The Fibroblaster IASTM Tool
Over the past several months there has been much discussion about instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) techniques and IASTM tools on this website. I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of people using IASTM. For those that know me, you know that I am constantly striving to improve and find the best product to use for IASTM. I have tried almost all of the products on the market and have shared my past thoughts on IASTM tools in a previous post and discussion.
There was a lot of discussion regarding my previous post on the Graston Technique and during the discussion, I was lucky enough to receive a post from Jacob Fey. Jacob is a physical therapy student at the University of Buffalo and has started to make a pretty good IASTM tool called the Fibroblaster. Before we talk about the tool, I asked Jacob to write me a brief background into the development of the Fibroblaster, below is Jacob’s story.
How and Why the Fibroblaster Started
During undergrad I first heard of IASTM, from a friend and former classmate that was attending chiropractic college; he talked about Gua Sha, Graston and SASTM. He went into their use and cost (how he was going to try to even pay for it). He sparked my curiosity and I started to look into IASTM, particularly the major marketers (Graston, SASTM, and ASTYM) and how it was theorized to work. Also, during my extremities orthopedic class in DPT, an adjunct clinical professor showed us a tool that he had been using. This was my first hands on exposure to an instrument. He also talked about some of the IASTM tools on the market. Most of us were interested in the tools but not the price. I joked to a couple of classmates that day in class that I could make them less expensively and they said they would buy one if I could pull it off.
I started talking with the Machine Shop staff in the Engineering Department at the University at Buffalo. Since I was a student I had access to the university’s facilities to do the project at a substantial savings. I learned to use CAD software to save money by doing the designing and prototyping myself. Once I had the design, I also figured out the whole machining process and related costs. It was pitched to my current and former classmates getting enough interest to move forward. About 75% of the class pre-ordered to fund the project and the first run of Fibroblasters was made in late Fall ’09 (entire project was not-for-profit).
Over the following year, there was enough interest to pursue another run of Fibroblasters with an updated design. This time the entire project was done off campus with a local company to assist with manufacturing (Made in the USA). After I collected the pre-orders and borrowed some startup money, I completed the necessary paperwork to form Fibroblaster LLC. Tools were completed and Fibroblaster sales began Nov. 1st, 2010.
As with all good stories, I have to give a shout out for my mom. She went online to be the first to purchase a Fibroblaster from the website, at retail price no less. She proudly displays it next to the clay knickknacks that were made in elementary school. For the financially strapped graduate student, there is a student discount for those willing to supply me with their advisor’s name, email, contact number, school name and grad date. Once status is verified, they receive a discount via email. Since the start sales have been steady and there has been lot of positive feedback from those who have purchased. The goal of Fibroblaster is to make a quality soft tissue mobilization instrument without the high price tag that is associated with other stainless steel IASTM tools on the market.
My Thoughts on the Fibroblaster IASTM Tool
I thought that was a good story to share and that the product was worthy to promote to my readers (I have no financial interest). I have been using the tool for a couple of weeks now and must say that it is definitely worth looking into. The design and materials, being stainless steel, are of top quality.
The tool has a great weight to it and resonates well, again thanks to the stainless steel. The holes in the tool make it real easy to grip, especially when things get a little slippery. And the sides have good concave and convex edges to them. It has a single beveled edge but I found that you could using it in either direction to get a slightly different feel that was adequate. I’m also trying to talk Jacob into working on a second Fibroblaster IASTM tool for more intricate areas of the body like the hand, forearm, foot, and ankle.
I would still advocate that if you are interested in IASTM but worried about cost, that you start with simple Gua Sha tools made of horn, jade, or even bian stone. I would rather see more people using IASTM with less expensive tools if cost is prohibitive to some. But if you are ready to make the jump to a more expensive IASTM tool, stainless steel is definitely the way to go.
I have tried almost all of the tools on the market and the Fibroblaster ranks pretty high among them, I would recommend you try it first. The Fibroblaster is relatively affordable for a stainless steel tool at $125, especially with the huge student discount that Jacob is offering at $75, and you have to respect Jacob’s approach and background story. Kudos to him for trying to bring a quality IASTM tool to the market without excessive pricing!
For more info visit Fibroblaster.com
Do You Have Interest in Learning More About IASTM?
UPDATE: Wow, the response from the poll below is pretty overwhelming, you want more educational info on IASTM! I am working on this and hope to have this done by the end of the summer, and it will be very affordable!
One thing I have been considering is putting together an education product, perhaps an online program or maybe a DVD, on IASTM. I was thinking about talking about the history, research, and how I use IASTM in my practice. Perhaps also a section on the various different IASTM tools and companies that are educating and selling IASTM products so you can make good decisions on purchases. I recommend them all. What do you think, would this be of interest to you? Click below to take my 2 question poll and let me know!
Poll is closed.