Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization Techniques – ASTYM

Ryan Eastridge, PT, DPT was recently certified in a manual therapy technique that uses uniquely designed tools to help release tight muscles. ASTYM is a trademarked process of using specific instruments rather than only the therapist’s hands.

This is a picture of Ryan Eastridge, PT, DPT

Ryan Eastridge, PT, DPT

Eastridge describes the body’s natural orientation of healthy muscle fibers as being like a box of uncooked spaghetti noodles explaining “when a muscle has been damaged or strained, as it repairs itself, the muscle fibers become criss-crossed and intertwined in all sorts of patterns.

The adhesions, scar tissue or bunched up fascia (the layer that holds muscle fibers together) have to release gradually and carefully. The tools used in ASTYM help the therapist apply the minimal but perfect amount of pressure to avoid damaging any healthy tissue close to the damaged area in the muscle.

ASTYM is not an acronym. It describes a unique method of using specific tools to assist with remodeling tissue as it is healing. It is different than other instrument assisted mobilization techniques in that it is gentle, and it is feedback driven. In other words, the therapist feels the soft tissue response to the instrument and then knows to apply more or less force. The goal is to release the tight band in the muscle to improve range of motion or performance.

In his practice, Eastridge achieves good outcomes using ASTYM with tennis elbow and frozen shoulders. He has also experienced success treating iliotibial band syndrome, Achilles tendinopathy, plantar fasciitis, shin splints and hamstring strains. He recommends ASTYM as an option for treatment that may help patients recover when other treatment strategies have not been successful

Patients often ask if the technique will hurt. Eastridge tells everyone “it may be mildly uncomfortable at first but as the muscle heals, the discomfort typically becomes noticeably less.”

Ryan Eastridge, PT, DPT is a Senior Physical Therapist at the Gloucester Courthouse Clinic. If you think you may benefit from ASTYM, a unique method of utilizing instruments to release soft tissue call to make an appointment.
The physical therapists at Tidewater Physical Therapy Inc. hold Direct Access Certification through the Virginia Board of Physical Therapy allowing them to evaluate and treat patients without a prescription. As part of a healthcare team, a physical therapist will make an assessment of a patient’s condition and create a plan to start on the road to wellness. The Tidewater Physical Therapy team will communicate with a patient’s physician or dentist of record and obtain a referral, if necessary, for continued treatment. Tidewater Physical Therapy will also work with insurance carriers to make sure services are covered by a patient’s plan.