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ROCKBLADES Technique and Massage!

Decrease Pain & Increase ROM

When I talk to clients about the benefits of IASTM and the ROCKBLADES technique they typically have no idea what I’m talking about or they have heard horrendous stories involving huge degrees of bruising and scrape type injuries associated with the use of IASTM.  In this article I’m hoping to clear up some of these misconceptions about the use of IASTM and more specifically, the use of the ROCKBLADES technique and tools. Before we get into this lets talk about:

What Is IASTM?

IASTM is basically short for Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization that allows the physiotherapist, the chiropractor or the massage therapist to very effectively find and treat dysfunctions of the soft tissue whether that be scar tissue or fascial restrictions.  There are Many different forms of IASTM and each form uses different styles of tools. The most popular form of IASTM is ROCKBLADES.

It is important that the individual who is going to be using IASTM in their practice, do their research to find the form that they feel is going to be the best resource in their “tool box” of modalities.

What exactly is the ROCKBLADES Technique?

The ROCKBLADES Technique is a form of IASTM (Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization) that utilizes a very distinct and recognizable set of 6 different stainless steel instruments to break up scar tissue and release fascial adhesions.

What exactly are adhesions and fascial restrictions?

Why is scar tissue a problem?

Scar tissue limits range of motion, and in many instances causes pain, which prevents the patient from functioning as he or she did before the injury.

How does the ROCKBLADES Technique work?

The ROCKBLADES technique works by utilizing a special tool to assess and detect injuries to the fibrotic tissues. Treatment involves cross-friction massage and deeper tissue massage in conjunction with ROCKBLADES – IASTM. This whole process will actually introduce new trauma to the area which helps to increase blood flow. The improved circulation generally promotes healing of soft tissues in the injured area.

Who do therapists or clinicians typically use the ROCKBLADES -IASTM Technique on? (i.e.: athletes and regular clients)

In many cases, the ROCKBLADES technique is used on athletes who are looking to increase their mobility and performance or who have been in pain for some time but haven’t found the proper treatment. These athletes often have nagging injuries that become inflamed due to their regular workouts, so they seek the help of a therapist to apply the ROCKBLADES technique to promote faster and more efficient healing.

Why would IASTM and the ROCKBLADES be used?

Massage techniques that utilize these additional instruments can help to break down scar tissue and reduce restrictions of the fascial tissue. These instruments are very precise, so the therapist can control the amount of trauma that gets introduced to the tissues to promote the body’s natural inflammatory response. The instruments also allow the therapist to break up muscle adhesions better than they could with their bare hands, allowing for a wider range of motion for the patient.

What are the benefits to the client?

ROCKBLADES is a non-invasive technique that can be performed by many therapists and treatment is generally quick and easy. The client will benefit from increased mobility and will experience pain relief. Because pain can be reduced greatly in a short period of time, it allows patients to get back on track to high levels of exercise and rehab treatment without losing large amounts of time set aside for healing. The quick results and improved range of motion is often considered a major positive aspect of ROCKBLADES for athletes.

As therapists, we can apply different amounts of pressure when using the ROCKBLADES technique, depending on the client’s specific needs and the pathology involved. The benefits are:

  • Increasing of blood flow and improving circulation.
  • Reduce areas of sensitivity – those areas that are very sensitive or tender.
  • Break down areas of fascial restrictions and scar tissue caused by injuries or surgery. “stickiness,” in the soft tissues of the body.

What are the ways in which using the ROCKBLADES Technique helpful to the therapist, in terms of “self-care”?

By reducing the time required to heal and promoting increased breakup of scar tissue adhesion and fascial restrictions, therapists benefit from their clients having a faster recovery time and better outcomes for a variety of conditions. Because mobility is increased, and pain is reduced almost immediately, patients can better take care of themselves in their daily workouts and rehab assignments. The therapist also benefits physically from preventing over-use of their hands, meaning they won’t have to modify their standard treatments.

Why is implementing IASTM and the ROCKBLADES Technique into a massage treatment so effective?

The tools implemented with IASTM and the ROCKBLADES Technique allow the therapist to apply a more precise amount of pressure, reducing the pain that may occur during treatment. It also helps them to pinpoint the areas that are causing problems, meaning that they can better focus their treatments based on the needs of each individual patient.

What Kinds of issues or pathologies is IASTM and the ROCKBLADES Technique reported to have success at treating?

IASTM and in particular, ROCKBLADES,  can treat acute and chronic conditions in addition to issues that may arise post-surgical.

The following are some conditions that can be treated using IASTM and more specifically the ROCKBLADES Technique:

  • Cervical strain/sprain (whiplash injuries and general neck pain)
  • Rotator cuff problems (shoulder pain)
  • Lateral and medial epicondylitis (tennis and golfer’s elbow, respectively)
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome (wrist pain)
  • Lumbar strain/sprain (low back pain)
  • Patellofemoral disorders (knee pain)
  • Achilles tendonosis (ankle pain)
  • Plantar fasciitis (foot pain)
  • Headaches and Migraines
  • TMJ issues
  • Thoracic pain (Upper back such as between the shoulder blades)
  • Lower back pain from strains, degenerative changes, disc pathology or joint dysfunctions
  • Hamstring pain/tightness
  • Quadricep pain/tightness
  • Ankle, knee, wrist, elbow sprains and strains
  • Acute and chronic sports injuries

ROCKBLADES reportedly reduces overall time of treatment, cuts down on having to take anti-inflammatory medication and helps facilitate faster recovery or rehabilitation . IASTM and in particular, ROCKBLADES, reportedly helps in resolving some chronic conditions that were once thought to be permanent.  For more information about this innovative treatment, reach out to us with any questions about IASTM and the ROCKBLADES technique.

Now and then, we are intrigued by certain “newfangled” treatments for injuries and for the pain resulting from them. If we have certain conditions, we want to try them all in the hopes that one will actually ease our pain or possibly resolve the condition completely.  Any opportunity that allows you to get relief from the physical suffering is the best of new. And based on our experience with using IASTM in our clinic, this opportunity, in our opinion can come from ROCKBLADES.

Is it possible that using IASTM  may be able to prevent the need for surgery?

Some chronic conditions that were once thought to be permanent have been greatly alleviated by using IASTM techniques such as ROCKBLADES, so it is possible that surgery can be prevented in certain circumstances. While everybody has a different response, we have found by using IASTM in our clinic, that our clients may be benefiting from us using the ROCKBLADES technique to such an extent that previously thought surgery may not be  necessary. This however, is based on our client results and ongoing study of the benefits of using IASTM is still being done.

How often should the ROCKBLADES treatment in conjunction with massage be done?

In our clinic, we will use IASTM and in particular,  ROCKBLADES treatment with every client treatment (If needed) and this is done in combination with a massage therapy session. We suggest that ROCKBLADES in conjunction with the massage therapy treatment could be done 1-2 times per month or as needed by the client.

Does IASTM treatment need to be painful and cause bruising, to work?

There are some common misconceptions surrounding the use of IASTM and the ROCKBLADES technique. One of the most widespread beliefs is that of pain and bruising to be necessary in order for these methods to work. In some cases, there may be discomfort but it is not true that any level of pain is needed for proper implementation of these techniques.

The practitioner will use the ROCKBLADES tool to run over and “catch” on fibrotic tissue, identifying the area of restriction. The tool is then used to break up the scar tissue so that the body can absorb it. Some patients have reported minor levels of discomfort, and certain practitioners have used the tools to cause minor bruising. However, at Custom Bodies Fitness and Massage, we do not believe that bruising or scrapes need to be produced to experience the effectiveness of the treatment. Our Therapists will communicate closely with the client to ensure that no bruising, scraping, or pain should occur.

Will Insurance cover my IASTM treatment?

At Custom Bodies Fitness and Massage all of our massage therapists are IASTM – ROCKBLADES certified  along with being registered Massage therapists. Since the ROCKBLADES Technique at the studio is performed by registered massage therapists as part of the massage treatment, then yes, the treatment is eligible for reimbursement by 3rd party insurance with massage therapy benefits.

Do I need a referral to access ROCKBLADES – IASTM treatment?

Absolutely not! No referral is necessary to receive IASTM treatment as we incorporate the treatment into the Massage Therapy Treatment.


ROCKBLADES – IASTM Technique and other similar soft tissue modalities are becoming more and more popular as time goes on. You likely already use a foam roller, tennis balls, golf balls, and lacrosse balls in your home to treat discomfort and pain. The ROCKBLADES Technique is essentially another form of those items. The advantage, however, is that ROCKBLADES is more targeted and performed by a healthcare professional.

Using ROCKBLADES – IASTM reportedly stimulates the fibroblasts (the cells that manufacture and maintain our connective tissue). What reportedly happens is the scar tissue is being broken up, subsequently creating an acute healing response which in turn stimulates the production of fibroblasts.

Proper diagnosis and a more in-depth examination are the key in determining what technique will work for you. Coordinating with your primary treatment provider for a diagnosis is highly important. Talk to your primary treatment provider and then book your Massage with ROCKBLADES today!



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