IASTM and Cupping
Instrument-assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization
Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization is a skilled intervention in which the physical therapy practitioner uses instruments with beveled edges and contours to manipulate the skin, fascia, muscles and tendons using various direct techniques. Research shows that these techniques make changes in the cells that allow soft tissues to regenerate and heal. They are also effective at making neurophysiological changes that improve blood supply and reduce pain.
There are many different companies that provide training and tools for physical therapists for IASTM, some well-known are ASTYM and Graston.
Cupping is an ancient form of medicine similar to massage in that it helps with inflammation, blood flow, and relaxation.
Contrary to massage, where tissues can be compressed, in cupping myofascial tissues are decompressed. Cupping therapy is thought to create a local inflammatory response that can help start the healing process. This technique can be less painful for some patients than traditional soft tissue mobilization. Physical therapists can place cups over various areas of the body to improve motion and reduce pain and even can be used in conjunction with the motion of the joint.