There are many established methods of treatment for both acute and chronic soft tissue injuries. Examples of treatments methods (non inclusive) are massage, dry needling, active release technique, heat, ice, vibration, taping, exercise, including stretching, and other passive modalities like therapeutic ultrasound. Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue manipulation (IASTM) is one of those methods. IASTM or tools assist in reducing adhesions and increase healing rates of targeted tissue (Aspegren, 2007, Bayliss, 2011, Burke, 2007; Davidson, 1997, Fowler, 2000, Hammer, 2005, Howitt, 2009, Laudner, 2014, Lee, 2014, Loghmani, 2009).
Specially designed tools are used to apply longitudinal pressure along the course of tissue. The tools facilitate the clinician’s ability to detect altered tissue properties, as well as facilitate the patient’s awareness of altered sensations within the treated tissues. Increased vibration within the tool is believed to be an indication of abnormal tissue properties. Additionally, the tools are believed to provide a mechanical advantage that allows the clinician to achieve greater depth of mechanical force transmission than can be produced with hands. Tools also reduce compressive stress on the clinician’s hands which can prolong the career of a manual therapist.
Gua Sha was the first instrument assisted technique dating back to ~220 BC (Nelson, 2013). The original Gua Sha instruments were made from spoons, coins, jars, wood, bamboo, bone, or jade. The goal of Gua Sha was to intentionally create petechiae and ecchymosis (sha) by scraping the soft tissue. Raising sha is theorized to remove blood stagnation and to promote normal circulation and metabolic processes (Nelson, 2013).
In the mid-1990s, David Graston, a pioneer of IASTM, created a method and instruments for treating soft tissue injuries. Since the development of Graston Technique®, nearly twenty five other instruments and similar or novel techniques have been developed based on the original Gua Sha philosophy.
RockTape has educated CSMC through their renowned IASTM education training programme on how to use IASTM in a safe and effective manner. Unlike other IASTM education, the focus is how tool can be used with other modalities (I.e RockTape, Joint manipulation/mobilization, Hyperice, Compex, Rapid Reboot and RockSauce) that CSMC will use for effective treatment of common musculoskeletal injuries by effecting not only the soft tissue, but also the neurosensory components of rehabilitation.