What Is Astym Therapy?

Astym therapy

Thanks to rehabplusphoenix.com for the image.

Ever since I received Astym therapy from my physical therapist, I’ve been looking in to this odd field of scraping. Gua sha is a form of scraping that is a component of ancient Chinese medicine. IASTM is known as the Western version of gua sha.

Yet, although IASTM and Astym are both forms of scraping, they are two different things. How many ways to scrape a person are there? , I wondered.

So, I investigated. Here’s more about Astym and how it differs from IASTM.

Astym Therapy

Scientists and researchers created Astym therapy. This is extremely unique. Normally, forms of therapy exist then are tested, which determines whether or not they are effective. With Astym, the research was done beforehand to create an effective method.

The scientists particularly looked to advancements and discoveries regarding cells and tissue repairs. This helped inform their decision about tool design and therapy protocol.

According to the Astym website, the overall goal of Astym is to “stimulate regeneration at a cellular level and eliminate or reduce problematic scar tissue that may be causing pain or movement restrictions.”

Astym vs. IASTM

When you look at Astym versus IASTM, there are a few major differences. First, scientists created Astym and IASTM is the Western version of the Chinese practice of gua sha. Second, because scientists created Astym, quite a bit of research exists that proves its effectiveness in a variety of situations.

Third, Astym guards their reputation. Because this is a process that has been developed rather recently, Astym is a sort of like a brand name of instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization. Practitioners must undergo a specific training and use Astym-approved tools in their practice.

Finally, perhaps because of the very specific training, it seems that Astym might be a gentler practice. When I researched IASTM, there were some pictures and comments indicating that bruising would be normal. I can honestly say that in all the times that I received Astym treatment (which probably totals over 20 times) I have never had a bruise or any sort of pain from treatment.

Although there are differences, Astym and IASTM have some similarities. The main similarity is that they both truly want to accomplish the same thing. Both practices want to break-up and remove scar tissue and unnecessary adhesions. They do this by applying pressure with a tool and encouraging increased blood flow to the impacted area.

Benefits of Astym

According to the Astym website, some of the benefits for this therapy include:

  • It’s safe and effective.
  • It works quickly.
  • You get to stay active.
  • It’s non-invasive.
  • It fixes the problem, not the symptom.
  • Only certified providers can perform this therapy.
  • This is a research-based therapy.

Find a Therapist

To find an Astym therapist near you, check out the Astym website’s provider search. Once you know of the nearby locations that offer services, call to find out more information. Ask which therapists practice the Astym method, and find out about their availability.

If you are fortunate enough to have many therapists to choose from, ask among your friends to see if anyone has had any particularly memorable experiences. This input may help you make your final decision about where to go.

My Experience

I love this therapy! Astym is what my physical therapist uses on me, and I have noticed a great difference. I feel like my neck is more relaxed after she works on me, and I have a reduced amount of pain.

If you have the opportunity to try this out, I highly recommend it!

Who else has tried Astym? What did you think? Leave your comments below.

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About Sarah Stockett

Hi, I'm Sarah! I'm a certified Pilates and yoga instructor with a passion for pain relief. I believe you can use simple exercises to relieve your aches + pains. AND, I believe I can teach you how.