Effect of Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization on Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage and Fibrotic Factor: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Main Article Content

Jooyoung Kim
Joohyung Lee


Eccentric exercise, Fibrosis, Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, Muscle damage, Transforming growth factor-β1


Background and Objective
The instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) is a form of mechanical stimulation. This treatment is known to provide an effective way to improve muscle function and attenuate muscle pain. However, limited study showed the effect of the IASTM on acute condition such as exercise-induced muscle damage. This study aimed to examine the effects of IASTM on exercise-induced muscle dam-age and fibrotic factor.

Material and Methods
Sixteen healthy male college students were randomly assigned to IASTM (n=8) and control (n=8). After performing two sets of 25 eccentric contractions of elbow flexors, IASTM was applied for 8 min immediately and 48 h after exercise. Maximal isometric strength (MIS), muscle soreness, and creatine kinase (CK) activity were measured as indicators of muscle damage. Transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) levels were assessed as a fibrotic factor.

The recovery of MIS was faster (control vs. IASTM: 96 h: 60.7% ± 7.9% vs. 89.1% ± 10.4%, P<0.001), and TGF-β1 level was lower (control vs. IASTM: 48 h: 5.5 ± 1.9 vs. 2.4 ± 0.6, P<0.01; 72 h: 5.6 ± 1.7 vs. 2.6 ± 0.5, 96 h: 5.2 ± 1.6 vs. 1.9 ± 0.5 ng/mL, P<0.001) in the IASTM group than in the control group. However, no significant differences in muscle soreness or CK activity were found between groups (P>0.05).

IASTM may be an effective method for reducing scar tissue and restoring muscle function quickly after exercise-induced muscle damage.


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