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by | Jan 19, 2021 | General

What is IASTM?

IASTM, or Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilisation, is a type of soft tissue mobilisation technique applied using a tool or instrument. IASTM is used to treat soft tissue injuries to muscles, ligaments and tendons and myofascial trigger points. Myofascial trigger points are taut bands of muscle fibres, or nodules within the tissue. The common misconception is to refer to these as “knots”, however it is physiologically impossible to knot something taut that’s tied at both ends! hey compress underlying tissues which can cause abnormal movement, local and referred tenderness, muscle twitches and reduced range of motion.


How will IASTM help?

IASTM will help you by reducing pain, improving function and increasing range of motion through a deeper approach by precisely locating regions of pathology. It does this by:

  • Stimulating a natural healing process
  • Reducing fascial adhesions and restrictions
  • Promoting tissue repair
  • Improving nerve conduction
  • Improving fluid circulation
  • Mobilising scar tissue

What to expect from an IASTM session?

During an IASTM session you will experience up to eight techniques to achieve the treatment goal, whether that would be to improve fluid circulation or aid remodelling of tissue. At the beginning of an IASTM session the therapist will use the tool to scan the region, for example the hamstrings, to identify any specific areas of tightness or stiffness. The area will then be warmed up and once warm the other techniques will be applied to the areas identified during scanning. The techniques are applied for up to 90 seconds per region and then for approximately 10 minutes per site. Localised inflammation will be present after an IASTM session due to the pressure applied during the session, this encourages the healing process.

What conditions can IASTM help?

  • Muscle soreness
  • Ligament sprains
  • Chronic ankle instability
  • Tendinopathies
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • ITB syndrome ­­­­

Why have IASTM vs normal soft tissue massage?

IASTM can be performed as a sole treatment or within a normal soft tissue massage treatment session. It is a more targeted treatment to specifically focus on the injured tissue with the use of a tool.

If you would like to learn more about IASTM or more about what we do in general, please get in touch. Equally, if you would like to book an IASTM session then click here and we would be more than happy to help.


  • Cheatham SW. Does a light pressure instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization technique modulate tactile discrimination and perceived pain in healthy individuals with DOMS? Journal of Canadian Chiropractic Association. 2019;63(1):18-25.
  • Loghmani MT, Warden SJ. Instrument-assisted cross-fiber massage accelerates knee ligament healing. The Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy. ­2009;39(7):506-14.
  • Schaefer JL, Sandrey MA. Effects of 4-week dynamic balance training program supplemented with Graston instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization for chronic ankle stability. Journal of Sport Rehabilitation. 2012;21(4):313-26.
  • Gehlsen GM, Ganion LR, Helfst R. Fibroblast responses to variation in soft tissue mobilization pressure. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 1999;31(4):531-35.
  • Burke J, Buchberger DJ, Carey-Loghmani MT, Dougherty PE, Greco DS, Dishman JD. A pilot study comparing two manual therapy interventions for carpal tunnel syndrome. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2007;30:50–61.
  • Bitra, M. and Sudhan, S.G., 2019. Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilisation in the Management of Musculoskeletal Pain: A Literature Review with Implications for Clinical Practice Guidelines. Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research13(12).
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