Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization ( IASTM) or commonly known as Scraping is a treatment technique using tools which enables clinicians to efficiently locate and treat soft tissue tightness and injury. The technique itself is said to be a modern form of the Traditional Chinese Medicine Technique called Gua Sha. However Gua Sha was not used to treat musculoskeletal conditions but was traditionally applied along meridians to move the bad chi out through the skin. IASTM is a procedure that is rapidly growing in popularity due to its effectiveness and efficiency while remaining non-invasive, with its own indications and limitations.
How does it work?
When tissues get tight or injured, adhesions or scar tissue forms and the layer between the tissues called the fascia gets “stuck” causing pain and tightness. By using the instrument to “scrape” the skin and tissues, we can mobilize one layer on the other causing the adhesions to break up easing restrictions and pain. The technique also allows controlled microtrauma to the affected soft tissue initiating reabsorption of the injured tissue and helps the healing process.
What does it do?
Studies have addressed the benefits of IASTM at the cellular level. Benefits include increased healing response, reduction in scar tissue, increased blood flow, and the strengthening of tissues following IASTM application.
IASTM helps with limited motion, pain during motion, motor control and muscle function.
What to expect?
IASTM/Scraping performed by a trained professional is a safe technique. It feels like a gentle massage which should be comfortable and pain free. When indicated, deeper technique may be used with deeper pressure which may create some light bruising.