Instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) is an intervention used by physical therapists to treat issues associated with musculoskeletal impairments and pain. The instruments/tools consist of many shapes, sizes and brands; such as foam rollers and spiny balls. The instruments can be used as a complimentary part of an effective treatment strategy during a rehabilitation program. The instruments are not meant to replace the therapist’s hands, but rather provide self-treatment of areas of targeted tissue to reduce symptoms associated with restrictions, tightness, pain and/or scarring. A systematic review in 2017 examined the effectiveness of using IASTM compared to other interventions on pain and function. The outcomes of the study showed an impact on increased blood flow, tissue mobility changes, an interruption of pain receptors and improvement in the tissues.
M. Lambert, R Hitchcock, L Lavallee, E. Hayford, R. Morazzini, A Wallace; (2017) The effects of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization compared to other interventions on pain and function: a systematic review. Physical Therapy Reviews Journal; Vol 22.