The IASTM treatment is thought to stimulate connective tissue remodeling through resorption of excessive fibrosis, along with inducing repair and regeneration of collagen secondary to fibroblast recruitment.
There are various IASTM tools and companies such as Graston[R], Tecnica Gavilan[R], Hawk Grips[R], Functional and Kinetic Treatment and Rehab (FAKTR)[R], Adhesion Breakers[R] and Fascial Abrasion Technique[TM] that have their own approach to treatment and instrument design (e.g., instrument materials, instrument shape).
To date, there have been no systematic reviews appraising the body of IASTM literature.
(15) Clinicians may consider the Gua sha approach a form of IASTM but the treatment rationale, goals, and application differs from the other IASTM approaches.
2) Controlled clinical trials that compared pretest and posttest measurements for an intervention program using IASTM
3) Investigations that compared an intervention program using IASTM
4) Investigations that compared two intervention programs using IASTM.
Studies were excluded if they were non-English publications, clinical trials that included IASTM as an intervention but did not directly measure its effects, clinical trials that included Gua sha and ASTYM[R], case reports, case series, clinical commentary, dissertations, and conference posters or abstracts.
Five studies (32,34-36,38) investigated IASTM treatment on subjects with a musculoskeletal pathology and two studies (14,37) measured the effects of IASTM on joint ROM in healthy individuals.
IASTM Treatment for Pathology Five studies measured the effects of IASTM on subjects with musculoskeletal pathology which included: lateral epicondylitis (32), carpel tunnel syndrome (35), myofascial trigger points (36), chronic ankle instability (38), and patellofemoral pain syndrome (34).
For the intervention program, two studies (32,36) compared IASTM with a control group, one study (35) compared IASTM to soft-tissue massage, one study (34) compared two intervention programs that included either IASTM, strengthening exercises, stretching, and chiropractic manipulative therapy, and one study (38) compared three intervention programs that included either IASTM, dynamic strengthening (e.g., single leg hops), or proprioception exercises.
Two studies (32,35) did not report any specific IASTM treatment times.