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Dr. Jim Wagner, OTD, OTR/L, CHT, CPAM, CSCS, CKTP, is an occupational therapist and certified hand therapist who has specialized in upper-extremity and sports-related injuries in clinical settings for 24 years. He earned his occupational therapy degree from Keuka College in Keuka Park, NY, and post-professional clinical doctorate with a specialty in hand therapy from Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions in Provo, UT. Dr. Wagner is a HawkGrips instructor, team leader of the hand/upper extremity center at Guthrie Clinic in Sayre, PA, as well as an adjunct professor for the occupational therapy programs at Keuka College and Ithaca College in New York. As a competitive powerlifter and bodybuilder for the past 30 years, Dr. Wagner has integrated his passion for instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) into both his personal training and clinical practice. He’s also a member of the American Society of Hand Therapists and has been published in the Journal of Hand Therapy.

Dr. Jim Wagner OTD OTR/L CHT CPAM CSCS, CKTP HawkGrips IASTM Graston

Dr. Jim Wagner, OTD, OTR/L, CHT, CPAM, CSCS

How did you first learn about HawkGrips?

I had been introduced to instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) through a colleague due to my frustration with treating various chronic conditions. I began to work with and use various instruments in both the clinic and gym. Then about 4-5 years ago, I was introduced to HawkGrips products and the company itself through my Performance Health representative. When I looked at the design, treatment edges and instrument quality of HawkGrips compared to other IASTM providers, as well as the commitment HawkGrips had made to excellent education, they stood out to me as by far the best IASTM company.

How have you incorporated HawkGrips into your professional practice?

As clinicians, we play a huge part in soft tissue management, from post-surgical care to acute and chronic conditions. IASTM has played an integral role in the daily care of my patients and their successful outcomes. HawkGrips have provided me with greater adaptability in the treatments of those I serve.

Are there any unique applications or innovative techniques you’d like to share?

In our busy hand center, we treat many soft tissue injuries where significant trauma has been sustained, including reconstructions, replants, tendon repairs, and so on. I incorporate a multitude of scar-management techniques that help differentiate the various soft tissue layers because of dense adhesions. I’ve also had remarkable success with our post-mastectomy patients who experience axillary cording. HawkGrips have helped me achieve much greater success in managing these difficult cases. The result is a patient’s quicker return to their normal activities.

What benefits do HawkGrips provide to patients and clinicians versus other treatment methods?

The opportunity to use multiple treatment edges and gain access to areas on the body where my hands were unable to effectively make an impact before has been immense. I would take HawkGrips over any passive modality any day. Not only can I use HawkGrips to passively remodel soft tissue, but the instruments can also be incorporated into dynamic functional activities. This has been a “game changer” for me and those I care for. I can integrate HawkGrips into a patient’s daily living skills to hone in on problematic areas that I’m unable to work on with other modalities.

Can you provide details about a specific HawkGrips success story?

I have many but one that sticks out is a friend and former training partner who suffered with chronic lateral epicondylosis for several years. He had tried cortisone injections and various other treatments and was using a tennis elbow strap. The significant mechanical pain he experienced had led to inferior performance in the gym. I began to work with him and found muscle imbalances and soft tissue restrictions. I incorporated HawkGrips into his training and identified which positions caused pain. After three to four treatments, he was pain-free and not wearing his strap anymore. I’ve been in powerlifting and bodybuilding for 30 years and use these instruments for self-maintenance as well. HawkGrips work!

How do you believe HawkGrips compare to other IASTM tools on the market?

I’ve used multiple other IASTM tools on the market over the years and have been able to conduct side-by-side comparisons with various instruments. HawkGrips are by far superior. They have more treatment edges, multiple sizes, cross-hatching for greater control, and far better-quality steel that allows for more effective treatment.

What do you like about being an instructor?

I love to teach and sharing my experience with course participants. I’ve been in clinical practice for 23 years now and still learn just as much from the clinicians I teach as they do from me. HawkGrips as a company enables me to teach the way I’d like to learn as a clinician, and that makes all the difference!

What would you say to clinicians who are thinking about taking a HawkGrips course?

IASTM is a hands-on interactive learning experience. Take the course, see and feel the difference. It’s so worth the investment!

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.

Taming ‘Tennis Elbow’ Through HawkGrips Therapy, Exercise, and Activity Modification

tennis elbow Dr. Jim Wagner American Occupational Therapy Association AOTA annual conference exposition HawkGrips therapy“Tennis elbow,” a diagnosis that strikes fear into the hearts of clinicians the world over! (OK… that may be a slight overstatement). Why is this condition so dreaded? Because when treating tennis elbow, everything works and nothing works. Tennis elbow is one of the most commonly diagnosed and discussed musculoskeletal conditions known to humankind. An article by Arnett et al. on the evaluation and treatment of lateral epicondylitis reported a 2-percent incidence in the general population, with a significantly higher rate among manual laborers.

How to Relieve Tension Headaches with HawkGrips by Treating the Upper Trapezius Muscle

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!


  BRIDGING THE GAP FROM REHAB TO PERFORMANCE By Sue Falsone   Review by Phil Page, PhD, PT, ATC, CSCS, FACSM First, a disclaimer: I’ve known Sue Falsone for almost 20 years and she is a great friend and colleague, and one of the smartest and hardest working people I...

Is Treatment with HawkGrips Painful?

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…

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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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