Thursday, March 31, 2016

Graston Technique®, ASTYM, FAKTR, SASTM, Gua Sha are all forms of IASTM (Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization). The purpose of which is to break down scar tissue and adhesions that are causing multi-layered soft tissue restriction and adversely affecting the dynamic function of the underlying muscles, tendons, fascia & fascial planes, ligaments, etc. These restrictive scars and adhesions can be from old injuries, surgeries, repetitive strain (like carpal tunnel), mis-use or improper use of your body when working, playing, doing sports or just from the day-to-day activities of your normal life. They happen from car accident, sitting in front of a computer too much for too long or from childhood bumps and bruises that were never really attended too properly. There are some minor difference between the techniques I mentioned above however ultimately, all are very effective for the right conditions. However effectiveness doesn't depend so much on the original coursework or specific technique, but the experience of the practitioner and the accuracy of their diagnosis coupled with proper application of the technique. One thing I want to "get off my chest" is that Graston Technique® & ASTYM aren't new techniques. Your doctor or therapist may have just learned it and is all excited about it, but these techniques have been around for over 20 years with the original research being done at Ball State University. Gua Sha actually dates back to the 5th &; 7th centuries (roughly 700-BC to 500-AD). FAKTR & SASTM have been around since the mid to late 2000 respectively IASTM techniques are not simply the use of instruments to loosen or remove adhesions and provoke an acute inflammatory response, but it’s the follow up treatment, stretching, therapies, resistance, rehab & anti-inflammatory nutrition that completes the techniques and is equally as important. Otherwise, you're simply doing Gua-Sha/Instrument Massage and without the proper follow-up, you can expect the symptoms and condition to return. Sometimes, they’ll return with a vengeance. This is why you want a fully trained (and experienced) practitioner performing this on you or your athletes Having become certified in Graston Technique® M1 & M2 in 2002 and several years ago, trained in FAKTR-PM (now known simply as FAKTR), 11 years of the last 20 years using IASTM full time in my practice, weekend excursions as a member of the sports medicine team at local sporting events, a 10 day rotation at the 2006 Central American & All Caribbean Games and 10 days at the 2011 Pan American Games, all gives me a unique experience and perspective in the practical application of IASTM. You’ll find many others with varied but similar experience. Some of the most important factors for providing good IASTM are: 1. A good physical exam 2. Sports specific examination of their injury 3. Creativity -Thinking outside the box (and sometimes outside the walls of your clinic) As a result of my experience with Graston Technique®, FAKTR and IASTM in general, I developed my own instrument design known as the Narson Body Mechanic N6. The design is patented in Canada and I’m very proud to announce that it has been awarded a US Patent as well (just received the certificate today!!). The reason I designed this instrument was out of my constant need to be more efficient with IASTM. The design affords me the ability to carry all of the most useful IASTM instruments with me in one convenient tool. No longer do I have to carry a kit of tools with me. No longer do I have to clean multiple instruments between patients. I have everything in one hand at all times. The design includes a non-slip gripping surface which reduces tool slippage and reduces practitioner finger & hand fatigue which, the longer you do IASTM with real highly polished stainless steel instruments, you’ll come to appreciate. The other thing most of us in the USA can appreciate is that it’s the only useful “multi-tool” for IASTM that is made from 100% U.S. steel and made 100% by hand right here in the U.S.A. When it comes to giving effective IASTM, the most important thing to remember is after a good base education, it’s the wealth of experience along with the doctor’s (or therapist) ability to be creative. From my experience, it's thinking outside the box that matters most, coupled with a good nutrition plan, rehab and anti-inflammatory therapies and the results will astound. It’s very possible with IASTM to take long time chronic injuries-treat them with IASTM and have the athlete back out playing the same day or the next day. This year I have helped a multitude triathletes get back into their training to complete in the full Ironman triathlon. Others are back training to complete 26.2 distance marathons and half marathons and some people are back into their workout routine because of the proper application of IASTM. Often you’ll find me at the pool, the track, with a cyclist on an indoor trainer or running on the sidewalk with a patient working with them while they do their sport. For me, putting a person in the exact environment that produces their symptoms is the only way to resolve the problem. Just like anything else in life, experience matters and creative matters. Even with IASTM. 'nuff said Dr. T

Dr. Narson is a 2-term past president of the Florida Chiropractic Association’s Council on Sports Injuries, Physical Fitness & Rehabilitation and was honored as the recipient of the coveted Chiropractic Sports Physician of the Year Award in 1999-2000. He practices in Miami Beach, Florida at the Miami Beach Family & Sports Chiropractic Center; A Facility for Natural Sports Medicine.

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