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What is IASTM? How is it Utilized in Physical Therapy?

There are quite a few ways to rehab after an injury, some may be more effective than others. One great option is IASTM. What exactly is IASTM and how do I know if it's right for me?

IASTM stands for Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization. It is a manual therapy technique performed by a physical therapist designed to reduce tissue tension for quicker recovery. Our bodies are made up of a intertwining matrix of connective tissue called fascia. It is a very thin connective tissue that lines the outside of muscle and other body structures. Fascia provides mechanical support, aides in movement, and creates connections to body structures. After an injury this fascia can become inflamed and if left untreated can lead to a tethering/tightening of the tissue causing pain. The goal of IASTM is to release this tension in the fascia and help the body to relax and reduce pain.

A carefully crafted steel or plastic tool with rounded edges is used to brush along the surface of the skin that reduces the tension in the fascia underneath. These tools can come in many different shapes and sizes but the end result is similar.

There are many benefits of IASTM, including:

  • Increased blood flow to the tissues

  • Improved muscle activity

  • Helps to breaks up muscle adhesion's

  • Increases recovery from muscle soreness

  • Decreases chronic musculoskeletal pain

So how do I know if IASTM is right for me?

IASTM can be used for a variety of different injuries. Some of the more common injuries are ankle and knee sprains, IT band syndrome, plantar fasciitis, rotator cuff strains, low back pain and other sports/overuse injuries.


  • Muscular trigger points

  • Tendonopathies

  • Ligament sprains

  • Postural dysfunction

  • Nerve entrapment's


  • Inflammatory or infectious skin conditions

  • Open wounds

  • Over surgical incisions

  • On blood thinning medications

  • Directly over bone fractures

Each of our therapists at Wasatch Physical Therapy has been trained to use these unique tools.

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