Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilisation (IASTM) has been around for century’s and has helped many people overcome painful musculoskeletal conditions. This has been attributed to the fact that the instruments offer a great way to scan the tissue, giving the therapist an accurate picture of what’s going on under the surface. The therapist is then able to target the fibrous scar tissue, initiating a healing response.
There is also a neurological benefit as the technique stimulates mechanoreceptors within the skin, sending signals to the brain helping calm the area being treated reducing pain and improving mind and body mapping within the brain.
Seffrin, C., Cattano, N., Reed, M., & Gardiner-Shires, A. (2019). Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization: A Systematic Review and Effect-Size Analysis. Journal Of Athletic Training concluded that ‘moderate evidence supports the use of IASTM in injured and uninjured participants. Specifically, IASTM is recommended for improving ROM in uninjured participants and for improving pain and patient-reported function in select injured patients. However, because of limited and conflicting research, it is not yet recommended for enhancing strength’.
This is an interesting finding especially in the early stage of injury rehabilitation with the main goal of achieving pain free range of motion (ROM). Strength training comes via exercise prescription so we certainly wouldn’t expect to get strength benefits with IASTM used in isolation. In short there are many benefits seen over many studies in the use of IASTM, with interesting research with regards to positive neurological benefits. If you want to know more about IASTM or RockBlade treatment in particular, please feel free to get in touch.