What you should know about IASTM

Shawn Burger… 

A growing trend in Physical Therapy is the use of IASTM.  Frankly most people do not understand the value of it.  Let me do my best to explain through a little Q and A.

Q.  What is IASTM?

                A.  IASTM is a form of massage where “instruments” or a “Tool” is used in place of one’s hands.

Q.  Why would I want IASTM?

                A.  Early Research and growing anecdotal evidence leads us to believe patients get better results.

Q.  How does IASTM work?

                A.  Mechanically, early evidence suggests that IASTM works as a stimulant of the inflammatory cascade.  Meaning patients with muscular-skeletal problems involving muscles and soft tissue (i.e. Ligaments, Tendons and fascia) who suffer from chronic pain may have their tissue “stuck” in the healing cascade and unable to heal themselves.  Research shows that Fibroblasts are significantly stimulated with the technique.

Q.  When did IASTM begin?

                A.  Various models of the technique have been around in cultures for thousands of years.  In the Western Healthcare Model, IASTM began in earnest during the early to mid 90’s in Indiana.

Q.  Who and what are the IASTM techniques?

                A.  There are 3 major competitors in the IASTM market all originated from the same research and same principle “partners.”  The original Technique was called Grastech, changing its name to Graston after the founder David Graston.  Later on, Dr. Sevier, one of the principles left to start his own company ASTYM and later still, David Graston having sold Graston Technique started his own company SASTM.

Q.  What difference is there between the 3 major IASTM companies?

                A.  Materials, Education and Business Model.  The technique minus semantic vernacular is the same.

Graston Technique:  Steel Instruments, 25.5 hours of training, clinician purchases for aprox $3700

ASTYM:  Plastic Instruments, 12 hours of training, clinician pays $700/yr for 10 years ($7000 total)

SASTM:  Plastic Instruments, 4-6 hours of training, aprox $1000 investment.


                A.  We offer Graston Technique at all twelve (12) of our sites.  We particularly like that the instruments are made of steel and therefore we feel more comfortably that they can be truly CLEANED between uses from one patient to the other.   Along with their quality clinical education are driving forces in our ability in maintaining a quality work environment.

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