soft tissues degenerate when inadequate healing occurs. Degeneration can be caused by many factors, including age, intense use, improper movement, weakened muscles putting extra stress on other tissues and disease. Once degeneration occurs, those tissues are then weak and prone to injury. Most chronic tendinopathies are primarily degenerative in nature. The good news is that Astym therapy works both to regenerate soft tissues and eliminate or reduce internal scar tissue. By eliminating the cause of the problems, the symptoms resolve. (www.astym.com)
I asked Fran how Astym therapy compared to the weekly massages she receives, and she said that the Astym therapy definitely goes deeper, is more therapeutic and feels like a medical intervention versus a relaxing massage. She would not want to give up either one, as they both have benefits. She feels more of a tingling sensation after the Astym process, and she thinks it has prevented some minor tissue issues from becoming major problems, such as a pain in her arch was addressed the same week it started, as was an Achilles tendon issue, an unhealthy biceps tendon and most recently a tendon in her thumb began acting up due to the numerous clients she works on. For Fran, the sessions are usually first thing Monday morning which gears her up for the week. I now could see how this would be extremely beneficial for the many people that sit all day at computers, or have jobs that require constant repetitive motions or even athletes looking to get the competitive edge or stay in the game longer. After seeing the benefits that this has had on Fran, I am now interested in experiencing the fantastic benefits of this cutting edge regenerative technique. If only, I could do it on myself!
Mary Rachford, PT
FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers
1240 Iroquois Avenue, Suite 400
Naperville, IL 60563
SPECIAL OFFER: Mention this blog if you are interested in trying a whole-body session of Astym therapy when you contact our clinic for details.