The Graston Technique® is an innovative, patented form of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization that enables our doctors to effectively break down scar tissue and facial restrictions. The Technique utilizes patented stainless steel instruments designed specifically to detect and effectively treat areas exhibiting soft tissue fibrosis or chronic inflammation.
The Graston Technique® was inspired when David Graston (a tool and die maker) sustained a knee injury during a waterskiing accident in 1987. Three ligaments were ruptured, requiring extensive surgical repair. The resultant scar tissue caused unresolvable range of motion limitations and strength deficits preventing full rehabilitation. Having failed traditional physical therapy and orthopedic management he began using self cross friction massage (as described by Cyriax). The extensive manual work caused fatigue in his hands and he subsequently developed stainless steel tools to assist in the application of myofascial work on scar tissue. Later, through research at Ball Memorial Hospital and Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, the Graston Technique was developed as an effective rehabilitation program for a wide variety of diagnoses and musculoskeletal injuries. It is important to understand that the Graston Technique® is only one part of the total therapy program. It is not meant to be used alone, but to be used as a component of an overall treatment program.
Purposes of the Graston Technique®
The Graston Technique (GT) is a soft tissue technique designed to break cross-fiber scar tissue links, splay these fibers and increase fascial mobility. When clinically indicated, GT is also used to re-initiate the inflammatory process by introducing small amounts of micro-trauma to the tissue. This results in a fresh new flow of blood, nutrients and fibroblasts to the region to re-stimulate the healing cascade within the fibrotic and dysfunctional tissues.
What is Graston Technique®?
The patented GT Instruments are used to scan the injured area and assist clinicians to locate and then treat the injured tissue that is causing pain and restricting motion. Our doctors utilize the instruments to supply precise pressure to break up scar tissue, which relieves discomfort and restores normal function. The technique involves the use of six hand held stainless steel instruments specifically designed to detect and effectively treat areas exhibiting soft tissue fibrosis or chronic inflammation. The instruments are shaped to fit the various contours of the body in order to maximize treatment efficacy. This design allows for ease of treatment and maximum tissue penetration specifically in regions of the body which are hard to access with the doctors hands (such as the plantar fascia at the heel).
The Graston Technique Instruments, much like a tuning fork, resonate in the doctors’ hands allowing the doctors to isolate adhesions and restrictions, and treat them very precisely. Since the metal surface of the instruments does not compress like the fat pads of the finger, deeper restrictions can be accessed and treated. When explaining the properties of the instruments, the analogy of a stethoscope can be used. Just as a stethoscope amplifies what the human ear can hear, so do the instruments increase significantly what the human hands can feel.
How is Graston Technique® Applied?
Prior to each and every Graston treatment, a specially designed lubricant is applied to the skin. This lubricant allows the treatment instruments to glide over the skin without causing irritation. Graston Technique® is then administered in multiple directions in order to break up the soft tissue lesion/scar tissue in all fascial planes. As the GT instruments are applied, a “vibratory” sensation is felt through the tool to the doctors’ fingertips. The patient simultaneously experiences a similar sensation while the tool traverses the area being treated.
Treatment with the Graston Technique is conducted in concert with a rehabilitation regimen designed to restore athletes to their pre-injury level of activity. This is accomplished by implementing a functional progression program, which zeros in on imbalances throughout the kinetic chain. Flexibility, strengthening and muscle re-education is employed to provide the athlete/patient with optimal results within a minimal number of treatment sessions.
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