by Rick McMullen, Alleviate Founder [Updated on July 21, 2023]
There are a lot of home foot massage products out there—most of which feel pretty darn good when you rub a sore foot on them—ranging in price from five to several hundred dollars. So, when we invented our Arch Massager for foot pain, we wanted to base our design on scientific principles that deliver superior results. Looking beyond the hurts-so-good effect of deep tissue massage, we set out to create a tool that eliminates the root cause of plantar fasciitis pain.
How professional massage works for plantar fasciitis
When we first designed the Arch Massager, we wanted to combine the benefits of Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (also known as IASTM or Graston Therapy) with the convenience and affordability of a home remedy.
So how does IASTM work? Overload on the plantar fascia creates a buildup of scar tissue. This thickened tissue takes up more space in your foot, causes pain, and tolerates less stress than normal tissue. IATSM uses a physical instrument and an appropriate targeted application of force to break down and realign scar tissue. As the tissue heals with proper alignment, it causes less pain.
According to a 2019 clinical research Sstudy, Plantar Fasciitis patients saw significant improvements in foot pain and foot function after receiving IASTM treatment versus stretching alone. The science shows that you are likely to get great results from a well-trained practitioner of Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Massage or the Graston Technique, assuming treatment is delivered correctly and regularly. Here is a quick video of Alleviate’s founder and chief inventor, Luke, using this technique on a patient.
Correct and regular soft tissue massage
Using this technique correctly involves applying the proper pressure to the right parts of the foot to create a change in the painful tissue. Typically, this requires a purpose-built steel tool used by a trained practitioner, such as a chiropractor, athletic trainer, or physical therapist.
Applying this technique regularly means using IASTM often enough to change the tissue but with sufficient time between sessions to heal the adjusted tissue. Many practitioners recommend this treatment as often as twice per day. Practically speaking, only elite athletes will have access to this level of care from a pro.
Arch Massager lets you administer pro-level massage at home
We designed the Alleviate Arch Massager to fill this treatment gap by allowing patients to self-administer professional-level massage at home. The geometry of the Alleviate Arch Massager is precision-engineered to let you reach the most critical trigger points of the foot with the same amount of pressure as a steel tool, which is impossible to do with any other home foot massager on the market.
In addition to massage, studies also show that a combined clinical approach including taping and exercise can improve results in plantar fasciitis patients. Our founder, a PT with 15 years of experience, has successfully treated thousands of patients with these methods in his professional practice. He designed the three-part Alleviate system with everything you need to treat plantar fasciitis at home effectively.