ASTYM Therapy

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March 26, 2021
ASTYM Therapy

The term Astym may be new to you. Astym therapy was designed to help mobilize soft tissues in order to promote healing. Astym is a form of therapy that helps regenerate healthy soft tissue like muscles and tendons. Through the process of Astym therapy, it reduces scar, degeneration and fibrosis tissues that could be causing pain or limiting your mobility. Here is a quick-link to the Astym therapy website for more general information.

Peter Coulter, Physical Therapist in our Marlton location, was able to answer some questions about Astym Therapy. He is interested in treating a wide variety of diagnoses such as soft tissue tendinopathies, post-operative rehabilitation, and fall risk/balance retraining. His goal is to provide individualized treatment programs focusing on patient goals. Pete currently holds a certification in Astym, which is a soft tissue mobilization technique.


What is Astym Therapy?
Astym treatment is designed to restore soft tissues (muscles, tendons, etc.) at a cellular level. It rebuilds and heals the soft tissues of the body through regeneration of healthy tissue and removal of unwanted scar tissue that may be causing pain or movement restrictions.


What conditions can Astym Therapy assist in treating?
Astym treats a variety of musculoskeletal conditions including tendinopathies, sprains/strains, joint and muscle stiffness, and injuries resulting in scar tissue buildup (post-traumatic, post-surgical). Specific conditions include Achilles tendinopathy, golfer’s elbow, tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, IT band syndrome, trochanteric bursitis, patellar tendinopathy, DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis, and rotator cuff tendinopathy.


How is Astym Therapy performed?
Astym uses certain instruments based on surface area of specific muscles of the human body. Astym treats the entire kinetic chain meaning that the instruments will not be used only along the injured area of the body. The strokes of the instrument glide parallel to the soft tissue in order to identify dysfunctional/painful tissue, provide a stimulus, and assess the entire kinetic chain efficiently.


How many sessions of Astym Therapy do I need?
A typical treatment course consists of four to six weeks with the patient participating in physical therapy 2-3x/week.


What are the benefits of Astym Therapy?
Studies have shown the following benefits of Astym therapy:    
- Improve tendon repair
- Increase limb function
- Normalize movement patterns
- Reduce pain
- Improves muscle performance
- Significant increase in fibroblast activation to facilitate normal collagen organization


Is Astym covered by insurance?

Astym is covered by insurance as a standard PT treatment under manual therapy techniques.


Evidence:
- A recent systematic review noted that Astym therapy results in significantly better outcomes in a variety of musculoskeletal disorders including post-surgical pain, tendinopathy, and soft tissue dysfunction.

- Astym therapy has been found to reduce pain and increase function in cases where scar tissue is interfering with movement or causing pain.

- In a large study of patients undergoing a total knee arthroplasty (TKA), patients who underwent Astym treatment reported significant mean improvements in both Knee Society objective and functional scores.

- Patients post-mastectomy with restricted movement following a course of Astym therapy reported less pain, increased function, reduced hypersensitivity, and overall shoulder range of motion improvements.

- In a large, randomized trial of Astym therapy vs. eccentric exercise in the treatment of lateral elbow tendinopathy, the Astym treatment group resolved 78.3% of subjects whereas eccentric exercise group resolved 40.9% of subjects.

- A randomized, controlled clinical trial on insertional Achilles tendinopathy demonstrated that Astym therapy yielded superior results within a 12-week period, and those results were maintained at 26 weeks and 52 weeks.


Testimonial from Astym.com

Astym therapy has answered both the physical and emotional needs of her patients. (Lauren TeBrink, OTR/L) “To see the hope I can provide these women is beyond impactful to me as a therapist. To tell them I can improve their range of motion, decrease their pain, help them wear a bra more comfortably, and most importantly, to help them feel more like themselves again.”


Peter Coulter, PT, DPT, LSVT BIG… Read Peter’s bio here.

More questions about PT and what to expect? Email Peter directly here!