Graston Technique®

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Graston Technique® is a patented form of non-surgical instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization that is used to break down scar tissue and restrictions in fascia (connective tissue present throughout the body, surrounding blood vessels, nerves, muscles, bones, and organs).
The Graston Technique® uses a unique set of stainless steel instruments designed to break up scar tissue buildup in body areas such as the shoulder or wrist, which are often associated with acute or chronic soft tissue injuries. Soft tissues include skin, muscle, nervous (neurological), and connective tissues. Examples of soft tissue injuries include strains, sprains, subluxations (partial dislocation of joints), carpal tunnel syndrome, and repetitive stress injury. Treatment using the Graston Technique® involves sliding a stainless steel instrument designed for a particular body part over the surface of the skin in a back and forth motion. Generally, advocates suggest several Graston Technique® sessions for treatment of soft tissue injuries.
Scar tissue is a type of fibrous connective tissue that may occur in any area of the body. This tissue generally receives a smaller blood supply than normal tissue and stretches less. Scar tissue also tends to be thicker than the tissue it replaces after an injury. Scar tissue may build up around muscles, tendons, and ligaments as the body heals from an injury. As a result, the movement of the surrounding body tissues may be impaired, or the patient may experience pain when they try to move. Clinically, the buildup of tissue after an injury is called soft tissue fibrosis, but most practitioners refer to these areas as adhesions.
An athlete invented the Graston Technique® after experiencing an incomplete recovery from a knee injury. Surgery and other forms of conventional therapy did not return the athlete to full functionality. In order to find a way to fully recover from the soft tissue injury, the athlete used his background in machining to create the first templates of the stainless steel instruments used in the Graston Technique®. The parent company of the Graston Technique® is TherapyCare Resources. The first clinic using the Graston Technique® opened in 1994. Since then, several major sporting organizations use the Graston Technique® for professional athletes. Several bodywork therapy schools have integrated this modality into their curriculum.
Advocates claim that the Graston Technique® may treat a number of conditions, including neck pain, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain, pain between the shoulder blades, lower back pain, hip pain, groin pain, hamstring pain and tightness, quadriceps pain and tightness, knee pain, ankle pain, plantar fasciitis (a painful condition affecting the foot and the foot arch), rotator cuff pain (a type of shoulder pain), tennis elbow, golfer's elbow, wrist pain, finger and toe pain, numbness or tingling at the extremities, carpal tunnel syndrome, and headaches.
Several clinical trials are underway to evaluate the Graston Technique® for a variety of applications. Additional high-quality clinical research is needed before a firm recommendation can be made.

Related Terms

Adhesions, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic inflammation, connective tissue, fascia, fascial restrictions, GASTM, Graston Augmented Soft Tissue Mobilization, Graston Technique® Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization, repetitive stress injury, scar tissue, soft tissue fibrosis, soft tissue injury, sprains, strains, subluxations, TherapyCare Resources.