All about IASTM

iastm, rockblades, massage therapy troy michigan, sports massage

“What the heck is an IASTM??” you may be asking yourself. IASTM is Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (yeah, it’s a mouthful!) and Michigan Massage and Wellness is excited to begin offering this valuable pain relief protocol to our treatment options!

IASTM is a spin off of traditional Asian medicine called Gua Sha.  Gua Sha involves lightly scraping the skin to produce light (or in some cases, severe) petechiae. Unfortunately it has gotten a bad reputation, been called dangerous, and some believe that it does more harm than good.

iastm, gua sha

A more severe treatment of gua sha

However, Gua Sha wasn’t used to treat the myoskeletal conditions that plague many people today, but it was used in more TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) fashion and used along the meridians to move the bad chi out of the skin and to help with illness and disease.

What sets IASTM apart is the approach that we use. We don’t follow meridians and the tools are used as an extension of our hands, but with more precision and the goal is to break down scar tissue and adhesions that are causing restrictions in the soft tissues and negatively affecting the movement patterns of the underlying muscles, fascia, tendons and ligaments.  While there may be some ‘bruising’ or redness, you should never walk out of a session looking like the photo above (and if you do, it might be time to up your bodywork regime!)

Using specially designed ergonomic tools, the goal of IASTM is to detect and treat fascial restrictions and adhesions (such as scar tissue or chronically tight, overused, under stretched muscles) and encourage rapid breakdown of said adhesions.

IASTM can be used as an effective treatment for several conditions, including:

  • Neck pain
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Rotator cuff tendinitis
  • Myofascial pain and restrictions
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Ligament sprains
  • IT band syndrome
  • Scars

We are excited to be using Rockblades for our IASTM treatments and currently, we will be offering it in all of our bodywork sessions, whether you are coming in for Lokte Method, Fascial Stretch Therapy or a more traditional deep tissue massage session so if you would like to try it, please mention when booking and bring comfortable clothing (such as shorts and a tank top).

If you have been struggling with pain, movement dysfunction, limited range of motion or just not getting the results that you should be from your regular self care routine, consider trying out an IASTM treatment at your next appointment. This can often be a gentler approach and yield greater results in less time than what you have experienced before.

Bodywork shouldn’t hurt. We live in such a ‘no pain, no gain’ world, maybe it’s time to stop rolling our quads with 45# barbells, or getting pummeled to the point of crying in a massage, or just beating ourselves to a pulp on the gym floor. Get out of that mentality and start respecting your body a little more, and getting the type of work that it needs, and you might be surprised that effective bodywork doesn’t have to hurt!

In good hands,

Rebecca Tamm, LMT