Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) is a technique that makes use of an instrument with a beveled or flat edge to treat varying depths of soft tissue. The purpose of the technique is to break up abnormalities within the muscles and ligaments, such as excessive or problematic scar tissue that restricts motion. Loose connective tissue beneath the deep fascia containing hyaluronic acid molecules can become restricted following musculoskeletal injuries. The friction and temperature increase of IASTM helps normalize the hyaluronic acid and allow the fascial layers to glide freely. Immediate benefits may be noted after treatment, such as the reduction of pain, stiffness, and pain sensitivity. The benefits of IASTM are attributed to an increase in circulation, removal of lymph congestion, modification of pain perception in the brain due to deep pressure application, and reduction of sensitivity in the treated area due to local release of platelet-derived growth factor.
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A three-step approach used in IASTM:
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