Astym® therapy: a systematic review

Morad Chughtai, Jared M. Newman, Assem A. Sultan, Linsen T. Samuel, Jacob Rabin, Anton Khlopas, Anil Bhave, Michael A. Mont


Soft tissue dysfunction can result from the degeneration of tissues as in the case of degenerative tendinopathy or from the build-up of problematic scar tissue, which can be the result of several aggravating factors, including overuse injuries, acute or chronic trauma, or as a result of surgery. This dysfunction often results in impaired movement, pain, and swelling of the affected area, which can lead to patient dissatisfaction and a lower quality of life. These soft tissue dysfunctions also have a marked economic impact. Although a number of traditional treatments attempt to address these issues, no optimal treatment choice has emerged. Traditional treatments are not always successful, can be invasive, and can consume many medical resources. A relatively new treatment approach, Astym therapy, is a potentially useful, non-invasive, more cost-effective option. This therapy was developed to address soft-tissue dysfunctions by stimulating the regeneration of soft tissues and the resorption of inappropriate scar tissue/fibrosis. It has been reported to help with the resorption and remodeling of abnormal tissue, thereby leading to improved motion, function and pain relief. The purpose of this analysis was to review the published literature related to Astym therapy on various musculoskeletal disorders. Specifically, we evaluated the effectiveness of this therapeutic method on disorders related to the: (I) knee; (II) upper extremity; (III) hamstring muscles; and (IV) ankle and Achilles tendon injuries.