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Recover Faster With IASTM

How Does IASTM Improve Recovery?

This week's blog post reviews the research and mechanism behind improving healing and recovery time after soft tissue injury using Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM).

After a  soft tissue injury, the healing process can be facilitated by a small and controlled amount of trauma applied to the affected area by a trained clinician. This 'trauma' could take the form of massage, gentle stretching, or IASTM. This ‘microtrauma’ results in a cascade of healing that causes optimal collagen deposition and maturation (2). New and well modelled collagen is essential for returning tissue to a healthy state.

[one_half] Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) is a valuable tool for the application of this 'microtrauma' to the body's tissue. It can be thought of as if IASTM helps to restart the body’s natural healing response by encouraging fibroblast proliferation and collagen deposition (1). This facilitated healing process is the mechanism that will help you recover faster with IASTM.

Check out our previous blog post to learn more about this mechanism.

fibroblast cellApplying load to the body’s soft tissues through IASTM helps to increase the number of fibroblast cells, and smooth out the arrangement of collagen fibres (2).

The use of an IASTM instrument may improve the practitioner’s ability to locate areas where tissue adhesions that have been caused by poor collagen remodelling (3).

This makes it a helpful modality that may improve outcomes in the treatment of many conditions including:

  •      Tendonopathies
  •      Fascial Syndromes
  •      Myofascial Pain Syndromes
  •      Entrapment Syndromes
  •      Ligament Pain Syndromes
  •      Edema Reduction
  •      Scar Tissue/Adhesions
  •      Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  •      And more (4)



Hammer W. (2008). The effect of mechanical load on degenerated soft tissue. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies. 12, 246-256

McMurray J, Landis S, Lininger K, Baker R, Nasypany A, Seegmiller J. A Comparison and Review of Indirect Myofascial Release Therapy, Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization, and Active Release Techniques to Inform Clinical Decision Making. International Journal Of Athletic Therapy & Training [serial on the Internet]. (2015, Sep), [cited December 15, 2015]; 20(5): 29-34

Silbaugh K. Validity of instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization for detecting myofascial adhesions through secondary diagnostic ultrasound analysis. 2013. Available at: handle/10484/5386.