1. Aim – What do you aim to use the tools for?
• Target specific areas
• Save your hands
• Improve patient outcome
• Reduce pain
• Improve range of motion
For many clinicians, all of the above are essential for an IASTM treatment (us included!). Dependent on what your overall goal is can depend on which tools will be most suitable to you.
For the therapist
A major claim of IASTM is that it saves the therapist hands. However in reality, many IASTM tools still leave therapists with fatigued hands which in effect reduces quality of the treatment for the patient. This is mainly due to how slippery some tools are, especially when used in conjunction with creams and emollient. It’s important that when trying IASTM tools to factor in the texture and how the grip feels, as well as weight and material density to ensure the tools really do what they say on the package.
Behind the scenes
You can achieve IASTM using pretty much anything – even a spoon! But the quality of treatment and the limitations of this will be evident quickly. Look into engineering of the tools and how they are designed for both the therapists needs as well as the patients. An ergonomically designed tool is most likely going to be more comfortable for yourself which will have a real impact on the patient. It’s important to look for tools with a variety of treatment edges, including single and double bevels to treat a variety of patients to really maximise their use.
3. Quantity – is 1 tool really enough?
Height, age, gender, injury and clinician are all factors which may affect treatment. Would the same tool be suitable on the neck as it would on the hamstring? A 30 year old Rugby player and a 6 year old ballerina? People and injuries are all different, so your tools must be too! Different sizes, shapes and edges will all have an impact on the success of your IASTM treatment. You can access multi-tools or the ‘swiss-army’ knives of the IASTM world however they are limited in size and weight in many cases.
There are so many options out there for you to access IASTM, but really do your research and ask the right questions to make sure you get the tool that is right for you!