The Graston Technique is a form of manual therapy known as soft-tissue instrument-assisted mobilization. It is one of a number of manual therapy approaches that uses instruments with a specialized form of massage/scraping the skin gently.
The therapy is designed to help the practitioner identify areas of restriction and attempt to break up scar tissue. The general goals of the therapy are to reduce the patient's pain and increase function through a combination of:
- Breaking down the scar tissue and fascia restrictions that are usually associated with some form of trauma to the soft tissue (e.g., a strained muscle or a pulled ligament, tendon, or fascia).
- Reducing restrictions by stretching connective tissue in an attempt to rearrange the structure of the soft tissue being treated (e.g., muscle, fascia, tendons, ligaments).
- Promoting a better healing environment for the injured soft tissue.
How the Graston technique works
Graston Technique uses unique handheld instruments with a specialized form of massage that is designed to help the practitioner identify areas of restriction and break up the scar tissue.
The Graston Technique Tools
There are 6 core tools used in Graston Technique. These tools are made of stainless steel and are concave and convex-shaped. They have rounded edges and are not sharp. The instruments are used to scan over and detect areas of injured fibrotic tissue. The process is designed to both identify the injured areas and provide needed treatment to them.
The Graston Technique Massage
Using a cross-friction massage, which involves brushing or rubbing against the grain of the scar tissue, the practitioner re-introduces small amounts of trauma to the affected area. In some cases, this process temporarily causes inflammation in the area, which in turn increases the rate and amount of blood flow in and around the area. The theory is that this process helps initiate and promote the healing process of the affected soft tissues.