+1 484-351-8050 info@hawkgrips.com

The premise of instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) is, at most, a highly advanced concept, demanding background knowledge of applied anatomy and physiology. At the least, IASTM is deep tissue massage. I consider myself a relative expert on trying to explain IASTM and HawkGrips after doing just that with numerous family members, friends, and complete strangers since becoming the director of education at HawkGrips. And I’m willing to share my extensive, expert knowledge with you, lucky duck!

IASTM instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization HawkGrips massage

IASTM is a form of deep-tissue massage that potentially accelerates healing and restores function.

IASTM is a form of deep tissue massage that potentially accelerates healing and restores function. It is believed that IASTM restores function by remodeling soft tissue at the cellular level through a process called mechanotransduction. After IASTM, we incorporate rehabilitative exercises to encourage this new tissue being built to lay down the way it’s supposed to, in neat, straight lines.

What should I expect from a treatment with HawkGrips Therapy?

The instruments glide over the skin and “catch” on scar tissue. A patient may feel a vibration or “crunchy” feeling when the instrument goes over areas of adhesion. The entire treatment of one body area should not take longer than 10 minutes. Each specific lesion is treated for only 30-90 seconds.

The treatment should never be painful but sometimes mild discomfort is felt. As a patient, please be sure to let your clinician know if the treatment is too painful.

IASTM is best used in conjunction with a rehabilitation protocol that incorporates stretching and strengthening. Your clinician will most likely have you perform corrective, stretching, and/or strengthening exercises after the HawkGrips Therapy. It’s important to adhere to any home stretching and/or exercise program your clinician may ask you to complete in order to maximize beneficial results.

Positive Outcomes

Some potential positive outcomes from IASTM include, but are not limited to:

  • Increased range of motion
  • Increased blood flow
  • Decreased pain

Many patients experience long-term relief from the following injuries after treatment with IASTM:

  • Carpal tunnel
  • Low-back pain
  • Tendinopathy
  • Trigger thumb
  • Tennis/golfer’s elbow
  • Chronic ankle pain
  • Plantar fasciitis
Possible Side Effects

IASTM employs fluid motions of the instruments on the patient’s skin, typically eliciting redness. In extreme cases, bruising may occur. However, bruising is not the main goal of this treatment nor should it occur after the majority of treatments. A treatment may yield petechiae, or broken capillaries seen as tiny bright red dots on the skin. This is a sign that the treatment should stop before bruising occurs.

Mild soreness is not uncommon for 1-3 days after a treatment occurs. Please advise patients to contact their clinician/physician if this soreness does not resolve or worsens within this time frame. Keep in mind that IASTM isn’t for everyone. Some patients may be hypersensitive (which is a relative contraindication) and not able to tolerate the use of instruments.

* Interested in receiving this amazing treatment? Check out our Locate a Provider page to find a clinician near you who is utilizing HawkGrips!

Trista Barish is the director of education at HawkGrips and can be reached at tbarish@hawkgrips.com.

IASTM: A Performance Enhancement Tool

The human skin is the the largest organ of the integumentary system. It is enriched with dense neurological tissue that permeates the entire body and provides a uniquely accessible means of influencing tone and function of underlying structures. Fascia and muscle generate and transfer kinetic energy in an environment by which functional movement relies on a combination of elastic recoil and eccentric control around a focal, multi-planar axis.

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tension headaches upper trapezius muscle HawkGrips IASTM Trista Barish Mark Shires Baltimore OriolesAlthough I’m a certified athletic trainer, it’s rare that I seek any type of physical treatment for myself. There are many reasons, but mostly I just feel bad about asking fellow clinicians to treat me when I know they’ve already been treating patients all day. Recently though, something wonderful happened. I asked Mark Shires, MS, ATC, PES, to treat my left shoulder and neck because of tension headaches I’ve been experiencing and he said yes!


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quadriceps treatment HawkGrips IASTM Graston musculoskeletal condition therapyIs treatment with HawkGrips painful? The simple answer to this question is no. However, it may depend on your definition of the word “pain” versus “discomfort.” This treatment is certainly not based on the “no pain, no gain” adage. In fact, if a patient feels pain during treatment, they should inform the clinician that too much pressure is being applied. Then the clinician can modify treatment to ensure it is tolerable for the patient. Instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) employs smooth…

IASTM Emollient: The What, Why, and How

emollient HawkGrips IASTM Graston instrument assisted soft tissue mobilizationWe often hear questions at HawkGrips about the emollient that’s a necessary adjunct to instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM). In this blog post, I’ll provide the answers to these common queries.

What Is It? HawkGrips original oil-based emollient is specifically manufactured to contain the least amount of allergens to reduce the possibility of adverse reactions among your patients.

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