At South Jersey Sports Acupuncture, we apply guasha, also known as instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM), in addition to acupuncture therapy to resolve pain and tightness in the body. Graston Technique is a licensed and trademarked version of IASTM/guasha that is often used synonymously.
The first written records of guasha are 700 years old, although the modality could be much older. Virtually the same as guasha, IASTM was developed and refined by western medical professionals through years of detailed research. The use of these tools and their effectiveness has been scientifically validated repeatedly.
IASTM and guasha begin with applying lotion to the skin to reduce friction between the tool and the skin. This allows a precision, sensitivity, and depth that cannot be accomplished with the hands. Guasha and IASTM tools make it easier to detect and treat dysfunction in the fascia. The tools magnify the abnormalities (scars, restrictions, and adhesions) in the fascia and make it easier to locate the area to treat.
The use of guasha and IASTM tools focuses the force through an area smaller than your finger with less friction. The goal of the treatment is to trigger the inflammatory response, which stimulates the healing and remodeling of an injured area. A course of treatments can convert fibrotic tissues into healthier, more functional, and less painful areas.
The benefits of performing IASTM and guasha in conjunction with acupuncture treatments include:
Decreased overall time of treatment
Faster rehabilitation and recovery times
Reduced need for anti-inflammatory medication
Resolution of chronic conditions thought to be permanent
Clients can continue to engage in everyday activities while being treated with guasha/IASTM.
Common issues treated with guasha/IASTM are cervical sprain and strain (neck pain), lumbar sprain and strain (back pain), carpal tunnel syndrome (wrist pain), plantar fasciitis (foot pain), lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow), medial epicondylitis (golfer’s elbow), rotator cuff tendinitis (shoulder pain), patello-femoral disorders (knee pain), Achilles tendinitis (ankle pain), scar tissue, trigger finger, and shin splints.
Some redness (petechiae) will appear on the skin after treatment with guasha/IASTM. It is best to keep this area warm and covered for a couple of days while this redness heals. Avoid exposing this area to cold air or cold water until the redness resolves.