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Astym Treatment Option Available

The Physical Therapy Department at Clay County Medical Center recently had three providers certified to offer Astym© treatment for patients. Astym© hands-on stimulation takes traditional manual therapy to a new level by incorporating tools. Aaron Proctor, Director of Physical Therapy, notes the main advantage to this method, “This approach is more regenerative, the goal is that the body will work harder to heal itself”. With traditional manual therapy, providers use only their hands. There are limits to what hands alone can do, and human hands get tired. The new approach eliminates both those issues. 

With Astym© the therapist has ways to augment traditional approaches. For example, if a patient suffers a sprained ankle, there is swelling and pain and scar tissue can form. Using the Astym© system, a therapist maneuvers the tool over tissues in line with the grain of the muscle and finds the fibrotic tissue. A cascade of clean-up cells is created by working the excess fibrous tissue. Those cells tear down dysfunctional tissues and then the building cells come in to reset the tissue. Patients appreciate having access to solutions that do more than cover up symptoms. Proctor noted, “Most other things we do for treating pain symptoms mask them with pills or injections or involve something destructive.” 

Application of the tools loads the tissue, so patients can more quickly start to exercise and strengthen the injured area and return to regular activity. This return to activity helps the body create a blue print of how it should be working. Proctor sees other benefits as well, “Patients could begin this treatment even if the injury occurred some time ago. It can’t hurt their healing and has potential to help significantly even if the injury was long ago.” Insurance coverage is typically the same as for other Physical Therapy services. 

Other promising uses of Astym© include patients who have a total knee replacement or those who had a mastectomy. Outcomes determine the success of treatment. For instance, how is the impacted area performing during day-to-day activities? In the instance of a mastectomy patient, can you put on your shirt or reach dishes higher up in the cabinet? 

The capacity to regenerate healthy soft tissue, eliminate scar tissue and return a joint or body part to normal movement with no pain can dramatically enhance quality of life. Consult your primary care physician or with the Physical Therapy Department directly to see if Astym© might help you regain soft tissue function.