Instrument Soft Tissue Release

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Soft Tissue Release with an Instrument

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What is Instrument Soft Tissue Release?

Instrument (Assisted) Soft Tissue Release (ISTR) is simply the use of a tool (usually stainless steel) to massage your muscles and connective tissues.  We use ISTR because the pressure is more firm and consistent than our hands.  Depending on the area we’re treating, ISTR can be a more effective choice.  The bonus to using ISTR is that it saves our hands a little bit!

Why would I get an ISTR treatment?

It is just another treatment option, to accomplish the same goals as other techniques such as manual therapy.  We want to release tight and painful muscles, decrease muscular pain and improve mobility with ISTR.  We always combine hands-on techniques like ISTR with therapeutic exercise for long term improvements!  The ultimate goal with all of our treatments is to get you back to your normal daily activities and help you accomplish your goals.

Is ISTR painful?

This totally depends on the amount of pressure being applied and how sensitive the area is to begin with.  Our physiotherapists gauge the ISTR treatment to match your comfort and status of your injury.  Some pain is usually expected but we can decrease our pressure to make it less painful, if needed.

Are there any risks to ISTR?

The risks are very low and your therapist is very well informed as to when and when not to perform ISTR.  Instrument soft tissue release is similar to a massage, we just use a tool to do it!

Who performs ISTR?

All of our physiotherapists perform ISTR as a part of a very comprehensive treatment.

Our Physiotherapists Perform ISTR

Vivian Overton Physiotherapist Photo

Vivian Overton


Vivian graduated with a Master’s of Science in Physical Therapy from Queen’s University in 2010. She moved to Calgary and has worked with PT Health since January of 2011. Vivian has a large focus on assessing and treating the body as a whole. She has advanced training in Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS), therapeutic taping, fire-glass cupping,…

January Muhlbeier Physiotherapist

January Muhlbeier


January graduated from University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Physical Education. After a year working as a kinesiologist, she completed her Masters of Science in Physical Therapy from McMaster University in 2013. Having realized that being able to see and experience the mountains were an integral part of her well-being, she returned to Alberta….

Jessica Claflin Physiotherapist Photo

Jessica Claflin


Jessica came to physiotherapy by way of veterinary sciences. As a veterinary nurse (animal health technician), she was inspired by the remarkable outcomes she was seeing in her four-legged patients whom received physiotherapy. Her desire to learn more motivated her to return to University of Calgary where she completed her Bachelor of Science in Biology…

Matt Wylie Physiotherapist

Matt Wylie


Matt graduated with a Master’s of Science in Physical Therapy from the University of Alberta after completing an undergraduate degree in kinesiology at the University of Calgary. Originally from the Okanagan, Matt was drawn to the mountains in Alberta to pursue competitive cross-country skiing, staying in Alberta to pursue his education. Matt grew up playing…


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