Looking to buy IASTM Instruments? Not sure what to get? Don’t worry, check out our 5 Rules to help in your decision making.
5 Rules To Ensuring You Choose The Right IASTM Instruments For You!
Choosing the right IASTM instruments or set can be a tricky process. The recent growth in IASTM has led to a significant increase in the number of different IASTM tools and instruments available. While the variety is great for consumer choice, it makes selecting the right instruments for your specific needs more difficult. With every manufacturer claiming a unique selling point, for example exceptional feedback, most cost-effective, unique design, patented textured surface etc, it’s hard to really know which instruments are best suited to you.
Make sure the instrument(s) are suitable for the type of IASTM you want to perform.
IASTM instruments are designed in different ways. Some instruments are optimised for neurological stimulation, and fascial mobilization. Others for mechanical force transmission and diagnostic feedback. The material, shape, size and treatment edges all effect the way the instrument performs. If you want to perform detailed IASTM techniques using the traditional mechanical approach (made popular by Graston® and ASTYM) you will want instruments that can deliver the feel and precision these techniques require. If you are hopping to use IASTM neurological stimulation, or fascial mobilization techniques to quickly loosen up tight and restricted tissue, then you might be willing to sacrifice instrument feel and diagnostic performance as these qualities aren’t so important for this approach. Ultimately using the right tools for the job will greatly increase your IASTM results.
One IASTM instrument or tool may not be enough!
In some instance you will be fine with just one IASTM instrument, especially if you just want to perform basic soft tissue mobilization. In this case you might want to consider an ’All-in-One’ instrument, or a specialist tool like the FAT-Tool. They will generally be cheaper than purchasing an instrument set, plus there a lot easier to carry around. (Great if you’re a mobile therapist or personal trainer working on the gym floor etc).
But with those benefits also comes compromise. If you want to treat pain and soft tissue injuries, limiting yourself to one instrument will likely mean you having to compromise ontreatment effectiveness. When treating soft tissue injuries, mechanical force transmission and diagnostic feedback become significantly more important. The shape, size and edge of an instrument all play an important role in determining these key factors. Having a range of instruments to choose from, simply means you can choose the most appropriate instrument for the structure / area your treating.
The Material that your IASTM Instrument or tool set matters!
While you can technically get results using these materials, they are nothing like precision made stainless steel instruments. In our opinion, they definitely don’t help you learn the techniques as well as a quality instrument, in fact, they really take away from the whole IASTM experience as they generally they have poor feedback and a dull, lifeless feel. We appreciate that they can be considerably less expensive, but shop around, there are some fantastic and very reasonable priced precision ground stainless steel instruments available if you’re on a budget.
Not all stainless steel IASTM Instruments And Tools are the same. Stainless steel instruments come in all shapes and sizes. Can have excellent feedback qualities, is externally durable and increased weight means you don’t have to use as much manual pressure when treating. However, there are three main ways in which stainless steel instruments are made which all provide slightly different qualities:
Precision ground billet stock removal: Instruments are hand-made and shaped through a process of grinding and stock removal. This allows far greater control over the instrument bevels, the shape and feel of the edge and the transitional areas. (How the tool flows from, one edge surface to another). Generally tools are expensive, due to the significant time the manufacturing process takes. Provides the best steel instrument feedback and overall feel.
Cast: Molten steel is poured in to a mold of the instrument, then finished via hand. Allows far more complex 3dimensionianl shapes to be created, or the ability to incorporating intricate patterns (to enhance grip). Impurities in the casting process mean they can have reduced feedback and a slightly ‘dull’ feel compared to precision ground instruments.
CNC milled: A machine is used to simply cut the shape out of a sheet of steel. Very cost effective, and can allow more complex profiles to be made. However, the edges and transitions tend not to be of the same quality as precision ground instruments. From the ones we have tested, this can give the tool a very sharp, aggressive edge (if it’s not finished by precision grounding), and even if ground, the edge still has a very ‘dull’ feel. Feedback was also very poor compared to precision ground instruments.
Try out a range of different IASTM Instruments
Some instruments are very sharp and have an aggressive feel, others have an abrasive texture, and some are more passive and less invasive. Basically different materials have a completely different feel. If you don’t like the feel of a certain instrument, or find it uncomfortable, do you want to subject your clients to that same feeling? In the end it’s all about personal preference, and if you haven’t tested a variety of instruments on yourself, you’re really just guessing, and relying on other people’s opinions and experiences.
Using IASTM instruments doesn’t guarantee you’ll save your hands!
One of the biggest statements companies use to sell their IASTM products is ‘IASTM helps save your hands’ Speaking from experience, using many IASTM instrument can actually be extremely fatiguing and uncomfortable. The problem is most IASTM instruments are highly polished and therefor smooth, feature lovely curves and have beveled edges. This makes them extremely tricky to grasp! Add in some emollient and you have a recipe for over gripping, discomfort and hand fatigue. Typically, instruments are designed to have either the maximum number of treatment edges, or are shaped to fit specific body parts etc. Unfortunately both concepts neglect the most important body part, YOUR HANDS! If you relax your grip on the instrument, everything else becomes easier. If you really want to save your hands, choose instruments that have been ergonomically designed to be held. You might sacrifice some treatment edges, but you will more than make up for this with ease of use and comfort!
The unique and patented design of the K-Tools handle enables you to maintain a secure hold of the tool without having to excessively grip it. More traditional designs, often require you grip harder to maintain a secure hold.
We hope these top tips help you as the right questions so that you can make an educated decision on which IASTM instruments or tool sets will be right for you. At KiHealthConcept IASTM Seminars we encourage or delegates to try out a range of IASTM instruments and tool sets from a range of manufacturers to help them in their decision. If you are interested in finding out more about our seminars feel free to check out The KiHealthConcepts Store.