The Fibroblaster IASTM Tool

UPDATE: There is a new article that discusses my current recommendations for the best IASTM tool.  This newer article contains my updated recommendation for several tool options and information on how to learn how to use IASTM.

 

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

IASTM ToolDuring 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

UPDATE: There is a new article that discusses my current recommendations for the best IASTM tool.  This newer article contains my updated recommendation for several tool options and information on how to learn how to use IASTM.

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.

Fibroblaster Fibroblaster

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?

My new online educational program will teach you everything you need to know to start using IASTM today!  IASTM does not have to be complicated to learn or expensive to start using.  Learn everything about IASTM including the history, efficacy, tool options, different stroke patterns, basic techniques, advanced techniques, and how to integrate IASTM into your current manual therapy skills and treatment programs!

Learn more about how to perform IASTM today!

 

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32 Responses to “The Fibroblaster IASTM Tool”

  1. Thanks Mike! I have been wanting to order one of the Fibroblaster’s for a while now, but forgot what it was called. You saved me a lot of searching! Great article.

  2. Let’s be fair here…this is not an entirely new instrument. This is a combination of several IASTM tools, but largely based on the STARR tool. It has an identical shape – but the edges of the STARR tool are not beveled as in the GT instruments. I think this this instrument will work wonderfully, but lets give credit where it is due.

  3. I agree with the previous poster. It looks just like the STARR tool. Are there any proprietary issues here?

  4. Is there any research that shows these tools are any better or any worse than simply using ones hands to touch the skin and get a response from the cutaneous nerves? I know there is research that shows they get positive outcomes, but does it have anything to do with the tool or just that something is touching the skin? Also seems like a fair amount of case studies in the literature with the tools, which means that there is high risk for placebo effects to be a reason behind outcomes.

    • Kory, sounds like you havent tried using IASTM. Try them, you’ll see and feel the difference. Don’t get me wrong, it’s just part of your tool set, I still use many other forms of soft tissue, but IASTM is pretty good.

  5. Kenneth Cieslak, DC, ATC, CSCS Reply May 27, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    I agree with Tom. I have a STARR Tool, and it is remarkably similiar, except for the larger opening in the middle. As far as inexpensive stainless steel IASTM instruments, the best one I have come across out there so far is the “Scimitar Tool” which sells for about $230.00 US. It has nice contours, weight, and edges. I am waiting to try out one of Malcolm Inne’s tools, so I cannot comment on them, however they appear to be good options also. Just an FYI, I have the STARR Tool, but never really got comfortable with its shape in my hand. It felt somewhat awkward.

  6. The fibroblaster is definitely similar to the STARR tool and I am sure it is based off it, but I have both, and all of the things I did not like about the STARR tool have been addressed with the Fibroblaster – the edges, the hole size, and the depth of concavity. This is similar but improved for sure. To be honest, I dislike the STARR tool edges so much that I stopped using it.

    Agree the Inne tools look really nice, but still too pricey in my mind. IASTM doesnt need to be so expensive! As good as they look I would just use Jade or Bian stone for under $20.

  7. Mike, your right I have not tried them. Just wondering if there is “really” a big difference. I remember getting out of school in the early 90′s and thinking the US wand was pretty good and seemed like a lot of my patients got better when I used it. The research know shows it probably had less to do with the US and more with placebo, some Hawthorn effects and the other things that I did. Just wondering if these IASTM tools will turn out to be the same thing?

  8. Mike, which shapes Gua Sha tools do you use most. I have been researching for a bit and the myriad of shapes is rather daunting. My clinic has a SASTM set and I am not a huge fan of the grip on any of the tools.

  9. I use the tools from myo-bar.com
    cheap and amazing

  10. Great resource for soft tissue tools. I’ll have to check out some of the ones mentioned in the article and the comments.

    When I did my acupuncture education, we used bone, horn, and even a coin. I gotta say though, as I get more “seasoned” (ie: broken down) I wonder if saving my hands isn’t a great idea by using a variety of tools.

    Listen up young’ens

  11. Hi, good post Mike, I am interested in using the fibroblaster as i perform a lot of manual therapy/per day and my thumbs are quite hypermobile (not a good combo!) however there are no guidlines for use, (on here or on fibroblasters website) some youtube videos would be extremely beneficial!

  12. I recently stumbled across a set of IASTM tools called “Myo-Bar”

    I was curious if you have any experience or opinion on these tools. I am looking at picking up something to take the stress off of my hands, as I find I am doing more soft tissue work in practice recently.

  13. Hi Mike,

    Are you going to have an IASTM course ready soon? The idea of an online introductory course is outstanding. I’ve had lots of colleagues tell me that I should just buy some instruments and get started and learn on the fly, but I feel that some level of instruction and introduction would be beneficial.

    • Kent, working on it, hoping to have ready by the spring, maybe even a little earlier.

      • Mike, have you looked into the newer Jack tool from Jacob? I’m curious what you think of it. I’m really thinking of getting a fibroblaster and wondering if it’s worth it to have the Jack as well or even just that?

  14. Adam Morrell, DC, MS Reply March 19, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    Bumping a 3 month old thread :)

    I bought GT instruments way back when and I’ve used just about every IASTM material tool on the market be it jade, plastic, stainless or ceramic. Over and over again I find myself using the stainless. Since I have the GT that’s what I use, but there are some new instrument sets that I like including the new FAKTR PM models.

    What I’ve found is that a decent quality stainless steel with a good beveled edge is the key. The rest comes down to personal preference.

  15. Nathan Lauenstein Reply April 21, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    For those interested in an introductory course, the STARR tool comes with an instructional DVD that is quite good, but a very thorough review of the principles behind IASTM and a thorough review of anatomy followed by palpation and use practice is the best way to go. As for the STARR tool I use it but I think I would like the bevelled edge of the fibroblaster and it seems to have every necessary surface covered with this tool so I may switch.

  16. I just found a site that will be selling 2 Fibroblasters for $99! tmltools.com Does not include any instructional materials. But for the price it seems hard to beat. Site is new and may be a scam or??? Think I’ll wait for someone else to be first.

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Stuff You Should Read: 6/27/11 | Eric Cressey - June 27, 2011

    [...] The Fibroblaster IASTM Tool – This post from Jacob Fey on Mike Reinold’s site describes the Fibroblaster, a new instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization tool, that was actually designed and manufactured by Fey himself.  Jacob’s a buddy of CP’s own Chris Howard, and as a result, we’ve had a chance to experience the Fibroblaster first-hand in the manual therapy that’s done at Cressey Performance.  It’s a fantastic implement with a promising feature, for sure. [...]

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