Since I have been a PT, I have implemented Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) into my treatment. Originally, I was trained to "dig deeper" like some of the more prominent brands preach, but advances in research have shown our effects to primarily be neurological and more successful with lighter implementation. Sometimes, no matter how light you perform IASTM in certain areas, you will note some redness developing. These are typically highly tonic areas. Normally, that response may be contraindicated to continue IASTM, but there are ways to adjust. Dr. E from The Manual Therapist recently had a post discussing why these areas can be so easily reddened. He also offers several examples of how to address these instances.
Personally, I think these are great tools to implement as I regularly find HS insertions that are significantly tonic and these patients may benefit from these attempts at calming the nervous system. However, I do disagree on "always light" IASTM technique being better. From my experience, I have had a significant number of patients that had previous experiences of different forms of IASTM that are more aggressive with the old school approach. Having tried the lighter technique on these patients, typically they subjectively feel like they don't improve without the more aggressive approach, even if objective results show differently. With what we know about how a patient's beliefs impact their rehabilitation, I tend to be a little more aggressive with my IASTM technique on these patients, although, still not nearly as aggressive as others.
James Heafner PT, DPT, OCS:
Owner and lead physical therapist at Heafner Health, cash-based physical therapy in Boulder, CO. Areas of expertise include orthopedic and manual therapy, functional movement, pain science, and movement science.
In May 2013, I earned my Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Saint Louis University. After graduating from the Harris Health Systems Orthopedic Residency in October 2014, I moved to Boulder, CO. Since living in Boulder, I have started my own cash-based PT practice, earned my OCS certification, and teach for the OPTIM Fellowship and COMT program in Houston TX and Scottsdale, AZ.
Chris Fox PT, DPT, OCS: Physical therapist at Foothills Sports Medicine & Physical Therapy in Scottsdale, AZ and regularly lectures at the Phoenix Campus for NAU's DPT program and for Optim Manual Therapy's COMT program. Completed multiple advanced manual therapy courses implementing aspects of biomechanical analysis. He received his DPT from Saint Louis University in 2013. Completed Scottsdale Healthcare's Orthopaedic Residency (now Honor Health) in July 2014. He became a Board Certified Orthopaedic Specialist in 2015. Level I Expert in FMS and SFMA , Kinetacore FDN Level 1 certification, and IASTM Technique course completion. He would like to pursue further education in McKenzie Technique, Dry Needling, Strength & Conditioning, Orthopaedic and Manual Therapy.
Brian Schwabe PT, DPT, SCS, CSCS:
- Board Certified Sports Physical Therapist (SCS) at Elite OrthoSport in Santa Monica, CA which specializes in treating collegiate/professional athletes and clientele from the Beverly Hills, Hollywood, and Santa Monica areas.
- USC Sports Residency Trained Physical Therapist (<1% of all PT's residency trained)
- DPT from Saint Louis University
- Future plans/interest include:
1. USAW, SFMA & Catapult Systems technology for NBA teams
2. Pursuing a position as a sports physical therapist &/or Strength coach for a Division 1 athletic medicine department or professional sport team.
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