Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM): Comprehensive Skills Course

Rehab Education CE Credits: Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM): Comprehensive Skills CourseSoft tissue pathology plays a primary role in limiting mobility, often resulting in profound loss of function for those with injuries. This course covers the theory and intervention strategies for identifying and treating soft tissue restrictions utilizing Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) techniques. This comprehensive case-study-based course uses a lab-focused teaching format, covering the upper quarter for the first half, and the lower quarter for the second half; allowing for upper extremity specialists to attend the portion of the course relevant to their area of specialty. In addition to instruction in basic treatment techniques, this course includes the utilization of motion with IASTM and the use of IASTM over nerves and nerve beds.

Lab attire consisting of shorts, as well as swimsuit or halter-tops for women is required to allow for proper practice of techniques. Tools will be provided for use during the course.

Course Prerequisite: EB abstracts will be emailed to participants prior to the course.

Read more about Targeting Restrictions with Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization


During hands-on lab sessions, the course instructor(s) will evaluate each participants techniques/skills learned to determine proficiency for course completion. If 3/5 criteria are not attained the instructor will work with the attendee until all the criteria is met.  Post test at end of course will be used as a tool to review answers and rationale, ensuring attendees have gained all content knowledge.

This course content is not intended for use by any participants outside the scope of their license or regulation.

Course Objectives:


At the completion of this program the participant will be able to:

  • Identify 3 precautions for IASTM use with overuse injuries in the patient with orthopedic problems such as tennis elbow or forearm strain.
  • Identify 3 contraindications for IASTM use with scar management in the patient with orthopedic problems such as De Quervains tenosynovitis.
  • Given a patient scenario in which the patient demonstrates movement dysfunction from fascia restrictions incorporate 2 appropriate IASTM techniques into the plan of care.
  • Given a patient scenario for a patient with shoulder pain, justify the following choices: concave vs convex, broad vs small contact and single vs double
  • Following the course and given 3 case scenarios the participant will match all appropriate strokes from the following list of basic IASTM strokes (sweeping, fanning, brushing, strumming, framing, rolling and fileting) to each case
  • Given the result of a case scenario justify the use of 2 advanced IASTM strokes (tack and mobilize, fascia torsion).
  • Justify based on evidence how each IASTM intervention (proprioception, soft tissue movement based restrictions) can be integrated into the overall treatment program for patients with Upper Extremity Nerve Entrapment.
  • Describe 3 testing techniques used to identify neural tissue involvement in patients with Lower Extremity Peripheral Nerve Entrapment.

CE Credits

13.5 contact hours

BOC Skill Level: Essential

This course is accepted by many professional credentialing organizations and state professional regulatory boards. Rules and regulations change frequently without notification, and apply differently to live and online courses. Please check with your state board to confirm accuracy of this list and acceptance of contact hours. Certificate of Attendance will be issued to all participants upon completion of the course and may be used for CEU verification of credits. CE credits vary by state. Please check with your state board/certifying agency to confirm conversion of contact hours to CE. See links below.


California OT Board: This course and instructor have been approved by the CA Board of OT for 8.75 contact hours of post-professional education in the advanced practice area of hand therapy. Approval #22-H19.

Physical Therapy Board of California: The Physical Therapy Board of California recognizes Rehab Education, LLC as an approval agency to approve providers offering continuing competency courses for CA licensed PTs and PTAs. This course is approved for 13.5 contact hours.

Illinois State Board of Physical Therapy: Approved CE Sponsor by Illinois State Board of Physical Therapy, Division of Professional Regulations, Approval #216.000227. (Course must be taken between 07-18-2014 and 09-30-2022)

New Jersey State Board of Physical Therapy Examiners: This course has been approved by the New Jersey State Board of Physical Therapy Examiners for 13.5 continuing education credits, Approval #1910-83. (Course must be taken between 01-31-2020 and 01-31-2022).

NY State Physical Therapy Board: Rehab Education, LLC is recognized as an approved provider of PT and PTA continuing education by the NY State Education Department Board of Physical Therapy. (Course must be taken between 07-18-2014 and 05-10-2022)

Texas Board of Physical Therapy Examiners: This course has been approved by the Texas Board of Physical Therapy Examiners as meeting continuing education requirements for PTs and PTAs for 13.50 CCU's. Approval #65212TX. (Course must be taken between 11-1-2019 and 11-1-2021)

Board of Certification, Inc (BOC) Approved Provider #P8271: Rehab Education, LLC (BOC AP#: P8271) is approved by the Board of Certification, Inc. to provide continuing education to Certified Athletic Trainers. This program is eligible for a maximum of 13.5 Category A hours/CEUs. ATs should claim only those hours actually spent in the educational program.

American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Approved Provider #6177: Rehab Education, LLC is an AOTA Approved Provider (#6177) of professional development. This Live Onsite CE course is offered at 1.35 CEU (13.5 contact hours) Intermediate level | OT Service Delivery/Foundational Knowledge.

Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT): Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT): Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) / ProCert has awarded certification in the amount of 19 Continuing Competence Units (CCUs) to this activity. Approved CCUs are a unit of relative value of an activity based on its evaluation against a rigorous and comprehensive set of standards representing the quality of an activity. The CCU determination is a valuation applying many factors including, but not limited to, duration of the activity. No conclusion should be drawn that CCUs correlate to course hours. (Course must be taken between 09-29-2017 and 09-28-2021) Please check with your state physical therapy board to determine if they currently accept the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) certification.

  • AOTA Approval States

    The assignment of AOTA CEUs does not imply endorsement of specific course content, products, or clinical procedures by AOTA. At the time of listing, these states currently recognize AOTA Approved Providers for OT continuing education either in regulatory language or by formal written communication to AOTA:

    District of Columbia
    Florida **(self-report to CE Broker)
    New Hampshire
    New Mexico
    New York
    North Carolina
    North Dakota
    Rhode Island
    South Carolina
    South Dakota
    Wisconsin (self study courses only)

    *Disclaimer: Rehab Education LLC provides this list for your convenience. At the time of listing, the following state boards accept courses by virtue of approval by other organizations. It is the responsibility of the participant registering for a course to check with their state board to confirm rules and regulations regarding acceptance of contact hours for live and online courses.

    The following PT Boards accept courses approved by other PT State boards*:

    District of Columbia
    North Carolina
    North Dakota

    The following PT Boards accept courses approved by other APTA state associations*:

    District of Columbia
    Florida **(self-report to CE Broker)
    North Carolina
    North Dakota
    Rhode Island
    South Dakota

    The following PT Boards do not require pre-approval for continuing education activities as long as they are “directly related to the licensee’s practice of physical therapy” and/or meet the guidelines established by the board.

    New Hampshire

    **FL licensees may need to self-submit courses in CE Broker
    *NBCOT…National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapy (view PDU requirements)

    +HTCC… Hand Therapy Certification Commission (view recertification requirements)
    Hand Therapy Certification Commission (HTCC): This course is accepted by HTCC towards re-certification.

    State PT Boards
    State OT Boards

Day 1 Upper Quarter Focus

7:30 – 8:00am Registration – sign in
8:00 – 8:45 Introduction – Theoretical basis of IASTM, review of current literature
8:45 – 10:00 Basic handling, tool selection, and basic treatment strokes lab
10:00 – 10:15 Break
Case Study Teaching Labs:The remainder of Day 1 will consist of a series of Case Studies selected to teach basic to intermediate skills needed to become proficient in the application of IASTM treatment. Participants will be presented with learning objectives and problems that they will work through in small groups. Each case study will be reviewed and treatment skills demonstrated by the instructor to be practiced during hands-on Labs.
10:15 – 12:00 Basic case studies teaching lab 1:

  • Forearm Strain (Flexor or extensor)
  • Tennis Elbow / Golfer’s Elbow
  • Wrist fracture
  • de Quervains
  • Finger injuries
12:00 – 1:00 Break for Lunch
1:00 – 2:30 Basic case studies teaching lab 2:

  • Scar management
  • Shoulder Pain
2:30 – 3:15 Basic case studies teaching lab 3 – neck and head

  • Neck pain
  • Headaches
  • Facial pain – TMJ dysfunction
3:15 – 3:30 Break
Integration and Advanced Techniques Lab:
This session builds on the basic skills learned in the earlier labs by adding advanced treatment strokes – tack/mobilize, treatment with motion added, and complex stroke techniques to target specific tissues. Participants will re-visit earlier case studies of their choice and integrate the new strokes for problem solving.
3:30 – 4:45 Advanced treatment strokes lab – Tissue planes, treatment with motion

  • Lab – revisiting case studies with advanced treatment strokes – synthesis and problem solving
  • Lab – integrating exercise into treatment – synthesis and problem solving
4:45 – 5:00 Documentation: Suggestions to maximize documentation skills for reimbursement and recording treatment

Day 2 Complete UE portion and move to lumbar/lower quarter focus

Upper Extremity Peripheral Nerve Entrapment Case Studies Teaching Labs:
This session consists of upper extremity case studies designed to integrate the use of IASTM techniques in managing these challenging patients. Participants will be taught assessment techniques to effectively assess post treatment changes in test, treat, and re-test clinical principles. Each case study will be reviewed and treatment skills demonstrated by the instructors to be practiced during hands-on Labs.

8:00 – 9:30 Treating nerves and nerve beds lab – Upper Quarter Case Studies

  • Brachial plexopathy
  • Radial tunnel syndrome
  • Cubital tunnel syndrome
  • Carpal Tunnel syndrome
Integration, Synthesis, and Application Lab:
The following lab will consist of assigned complex case studies that incorporate all the components of IASTM-based treatment covered over the upper quarter portion of this course. The class will be divided up into small groups to work through one case study each on an independent basis. Each group will then present to the class their comprehensive treatment program to address the case study patient’s clinical deficits. Relevant evidence will be reviewed and discussed for each case study.
9:30 – 10:00 Putting it all together – Complex patient independent problem-solving lab
10:00 – 10:15 Break
Trunk and Lower Quarter Lab:
This lab will consist of case studies to teach IASTM intervention strategies for the trunk and lower quarter.
10:15 – 11:00 Thoracic and lumbar Case Studies Teaching Lab

  • Costal Chondritis, intercostal strain
  • Disorders of lumbar spine and SI region
11:00 – 12:00 Proximal lower quarter case studies

  • Snapping Hip Syndrome – Trochanteric Bursitis – Hip Pain
  • Thigh strain – quads, adductors, hamstrings, and IT band
  • Patella Femoral Syndrome – Anterior knee pain
12:00 – 1:00 Lunch
1:00 – 2:00 Distal lower quarter case studies

  • Calf Strain
  • Achilles tendinopathy
  • Plantar fasciitis/heel pain
Peripheral Nerve Entrapment Case Studies Teaching Lab – Lower Extremities:
This lab will mirror the format used in the upper extremity nerve and nerve-bed lab by using case studies to teach IASTM management of these challenging patients. Included will be novel testing techniques to identify neural tissue involvement and test-treat-retest principles.
2:00 – 2:45 Treating nerves and nerve beds lab – Lower Quarter

  • Piriformis syndrome – sciatica
  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome
  • Fibular nerve entrapment
2:45 – 3:15 Putting it all together, course wrap up – Complex patient problem-solving lab – Group Review


Mark W. Butler, PT, DPT, OCS, Cert. MDT

is a board certified Orthopaedic clinical specialist and Mckenzie certified specialist for mechanical diagnosis and treatment of the spine. He started his own practice eighteen months after graduating from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science (now the University of Science in Philadelphia), which he sold to NovaCare in 1997.

He is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at UMDNJ, guest lecturer at Stockton College in New Jersey, and Medical College of Virginia where he lectures on Advanced Orthopedics, Neural Mobilization, Radiology, and Evaluation and Treatment of TMJ Disorders. Mark is also a continuing education speaker on Evaluation and Treatment of Brachial Plexopathies, Neural Mobilization, the lumbar spine, and the shoulder. He was honored in 2006 with the James Tucker Excellence in Clinical Practice and Teaching Award by the APTAnj. He presented at the national conference in Hollywood of the American Society of Hand Therapists on Evaluation and Treatment of the Brachial Plexopathy Patient. His lecture series was selected as the featured topic on CD ROM to be available to the ASHT membership.

Mark is a frequent presenter at conferences, including the APTAnj annual conference, the InNovations and Sports Medicine conferences at the Philadelphia Eagles Complex, and the Cincinnati Fracture conference. He authored the shoulder chapter in the textbook Fundamentals of Hand Therapy: Clinical Reasoning and Treatment Guidelines for Common Diagnoses of the Upper Extremity, which was published in 2014. Mark continues to manage the NovaCare Medford outpatient clinic, where the majority of his caseload is brachial plexopathy, shoulder, and spine patients.

Classes taught by Mark W. Butler:

Andreas Mueller, PT, CFMT

is a licensed physical therapist and Certified Functional Manual Therapist specializing in orthopedic manual therapy.  His expertise is in the treatment of complex chronic pain patients. His treatment focus is on the specific utilization of joint and soft tissue mobilization, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF), differential diagnosis and exercise prescription.

Andreas has instructed continuing education courses nationally and locally since 2003. His courses include Therapeutic Exercise Prescription, Evaluation and Treatment of the Shoulder, Cervical Differential Diagnosis, Soft Tissue Mobilizations, Manual Therapy of the Upper Quarter, Orthopedic Surgical Update of the Shoulder and Knee and Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization.

In addition to his continuing education instruction he frequently guest lectures as Texas State University’s School of Physical Therapy, has developed and leads a local mentorship program, serves as the Clinical Coordinator of Continuing Education (CCCE) and has been a clinical instructor since 2002. In 2007 he received the Texas Consortium Dorn Clinical Instructor Award for his excellence in clinical education.

Andreas continues to be the lead therapist and center manager at a Select Physical Therapy clinic in Austin, TX. His case load includes patients from all ages between adolescence to senior dealing with orthopedic and higher level neurological conditions.

Classes taught by Andreas Mueller:

Andrea Wolkenberg, PT, DPT, MA, CKTI, MCMT

has been a practicing physical therapist for 40 years. She graduated in 1979 from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Allied Medical Professions with a Bachelor’s degree in physical therapy. She holds a Master’s degree in Medical Anthropology from the New School for Social Research in New York City. In 2001, Andrea became a Certified Kinesio Taping Instructor, and in 2012 she received her Mastery Certification in Manual Therapy from Hands On Seminars. Andrea has spent most of her career working in out-patient orthopedics and sub-acute and long term care. Her clinical expertise is in pain management and manual therapy, having taken numerous continuing education courses with James Cyriax, Laurence Jones, John Mennell, Shirley Sahrmann, Stanley Paris, John Barnes, and many others.

From 2004 to 2013, Andrea was the Director of Physical Therapy at Spine Options in White Plains, NY, specializing in the conservative treatment of back and neck pain. She is currently the President of SPINE SOLVERS INC., her own concierge physical therapy company which provides at home physical therapy services to individuals, injury prevention and workplace safety consultation to businesses, and expert witness services for legal cases involving physical therapists.

Classes taught by Andrea Wolkenberg: