What is Fascial Manipulation?

Fascial Manipulation, or “Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM)”, or “Scraping”, is a manual therapy technique that works by targeting the fascia. Fascia is a connective tissue network that surrounds and interconnects various structures in the body, including muscles, bones, organs, and nerves. The goal of fascial manipulation is to identify and address restrictions, adhesions, or dysfunctions within the fascial system, which can cause pain and limited mobility.

Here’s how a session might go:


  • The first step in fascial manipulation involves a thorough assessment by one of our licensed physical therapists. The physical examination helps us identify areas of fascial restriction or dysfunction.

Identification of Key Points

  • During the assessment, we will identify specific points or areas where the fascia is restricted or tense. These points are often referred to as “trigger points” or “fascial points.”

Tool Selection

  • We use smooth-edged fascial scraping tools made of stainless steel to manipulate and release fascia. These tools have rounded edges to prevent skin damage, and are of different shapes and sizes.


  • Before starting the session, we will lubricate your skin with massage oil or lotion to reduce friction and facilitate smooth glide of the tool.


  • The therapist holds the tool at a specific angle to the skin’s surface and applies firm pressure while moving it in a controlled manner over the target area. The direction of pressure is typically along the muscle fibers. The pressure applied can vary depending on your tolerance and the intended depth of treatment.


This is how fascial manipulation aids in recovery:

Release of Tension

  • Scraping the tool over the skin helps to release tension between various musculoskeletal structures and the fascia. It can also “break up” fascial adhesions or scar tissue, which can improve mobility and reduce pain.

Pain Relief

  • Many people report immediate pain relief or reduced muscle soreness after a session. The mechanism is that manipulating the fascia may stimulate the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers.

Improved Blood Flow

  • Fascial manipulation improves blood circulation in the treated area by the improving mobility of the tissues, which allows blood to better reach the tissues via small vessel networks. This blood flow helps deliver more oxygen and nutrients to the tissues while removing waste products, aiding in the healing process.

Lymphatic Drainage

  • Facial manipulation stretches and mobilizes the skin, which also stimulates the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system reduces swelling and eliminates waste products from the body, which detoxifies and improves your overall well-being.

While many of our patients notice a significant improvement in their condition after one session, you may need more than one session to achieve your desired outcome. The frequency and duration of treatment can vary based on individual needs, and we will work with you to come up with a schedule or treatment plan.

If this technique is something you are interested in, come try it out with us. We will help you determine whether fascial manipulation is a suitable part of your individual recovery and rehabilitation plan.

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