The EDGE Tool is designed to assist with manual treatments. It was designed and is sold by Dr. Erson Religioso III, DPT, FAAOMPT who blogs at The Manual Therapist. For those interested, the Edge can be bought at The Edge Store. Dr. E was gracious enough to let myself and the clinic I practice at demo the edge tool. Previously, here on PT Think Tank Tyler Shultz wrote briefly on Graston Technique (Registered Trademark) in his post Medieval Therapy Techniques?
There are many “theories” and “schools of thought” regarding the use of instruments in manual therapy. In fact, there is a range of names for various techniques including, but definitely not limited to:
- ASTYM (Registered Trademark)
- Graston Technique (Registered Trademark)
- Augmented Soft Tissue Mobilization
- Instrumented Soft Tissue Mobilization
- Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization
- Scraping the Skin with Instruments (STSI)
There is even Sound Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (SATSM)! Now, the point of this post is not to discuss in detail the proposed and potential mechanisms or treatment “targets,” but rather the product. What the heck is Graston, ASTYM, augmented or instrumented soft tissue mobilization anyway? Essentially, to me, these are all just fancy ways to say using an instrument to touch and treat your patients manually. For clarity’s sake, you can only say you are using some of the previously mentioned techniques if you are certified or take the courses
associated with them. To be blunt, I do not agree with many of the proposed theories that most are sold and utilized under. I think many of the websites contain false and misleading information. But, that is a different discussion, for a different time…
There are many other tools on the market to assist with the manual treatment of patients. For the most part, these tools are very expensive. Most are linked to the courses or schools of thought that sell them. Many, you must take their courses. Some, you have to RENT the tools.
The edge has a very intuitive design. It is easy to grasp and has various surfaces and contours for use. I find it useful in creating even, gentle pressure and stretch. I have even utilized it with movement. At first, I struggled to gauge how much pressure I was providing. But, like any manual treatment the response and feedback of the individual we are treating can be used as a guide. I probably use this tool differently than most. My applications have been mostly for gentle manual work. So far, I have used the edge on the foot, lower leg, arm, and neck with patients. I have practiced on the back, forearm, and rib region of colleagues. I have even used it and felt it on myself.. If utilized correctly I think the Edge can be used safely to deliver manual therapy. I think it is very easy to be too aggressive with such tools (especially given the context and theory many are sold under), but that can be easily avoided with judicious monitoring of patient response.
Overall, I was highly impressed with the Edge. It is extremely well designed and constructed. Maybe the most attractive aspects of Dr. E’s product is the price and availability. It is much cheaper than any of the other products on the market. And, you do not have to buy any overpriced courses to use it! But, like any tool we use whether it is our hands, an exercise, a piece of equipment, or our words it is only as good as the knowledge we utilize to implement it.
If you are going to use a tool to treat your patients, the EDGE is the most practical, the cheapest, and the best design. Dr. E is not selling mechanisms, courses, or a school of thought, but just a product. Luckily, you can buy the Edge Tool for whatever you want to use it for!
Do you use instruments for manual therapy in your clinic? What tools do you utilize? Have you taken courses? What are you thoughts on if, how, or why we should or should not use them?