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This might sound funny coming from me, but I can’t stand the manual therapy culture. All I see on Twitter and Instagram are inactive “active people” getting treated with “name the modality.” We pneumatically drill shoulders on a table, we look like we’ve been attacked by an over-amorous octopus, we squeeze the heck out of legs with moon boots, and we make appendages jump with electricity. Don’t get me wrong, I use all of these modalities and in future blog posts I plan to talk about how I’ve integrated them. But my go-to is HawkGrips, because unless you choose otherwise, all of my treatments are dynamic.

manual therapy technique dynamic movement HawkGrips IASTM Mark Shires ATC athletic trainer

Author Mark Shires (right) believes that most manual therapy techniques could benefit from incorporating more dynamic movement.

I understand that the social media posts I mentioned before are “post-workout,” but why don’t they include cooldown, stretching or postural work? I enjoy getting pampered as much as the next person, but as a therapist I know the key to getting better is exercise.

I don’t mean a daily CrossFit WOD (workout of the day), but rather those little pelvic tilts and scapular retractions you really have to concentrate on. And what better way to facilitate contraction than with a HawkGrips brush stroke in line with the transverse abdominis and lower trapezius?

Helping my patients means I have to take them to task. I don’t understand why clinicians feel we need to baby our patients when they are beating themselves up getting fit. Let’s not mince words when explaining that treatment may not be comfortable.

Although instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) shouldn’t hurt, real gains are made through uncomfortable experience and time. Mount Rushmore took 14 years to complete, so it’s understandable that chipping away at someone’s ingrained postural faults could take a little while too.

Until next time, keep ‘em healthy.

✶ For an exclusive video featuring the author, check out the HawkGrips YouTube Channel!

Mark Shires recently began his ninth season as athletic trainer for the Norfolk Tides, the Triple-A affiliate of Major League Baseball’s Baltimore Orioles. This represents his 19th season overall with the Orioles organization, and he has twice been named International League Athletic Trainer of the Year. Shires also serves as an athletic trainer for Harcum College in Bryn Mawr, PA, during the offseason and has utilized HawkGrips since 2012.

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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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