Frequently Asked Questions

IASTM FAQ : For Professionals

Are you a medical, fitness or coaching professional looking for information on instrument assisted soft tissue mobilisation? Then check out our IASTM FAQ section below. We often get asked plenty of questions about IASTM, further reading and research. We’ve created this page to help those that are looking for more information on key topics such as what is IASTM, how popular is IASTM, research and reading behind IASTM education, different types of IASTM seminars, history of IASTM, which professional can use IASTM and much more.

We also have a great Blog Section or  you can Contact Us for more information.


  • What is IASTM?

    Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilisation, or IASTM, has become a generalised term to describe the use of any instrument or tool to massage, mobilise or manipulate soft tissue structures.

    Although there are several origin stories on where Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilisation started it was the 1990s when the techniques’ modernisation brought IASTM into the western medical model of thinking.

    Since then new research has led to its use, not only as a treatment for pain and injury, but also to address tightness or limited range of movement from restricted soft tissues. This ever expanding use means that IASTM practitioners now include medical, fitness and coaching professionals and can be found in clinics, gyms & field side for sports teams. There are now many different brands that practitioners can learn IASTM through.

    The use of Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilisation has boomed in popularity with patients, athletes and practitioners alike over the last five years. This is mainly due to the ever increasing amount of research and the continual reports of great results it gets.

    Want to learn IASTM? Use this link to find out more about our seminars.

    IASTM Seminars

  • IASTM Research

    IASTM Research

    We often get asked about further reading and research into the world of IASTM. We’ve created this page to help those that are looking for more information.  The list below contains research papers and books that have direct or indirect application to this field. Most of the IASTM world experts have found useful in their daily practice, instrument design or seminar content.

    It’s our opinion that the best way to get a good level of understanding of the research, concepts and theories attending an IASTM seminar. Why not learn directly from those that have accumulated this wealth of knowledge and condensed it into a format for you to apply. Here’s a link to our seminars if you would like more information.

    IASTM Seminars


    Akeson W, Amiel D, LaViolette D. The connective tissue response to immobility: a study of the chrondrotin 4 and 6 sulfate and derma tan sulfate changes in periarticular connective tissue of control and immobilized knees of dogs. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, 67(51): 183 197.

    Akeson, Amiel, LaViolette, Secrist: The connective tissue response to immobility: an accelerated aging process. Exp. Gerontol, 68(3): 289 301.

    Akeson, Woo, et al. The connective response to immobility: biochemical changes in periarticular connective tissue of the immobilized rabbit knee. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, 73(93): 356 362.

    Allenby F et al. Effects of external pneumatic intermittent compression on fibrinolysis in man. Lacet, 73: 1412 1413.

    Anderson JE. Grant’s atlas of anatomy, 8th ed. Williams & Wilkens, Baltimore, 1983.

    Backstrom, KM. Mobilization with movement as an adjunct intervention in a patient with complicated de Quervain’s tenosynovitis: a case report. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 32: 86-94. 2002

    Barnes, MF. The basic science of myofascial release: morphologic change in connective tissue. J Bod Mov Ther 4: 231-238. 1997.

    Basmajian JV, Nyberg R. Rational manual therapies. Williams & Wilkens, Baltimore, MD, 1993; 199 221.

    Bogduk N, Twomey L. Clinical anatomy of the lumbar spine. Livingstone, NY, 1987.

    Booher JM, Thibodeau. Athletic injury assessment, 2nd ed. Times Mirror/Mosby, St. Louis, MO, 1989.

    Bouffard NA, Cutroneo KR, Badger GJ, White SL, Buttolph TR, Ehrlich HP, Stenens-Tuttle D, Langevin HM. Tissue stretch decreases soluble TGF-Beta1 and type-1 procollagen in mouse subcutaneous connective tissue: evidence from ex vivo and in vivo mod els. J Cell Physiol 214: 389-395. 2008.

    Butler D. Mobilization of the nervous system. Churchill Livingstone, NY, 1991.

    Callaghan MJ. The role of massage in the management of the athlete: a review. Br. J Sp Med, 93(27): 28 33.

    Cantu R, Grodin A. Myofascial manipulation: theory and clinical application. Aspen Publishers, Gaithersburg, Maryland, 1992.

    Chamberlain GJ. Cyriax’s frictions massage: a review. JOSPT, 82(4): 16 21.

    Cottingham JT, Porges SW, Lyon T. Effects of soft tissue mobilization (rolling pelvic lift) on parasympathetic tone in two age groups. Physical Therapy, 88(68): 352 356.

    Cottingham JT, Porges SW, Richmond K. Shifts in pelvic inclination angle and parasympathetic tone produced by rolfing soft tissue manipulation. Physical Therapy, 88: 1364 1370.

    Cyriax J, Textbook of orthopaedic medicine, Vol 1. MacMillian Publishing, NY, 1978.

    De Bruijn R. Deep transverse friction: its analgesic effect. International Journal of Sports medicine 5:35-36. 1984.

    Evans B et al. Experimental immobilization and remobilization of rat knee joints. J Bone Jt. Surg, 60(42A): 737 758.

    Garrett WE et al. Recovery of skeletal muscle after laceration and repair. J Hand Surg, 84(9A): 683 691.

    Gehlsen, GM, Ganion LR Helfst RH. Fibroblast responses to variation in soft tissue mobilization pressure. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 4: 531-535. 1999.

    Goats G. Massage the scientific basis of an ancient art: part 1. the techniques. Br J Sp Med, 94(28).

    Gould J, Davis G. Orthopedic and sports physical therapy, Vol 2. C.V. Mosby Co, St. Louis, MO, 1985.

    Grodin A., Cantu R. Myofascial manipulation. Institute of Graduate Physical Therapy, Marietta GA, 1991.

    Hammer, WI. The effect of mechanical load on degenerated soft tissue. J Bodyw Mov Ther 12: 246-56. 2008.

    Hanna. Clinical somatic education: a new discipline in the field of health care. Somatics, magazine-journal of the bodily arts and sciences. Autumn/Winter. 57-63. 1990.

    Hanna. The Body of Life: Creating New Pathways for Sensory Awareness and Fluid Movement. Healing Arts Press, Rochester. 1993.

    Hajzl, MW. Identifying surface contact characteristics of myofascial tools– a standardized ap- proach to evidence based analysis. 2011.

    Hoppenfeld. Physical examination of the spine and extremities. Appleton Century Crofts, NY, 1976.

    Hubbard DR, Berkoff GM. Myofascial trigger points show spontaneous needle EMG activity. Spine, 93(13): 1803 1807.

    Juhan D. Job’s body. Station Hill Press, NY, 1987.

    Ketchum L. Primary tendon healing: a review. J Hand Surg, 77(2): 428 435.

    Laban MM. Collagen tissue: implication of its response to stress in vitro. Arch Physical Med Rehab, 62(9): 461 465.

    Langevin HM, Storch KN, Cipolla MJ, White SL, Buttolph TR, Taaties DJ. Fibroblast spreading induced by connective tissue stretch involves intracellular redistribution of alpha- and beta-actin. Histochem Cell Biol 125: 487-95. 2006.

    Langevin HM, Storch KN, Snapp RR, Bouffard NA, Badger GI, Howe AK, Taaties DJ. Tissue stretch induces nuclear remodeling in connective tissue fibroblasts. Histochem Cell Biol 133: 405-415. 2010.

    Ladd MP, Kottke FJ, Blanchard RS. Studies of the effect of massage on the flow of lymph from the foreleg of the dog. Arch Physical Med, 52(10): 604 612.

    Lewit, K, Olsanska S. Clinical Importance of Active Scars: Abnormal Scars as a Cause of Myofascial Pain. JMPT Jul/Aug 399-402. 2004.

    LeVeau, Barney R. Biomechanics of human motion. WB Saunders Co., Philadelphia, PA, 1992.

    Loghmani MT, Warden SJ. Instrument-assisted cross-fiber massage accelerates knee ligament healing J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 39: 506-514. 2009.

    McCulloch JM, Kloth LC, Feedar JA. Wound healing: alternatives in management. FA Davis Co, Philadelphia, 1995.

    McGonigle T, Matley KW. Soft tissue treatment and muscle stretching. J Manual & Manipulative Therapy, 94(2): 55 62.

    McPartland JM. Expression of the endocannabinoid system in fibroblasts ad myofascial tissues. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 12: 169-182. 2008.

    Moore KL. Clinically oriented anatomy, 2nd ed. Williams & Wilkens, Baltimore, 1985.

    Morgan D. Principles of soft tissue treatment. J Manual & Manipulative Therapy, 1994, 2(2): 63 65.

    Myers, T. Anatomy Trains: Myofascial Meridians for Manual and Movement Therapists. Churchill Livingstone, Edinburgh. 2001.

    Myburgh C, Lauridsen HH, Larsen AH, Hartvigsen J. Standardized manual palpation of myofascial trigger points in relation to neck/shoulder pain; the influence of clinical ex perience on inter-examiner reproducibility. Man Therpy. 2010.

    Nenadić T, Vuksanić M, Ežbegović. Utjecaj IASTM (INSTRUMENT ASSISTED SOFT TISSUE MOBILISATION) Tretmana u Rehabilitaciji Nakon Tep-a Koljena. 2016.

    Nielsen et al. The effect of Gua Sha treatment on the microcirculation of the surface tissue: a pilot study in healthy subjects. Explore 3: 456-466. 2007.

    Nielsen, A. Gua Sha: A traditional Technique for Modern Practice. Churchill Livingstone, Edinburgh. 1995.

    Netter, R. Atlas of human anatomy. Ciba Geigy, NJ, 1989.

    Nirschl R. Elbow tendinosis/tennis elbow. Clinics in Sports Medicine, 92(11): 851 870.

    Noyes FR et al. Biomechanics of ligament failure: an analysis of immobilization, exercise and reconditioning effects on primates. J Bone Joint Surg, 74(56A): 1406.

    Paris S. Foundations of clinical orthopedics. Course Notes. Institute Press, St. Augustine, FL, 1990.

    Rhee, S. Fibroblasts in three dimensional matrices: cell migration and remodeling. Exp Molec Med 41: 858-865. 2009.

    Schleip R, Findley MD, Chaitow L, Huijing P. Fascia: The Tensional Network of the Human Body: The Science of clinical application in manual and movement therapy. Churchill Livingstone Elsevier. 2012.

    Schleip R, Baker A. Fascia  in Sport and Movement. Handspring Publishing Limited. 2014.

    Schillinger A, Koening D, Haefele C, Vogt S, Heinrich L, Aust A, Birnesser H, Schmid A. Effect of manual lymph drainage on the course of serum levels of muscles enzymes af ter treadmill exercise. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 85: 516-520. 2006.

    Sefton JM, Yarar C, Berry JW, Pascow DD. Therapeutic massage of the neck and shoulders produces changes in peripheral blood flow when assessed with dynamic infrared thermography. J Altern Complement Med. Jul; 16: 723-743. 2010.

    Simons DG, Hong CZ, Simons LS. Prevalence of spontaneous electrical activity at trigger spots and at control sites in rabbit skeletal muscle. Journal of Musculoskeletal Pain, 95(3): 35 48.

    Smith EK, Magarey M, Argue S, Jaberzadeh S. Muscular load to the therapists’s shoulder during three alternative techniques for trigger point therapy. J Bodyw Mov Ther 13:171 -81. 2009.

    Spence AP, Mason EB. Human anatomy and physiology, 3rd ed. The Benjamin/Cummings Publishing Co., Inc., Menlo Park, 1987.

    Stasinopoulos D, Johnson MI. Cyriax physiotherapy for tennis elbow/lateral epicondylitis. Br J Sports Med 38: 675-677. Doi: 10.1136/bjsm.2004.013573. 2004.

    Stecco C, Macchi V, Lancerotto L, Tiengo C, Porzionato A, DeCaro R Comparison of the transverse carpal ligament and flexor retinaculum terminology for the wrist. J Hand Surg Am 35: 746-753. 2010.

    Stecco L. Fascial Manipulation for Musculoskeletal Pain. Piccin. 2004.

    Stecco C, Stecco L. Fascial Manipulation, Practical Part. Piccin. 2009.

    Sucher BM. Myofascial manipulative release of carpal tunnel syndrome: documentation with magnetic resonance imaging. JAOA, 93(12): 1273 8.

    Suskind MI, Hajek NM, Hines HM. Effects of massage on denervated muscle. Arch Physical Med, 46(3): 133 135.

    Tabery, et al. Experimental rapid sarcomere loss with concomitant hypo extensibility. Muscle and Nerve. 81(4): 198 203.

    Tabery, et al. Physiological and structural changes in the cat’s soleus muscle due to immobilization at different lengths by plaster casts. Journal of Physiology, 72(224): 231 244.

    Tipton CM et al. Influence of exercise on strength of medial collateral knee ligaments of dogs. Amer J Physiology, 70(218): 894 901.

    Travel JG, Simons LS, Cummings BD. Myofascial pain and dysfunction: the trigger point manual vol. 1. The upper half of the body. Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore. 1998.

    Wakim KG et al. The effects of massage on the circulation in normal and paralyzed extremities. Arch Physical Med, 49(3): 135 144.

    White A, Panjabi A. Clinical biomechanics of the spine. Lippicott Co, Philadelphia, 1978.

    Wiktorsson Moller M et al. Effects of warming up, massage and stretching on range of motion and muscle strength in lower extremity. Amer J Sport Med, 83(4): 249 251.

    Williams PE, Goldspink G. Changes in sarcomere length and physiological properties in immobilized muscle. J Anat, 78(127): 459 468.

    Williams PE, Goldspink G. Connective tissue changes in immobilized muscle. J Anat, 84(138): 343 350.

    Wolfson H. Studies on effect of physical therapeutic procedures on function and structure. JAMA, 31(6): 2018 2020.

    Woo, Matthew, et al. Connective tissue response to immobility. Arthritis and Rheumatism, 75(18): 257 264.

    Wyke B. Articular neurology and manipulative therapy aspects of manipulation therapy. Churchill Livingston, 1985.

  • History of IASTM

    Instrument assisted soft tissue mobilisation (IASTM) has been around for a long time. Origin stories vary from the Egyptians to Ancient China, from the Greeks and to the Roman gladiators as part of their body care before a fight.
    IASTM History
    Whichever origin story you prefer we know there has been a big gap in time where its use was missing from “western” medical culture whilst it has remained relatively unchanged in Traditional Chinese Medicine for roughly 2000 years. In the late part of the last century IASTM was reintroduced into the western medical model and evolved into techniques that fit with the way chiropractors, physiotherapists, osteopaths, sports therapists, massage therapists and other manual therapists think and work.
    Since then new research has led to its use not only as a treatment for pain and injury but also to address tightness or limited range of movement from restricted soft tissues. This ever expanding use means that IASTM practitioners now  include medical, fitness and coaching professionals and found in clinics, gyms & field side for sports teams.
    The use of Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilisation has grown hugely in popularity with patients, athletes and practitioners in recent years, mainly due to continued reports of great results it gets and research into its effects. If you are interested in learning IASTM check out further information on our seminars page.

    IASTM Seminars

  • Popularity of IASTM

    IASTM Practitioner Locations

    Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilisation has grown in popularity since its westernisation in the 1990’s. Now 10s of thousands of practitioners use IASTM around the world.
    With its growing popularity IASTM has become sought after by both the general public, athletes and sports teams alike. Want to add IASTM to your skill set? Why not use this link and check out our IASTM seminars.

    IASTM Seminars

  • IASTM Blog

    IASTM Blog

    Want to find out more about the world of IASTM? Use this link to check out our  IASTM Blog page for information on IASTM tools, education, techniques and much more. There are a great range of articles written by ourselves as well as guest authors.


    Have a thirst to learn more? Why not use this link to find out more about our IASTM seminars.

    IASTM Seminars


  • Who can use IASTM?

    The simple answer is…any medical, fitness or coaching professional!

    Traditionally instrument assisted soft tissue mobilisation was only ever used by medical professionals as a form of physical therapy and part of a treatment plan for pain or injury. Since then new research has led to its use outside of a clinical setting to address general tightness or limited range of movement from restricted soft tissues.

    The growing range of uses, along with an evolution in understanding how to make IASTM tools that work best for different practitioners, means the range of professions that use IASTM continues to grow. A few examples could include:

    • A massage therapist using IASTM as on a home visit to loosen up tight muscles before your long trip.
    • A chiropractor, physiotherapist or sports therapist using IASTM in their clinic as part of a treatment plan for pain or injury.
    • A personal trainer using IASTM in the gym to increase your range of motion to perform some exercises better.
    • A Coach using IASTM trackside on their athletes as part of a performance care programme.

    Interested in learning IASTM? You can find more information by reading further in this  FAQ section or you can use this link which takes you to our dedicated IASTM Seminar page.

    IASTM Seminars

  • Instrument Assisted Therapy Seminar

    IASTM Instrument Assisted Therapy Seminar

    If you are a practitioner looking to use IASTM to help treat pain and injury then this is the perfect seminar for you.


    We believe it’s important to have an understanding of all the soft tissue dysfunction theories and treatment concepts that are currently used in the world of IASTM. This two day in-depth group seminar starts with an overview of these before focusing on a detailed application of the concept and techniques that are core and fundamental to the treatment of pain and injury.

    Want to find out more? Use this link to take you to our informative Instrument Assisted Therapy Seminar page.

    IASTM Instrument Assisted Therapy Seminar