Core Skill: Grip

Mastering the grip is a fundamental skill in Instrument Assisted Vibration Therapy (IAVT). A proper grip not only allows for effective activation or striking of the tuning fork but also ensures optimal placement of the base against the skin. It enables greater downward pressure into the tissue layers, prolongs the pressure for the length of an average strike, and allows for prolonged use of the tuning fork for an entire session without causing muscle fatigue. Furthermore, the grip can be adjusted to change the angle of the fork depending on the location of the placement, such as holding the fork upside down for the chin or eye socket.

Here are the different types of grips we use in IAVT:

Standard Grip: This grip is used for striking or activating the tuning fork against the thicker muscles at the bottom part of the palm of the hand. The pad of the thumb is placed flat against the yoke, and the index finger is “clamped” on the other side, with the yoke touching the middle of the finger.

Reverse Grip: This grip involves holding the tuning fork upside down, with the middle finger supporting the tuning fork in between the tines and the two nearby fingers resting on the opposite side of the yoke.

Finger Assist Grip: In this grip, the thumb or index fingertip is placed in between the tines in the “U-shaped” ledge. This grip provides good downward pressure while reducing hand fatigue.

If your thumb or finger does not fit into the notch, angle it sideways so the edge rests on the ledge. There is a lot of room to move around on the yoke before interfering with the tine vibration. If the vibration runs out very fast, this might mean you have touched the sides of the tines and damped the vibration.

Butterfly Grip: Used in areas of thicker tissue where more downward pressure is required, the Butterfly Grip involves both the left and right hand sharing the grip on the yoke. We still use a standard grip with half of the thumb and index finger sharing the surface area of the yoke.

Since the Butterfly grip uses both hands, we give up our ability to palpate and have constant feedback from our non-dominant hand during a placement. We should not rely on the butterfly grip for our normal grip. Remember, it’s important to switch up the grip as needed to avoid hand fatigue, exhaustion, or repetitive stress injuries. Mastering these grips will provide you with the flexibility and control needed to effectively apply IAVT.