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IASTM stands for “Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Manipulation”, and may also be called ASTYM, Gua Sha, Coining, Spooning, Scraping, or Graston. Both ASTYM and Graston are specific brands of IASTM and are based on Traditional Chinese Medicines (TCM) technique called Gua Sha and Coining, Spooning, and Scraping denote the specific tool used for the Gua Sha application. IASTM is typically used in an orthopedic or therapeutic setting (like PT, Massage, Chiropractic, etc). Gua Sha is traditionally used in conjunction with Acupuncture to treat the whole system and stimulate the bodies natural healing faculties. The tools do not replace the hands of a PT, Massage Therapy, or any other type of rehabilitative care, but adds another option in a therapist’s resources.
IASTM was originally designed to treat tendonitis, tendonosis, and tendonopathy, IASTM also provides relief and increased functional outcomes in other instances. IASTM is effective on strains and sprains, arthritic joints, chronically painful tissues, post operative areas with proper scar and incision healing, myofascial dysfunction, hypertonicities, adhesions, restricted ROM just to name a few. Side effects of the treatment may include mild marking along the lines of treatment, and delayed onset muscle soreness, similar to a post workout response or a deep tissue massage. Often times, your client will describe a general warming feeling, or even some tingling in the treated areas for up to 24 hours.
The purpose behind IASTM/Gua Sha is multi-factorial. The techniques are designed to stimulate the healing response in the body. This is accomplished through a therapeutic micro trauma by breaking down adhesions and/or scar tissue as well as increasing circulation and nutrition delivery to the treated area in exactly the way that traditional massage affects change. In many cases IASTM/Gua Sha provides instant pain relief, increases ROM, and restores circulation of blood and oxygen.
IASTM is particularly effective at treating scar tissue, adhesions, and hypertonicities. Scar tissue is the body’s way of healing injured tissue quickly and securely through a dense mesh like pattern of tissue. However, scar tissue is not as pliable or as contractile as normal tissue. 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.
In addition to scar tissue treatment, IASTM is highly effective in treating a whole verity of soft tissue issues from hypertonicities to adhesions, acute to chronic stages of inflammation, as an effective preventative intervention as well. IASTM is not a “cure all” however when integrated into a holistic approach to healing the body, it is an essential component that helps bridge the gap found in many approaches to health and wellbeing. IASTM is the perfect complementary modality to deep tissue, ROM/stretching, Massage Cupping, Chiropractic, PT, etc.
In this 8-hour class you will learn the fundamentals of IASTM/Gua Sha and how to treat conditions such as tendonitis/tendonosis, sprains/strains, trigger points, hypertonicities, adhesions, as well as MFR, scar tissue treatments, even cosmetic and relaxation applications. This class is an integration of an Eastern and Western approach, both system wide uses as well as specific uses to treat local conditions or injuries.
The greatest effects from IASTM are experienced when the practitioner is aware of the fascial connections up and down stream from the affected area, and can treat an entire limb, as opposed to spot treating. For example, when treating an elbow problem it is expected that the clinician treat up into the shoulder and down into the wrist and hand every visit. Important to note is that in order to achieve maximum results with IASTM, a comprehensive exercise/PT program is necessary to stress the affected tissues and remodel the underlying tissues and create new movement patterns.
If you take anything away from this class on Gua Sha, Graston, IASTM Techniques, & Massage in general it is our overall governing intention to increase circulation (blood flow) and promote relaxation (parasympathetic nervous system response). The bodies stress response draws blood away from peripheral organs and functions (skin, connective tissue, lymphatic system, digestion etc), and it diverts the blood into your muscles for a sympathetic nervous system response (fight or flight). Lets face it, stress isn’t going away anytime soon, but we can with Gua Sha on the body and face mitigate it’s negative effects.
Repetitive stress, chronic injury, postural deviation, structural issues, emotional, and physical stress all inhibit blood flow to tissue in need of nutrients and growth factors as well as suppress the immune system response. Restoring and maintaining circulation is the fundamental key to health and wellbeing.