CENTER VALLEY, PA – As part of the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program at DeSales University in Center Valley, PA, first-year DPT students are introduced to instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) through the “PT Modalities” course. Consistent with our mission to support the physical therapy profession and local community, HawkGrips lent 14 Gold Sets to the program last month so 28 students could gain firsthand experience in the utilization of these high-quality instruments.

DeSales University IASTM instrument DPT class demonstration HawkGrips Therapy Graston

Dr. Mark W. Butler, PT, DPT, OCS, Cert. MDT, demonstrates HawkGrips Therapy in a first-year doctor of physical therapy class at DeSales University in Center Valley, PA.

“We enjoy being able to help the physical therapy practitioners of tomorrow, while at the same time offering them important experience with the premier IASTM instruments on the market, so they can provide the best possible treatment to their future patients,” said HawkGrips COO Sean MacNeal.

The class on Feb. 23 consisted of a two-hour IASTM lecture, followed by a two-hour lab where students paired up to learn how to properly utilize HawkGrips in treatments on each other. Mark W. Butler, PT, DPT, OCS, Cert. MDT, coordinated the class as guest lecturer, with support from DeSales faculty members Christos Karagiannopoulos, PT, PhD, ATC, CHT, and Sean Griech, PT, DPT, OCS, COMT. Dr. Butler works full-time as a clinic manager for NovaCare in Medford, NJ, and also serves as a HawkGrips Course Instructor.

“If a patient is a candidate for manual therapy, then he or she is also a candidate for instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization,” Dr. Butler told the class. “I can tell you from years of clinical experience and many patient success stories that treatment with HawkGrips is very effective.”

Student Insight

Students paid close attention throughout the lecture session and showed great enthusiasm during the lab, as they learned the different instruments and treatment strokes while Dr. Butler offered tips and encouragement. Following the class, four DeSales students provided their thoughts about the experience for our HawkTalk Blog.

“I thought it was pretty cool because we got to handle the instruments, figure out what kind of movements we can do and what works best for each muscle,” said Carly Bixler.

Cassondra Ondeck added, “This class demonstrated the versatility of the instruments and how you can utilize them for basically any anatomical area or condition you might treat in the clinic.”

“The instruments were very easy to use,” related Abby LaBar. “We basically learned how they felt on each other, so we can know what our patients will experience when we treat them.”

“The hands-on aspect was great because we got to see for ourselves the positive impact these instruments can make,” Brittany Gumerman concluded.

Brian W. Ferrie is the editorial & multimedia director for HawkGrips and can be reached at

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Check out this exclusive Student Spotlight video featuring Abby LaBar, Cassondra Ondeck, Carly Bixler and Brittany Gumerman, who provide feedback on their introduction to HawkGrips Therapy through the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at DeSales University.

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