The Efficacy of Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization: A Systematic Review

J Can Chiropr Assoc. 2016 Sep; 60(3): 200–211.

IASTM is a popular form of myofascial therapy but its efficacy has not been fully determined due to the paucity and heterogeneity of evidence. There is a gap between the current research and clinical practice. A consensus has not been established regarding the optimal IASTM program, type of instrument, dosage time, and outcomes measures.

Acute Effects of Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization For Improving Posterior Shoulder Range of Motion in Collegiate Baseball Players

Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2014 Feb; 9(1): 1–7.

In this study, a single application of the IASTM treatment to the posterior shoulder produced an acute increase in both GH horizontal adduction ROM and internal rotation ROM.

Therapeutic effectiveness of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization for soft tissue injury: mechanisms and practical application

J Exerc Rehabil. 2017 Feb; 13(1): 12–22.

IASTM is simple and practical and requires only a short period of time for a single treatment. According to previous studies, IASTM was found to improve soft tissue function and ROM in acute or chronic sports injuries to soft tissues, while also reducing pain.

A Pilot Study Comparing Two Manual Therapy Interventions for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2007 Jan;30(1):50-61.

Both instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization and soft tissue mobilization administered with the clinician's hands provided improvements to nerve conduction latencies, wrist strength, and wrist motion. The improvements detected by subjective evaluations of the signs and symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome and patient satisfaction with the treatment outcomes provided additional evidence for the clinical efficacy of these 2 manual therapies for CTS. The improvements were maintained at 3 months for both treatment interventions.

The Effects of Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization On Lower Extremity Muscle Performance: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2016 Dec; 11(7): 1040–1047.

In this study, there were no statistically significant differences found between treatment groups in vertical jump height, peak power, or peak velocity. Preliminary findings suggest that standard treatment times of IASTM do not produce an immediate effect on muscular performance in healthy participants.

The Effect of Graston Technique on the Pain and Range Of Motion in Patients With Chronic Low Back Pain

J Phys Ther Sci. 2016 Jun; 28(6): 1852–1855.

The lumbar ROM significantly increased post-intervention with both IASTM and exercise and exercise alone. IASTM and general exercise resulted in pain relief and increased ROM. However, the IASTM group showed a much greater increase in lumbar ROM than the control group, and only the IASTM group demonstrated a statistically significant reduction in pain levels.  These findings suggest that IASTM can be useful as a means of decreasing pain and improving ROM for patients with chronic low back pain.

A Quasi-Experimental Study on the Effects of Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization on Mechanosensitive Neurons

J Phys Ther Sci. 2017 Apr; 29(4): 654–657.

Mean 2-point discrimination demonstrated statistically significant increase post IASTM. Mean pain threshold increased slightly after IASTM, but not to a statistically significant level. The data indicate that IASTM changes the neural activities in 2-point discrimination but not in pain threshold.

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