Tool Assisted Therapy
Tool assisted therapy or also known as Instrument Aided Soft Tissue Manipulation (IASTM). The purpose behind IASTM is multi-factorial. The techniques are designed to produce a healing response from the body to the affected area. This is accomplished through breakdown of the capillary beds inducing nutrition to the tissues of the injured area.
A secondary effect occurs at the site of scar tissue formation. Scar tissue is the body’s way of healing injured tissue. However, scar tissue is not as pliable, or contractile as normal tissue. Under a microscope, scar tissue appears as a plate of cooked spaghetti, where as normal tissue appears as a box of uncooked spaghetti. With the pressure of the tools, mechanical changes at the cellular level can and do occur in order to normalize scar tissue as much as possible.
IASTM is indicated for many different diagnosis treated with Physical Therapy on a daily basis. Originally designed to treat tendonitis, tendonosis, and tendonopathy, IASTM also provides relief and increased functional outcomes in other instances. We have used IASTM on strains and sprains, arthritic joints, chronically painful tissues, post-operative areas with proper scar and incision healing, myofascial dysfunction just to name a few. Side effects of the treatment may include mild bruising along the lines of treatment, and delayed onset muscle soreness. Often times, the patients describe a general warming feeling, or even some tingling in the treated areas for up to 24 hours
Studies have also showed clinical benefits of IASTM showing improvements in range of motion, strength and pain perception following treatment. Melham et al found that IASTM significantly improved range of motion in a college football player following 7 weeks of IASTM and physical therapy. Melham et al. found that scar tissue surrounding the lateral malleolus was reduced and remodelled structurally following IASTM application. Wilson et al found improvement in pain reduction and impairment scale at 6 & 12 weeks following IASTM application for patellar tendonitis.