WHAT IS PHYSICAL THERAPY?
Physical therapy helps people maximize their quality of life, looking at physical, psychological, emotional and social wellbeing. They work in the health spheres of promotion, prevention, treatment/intervention, and rehabilitation.
Physical therapists are qualified and professionally required to:
- Undertake a comprehensive examination/assessment of the patient/client or needs of a client group
- Evaluate the findings from the examination/assessment to make clinical judgments regarding patients/clients
- Formulate a diagnosis, prognosis and plan
- Provide consultation within their expertise and determine when patients/clients need to be referred to another healthcare professional
- Implement a physical therapist intervention/treatment program
- Determine the outcomes of any interventions/treatments
- Make recommendations for self-management.
INSTRUMENT ASSISTED SOFT TISSUE MOBILIZATION (IASTM), MUSCLE SCRAPPING & GUA-SHA
This soft tissue mobilization technique originated in Asia and it became popular in the 1980s amongst physical therapist, one of the most common techiques being the Graston technique.
IASTM is performed using a specifically designed metal instrument to massage muscle tissue and fascia.
Scraping is used to break down abnormally dense tissue such as, trigger points, by allowing us to stimulate the nervous system and reinitiate the healing process to potentially accelerate healing.
Scraping targets: Both Chronic (long term) and Acute (short term) conditions including:
- Scar Tissue
- Trigger Points
- Fascial Restriction
- Muscle Tightness
- Tendons, and even ligaments
Patients with moderate to severe tenderness can benefit from IASTM to help desensitize an area and reduce the overall the intensity of pain. The purpose of the treatment is to stimulate the nervous system, trigger an inflammatory/healing response, and address and soft tissue mobility restrictions. IASTM may be a component of an all-inclusive rehabilitation program designed to address the source of the symptoms, as opposed to a pharmaceutical solution, which may only used to achieve temporary symptom relief without addressing the full nature of the condition; potentially leading to chronic pain and/or dysfunction.
Originated in China/Far East, ~5,000 years ago, and was established as an official therapeutic practice in hospitals during the 1950s in China. Cupping has expanded and evolved over the last decade with research done world-wide showing the beneficial results when performed correctly.
Cupping is the combination of massage movements and the use of a mild suction device on the skin. A cup is positioned at the area to be treated and a gentle vacuum is created within the cup to draw the skin and underlying tissue into the cup. This form of therapeutic intervention increases the circulation of blood and lymphatic fluid to the area, relaxes muscle tissue, assists with drawing swelling, pathogens, and toxins out of the body, and provides pain relief.
The intended suction varies, due to patient comfort/tolerance and purpose/goal of the treatment.
Cupping targets: BOTH, Chronic (long term) and Acute (short term) conditions
- Deep soft tissue/myofascial release with less discomfort
- Drains fluids relieving inflammation
- Improves mobility to muscles and connective tissues by minimizes adhesions
- Pulls blood supply to the skin (darkened spots show an increase in blood supply lighter spots show a restriction in blood flow)
- Strengthens the immune system by promoting the flow of lymph
Two types of cupping:
- Wet cupping (cup is moving, patient remains still): massage technique
- Dry cupping (cup remains still, patient may/may not move): stretch/range improved
IASTM and Cupping are considered more aggressive forms of Soft Tissue Mobilization (STM), both are used to restore optimal tissue quality and function. They can be used for breaking down scar tissue, trigger points, chronic tightness, and muscle spasms. Bruising following the procedure is common in scraping and both types of cupping, due to minor injuries created by capillaries breaking in order to promote healing.