What is IASTM?
Have you ever seen tools being used on a person that just look odd? Often times a medical provider may use IASTM or instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization tool to perform a form of soft tissue work. These tools have been referred to as many names, but the most common are “Graston” or “Hawk Grips”. By using these tools by a skilled practitioner, they can provide pain and improve overall mobility of the body.
A Little Anatomy
The body is made up of many structures that include bones, muscles, and ligaments. However the fascial system is one we do not hear of too often, but it plays an important role as it is found throughout the body. Fascia is a connective tissue found throughout the body that surrounds our muscles, internal organs, and just about every structure acting as a bridge or spider web to hold everything together.
Therefore, if you have a motion restriction it may not be just a joint restriction or tight muscle….the fascia surrounding the tissues may be bound up which may cause a pain response in the body. There is always a cause and effect and many times the location of pain may not be the pain generating source.
How could individuals benefit from IASTM?
Do you ever feel stiff, like you can not just get into certain position, or just bound up? If you can not get into certain positions during a compound movement such as a squat/deadlift/etc you may start to compensate elsewhere. This can lead to a domino effect of your body trying to pick up the slack elsewhere until the point where your body can not compensate anymore leading to…injury. IASTM can help prevent this by helping you decrease tension restricting you from getting into comfortable positions and decrease pain as well.
The way IASTM works is by down regulating/calming the neural system to relax or simply “let go” of the built of tension around the surrounding tissue being worked on. Are we breaking up adhesions that are restricting the body from moving properly? The simple answer is no. While we can make some structural changes to tissues such as collagen, the way IASTM works is by creating a parasympathetic or rest/relax effect. Without some form of movement coupled with this form of treatment the benefits yielded will be short term.
How do I get started with IASTM
Once again IASTM is most effective when used in conjunction with exercise to re-educate the body on how to maintain what is gained from the soft tissue work. Find a practioner in the area who has experience with this form of soft tissue mobilization, as well as the expertise to create long term retention through movement. Pinnacle Movement and Performance has treated a multitude of athletes ranging from those with fitness goals of improving general conditioning to high performance athletes. Let us help you get back to dominating your personal goals!