I am what?…
Is it a blade…
Maybe a ninja star…
Perhaps a kitchen utensil…
It is actually another tool in your armoury that could help you prevent those persistent niggles.
Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilisation (IASTM)
I actually wrote a post about this in 2013 (wow, feels like yesterday). Click here to read the post
It actually has roots in a Japanese technique called GuaSha. The results of that particular treatment however look a little like this
The treatment then received a modern-day makeover in the form of Graston Technique. Using bevelled stainless steel tools, a trained therapist can locate abnormal textures on the surface of the patients skin, usually on a tight muscle or around a restricted joint. Such areas are where adhesions and scar tissue have developed so the application breaks this up, creates a little (I stress little) inflammation, which further promotes the proliferation of new cells to create fresh and healthy tissue.
Is there any evidence?
Yes actually. Studies have shown IASTM to be effective and a great substitute for other, more invasive, treatments for soft tissue and joint problems such as injections.
Check this study out
Empowering the masses
Graston Technique was very specialist and employed specific patented tools. Therapists would have to invest huge amounts of money to become registered practitioners. Until someone had the idea to make their own similar tools and call it something else more generic. As mentioned in my 2013 post I acquired training in this through Fibroblaster. Now I see that Rocktape, known for it’s Kinesiology tape, had now come out with Rockblades, jumping on this lucrative IASTM market.
Caution before deciding to DIY it
This has become a market that is unregulated and anyone can get hold of the tool and self-administer it. The thing to remember is that you DO NOT have to inflict severe pain and extreme redness for the treatment to be effective. Of course, the best thing is to always ask a specialist to teach you how to do it safely in order to prevent injury.
Those in need of rehabilitation should allow the professionals to work their magic as they will combine this with other treatments to assure the best possible and effective outcome.
Having said that, for preventing injury and using it in conjunction with your foam roller and massage ball, you can absolutely use it yourself and this will be a trend that will become just as common I believe.
There are range of brands out there and I can only vouch for the Fibroblaster. It can be purchased from Amazon US. A great guide to getting confident in applying it can be found on this link here.