What is the Graston Technique®?
The Graston Technique® is a soft tissue treatment used in physical therapy and chiropractic care that has grown very popular in recent years. It is a form of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM), meaning that it uses tools to stimulate the soft tissue of the body rather than using hands. The goal of a session is to locate and stretch out adhesions in connective tissue and muscle fibers with stainless steel tools, increase blood flow in the affected area, and promote proper healing and repair.
The Graston Technique® was created by an athlete in the 1990s who performed the manual therapy on himself to aid in his recovery from a knee injury. Since then, physical therapists, chiropractors, and patients have claimed that it has many other benefits as well. Because of how recently the technique has come to the medical world, there are continued scientific studies about which conditions it is effective for.
How do you know if the Graston Technique® is the right treatment for you? The most important thing to do is to speak with your physiotherapist or chiropractor. To help you know what signs to look for, this article will provide a few examples of what the Graston Technique® has treated effectively.
Increased Range of Motion
The Graston Technique’s original function was to improve the condition of athletes. With it, a trained practitioner can stretch out muscles and tendons that have below-average mobility due to an injury or condition. A clinical study has shown that athletes in throwing sports perform with a greater range of motion after an IASTM treatment than what stretching alone can provide, regardless of the presence of injuries or other factors.
In other cases, Graston® aids in pain relief as well as mobility restoration. In pre-clinical studies, rats with injured knees and Achilles’ tendons were treated in one leg by IASTM. The treated leg showed a higher rate of mobility compared to the untreated one. In humans, these improvements in pain relief and flexibility tend to last about four weeks after a round of treatments.
A considerable amount of evidence has pointed to the Graston Technique® promoting accelerated healing in soft tissue injuries. In the clinical study with rats, the IASTM treatment was shown to increase and activate the leg’s fibroblast cells. Fibroblast cells are what create the structural framework of tissues in our body, and they are an important part of the healing process. An increased cell count indicates that the body is healing at an accelerated rate.
In human tests, the results are similar. For injuries to muscles and tendons, the healing process was found to increase when using “IASTM in combination with stretching and strengthening programs”. This was compared to natural healing and using stretching/strengthening programs alone.
Scar Tissue Absorption
The Graston Technique® is known to reduce scar tissue buildup by loosening up the tissues with tools and allowing the body to clean out the affected area. Due to some conflicting evidence in the scientific community, people debate the limits of what Graston® can do here, but these facts are accepted in peer reviewed studies.
- The Graston Technique® is effective at treating surgical scars.
- The Graston Technique® can relieve the painful side effects of fibrotic scars inside of the body, such as swelling.
- Wide scars caused by burns or injury, and scars that are older than a few years, won’t see much visible improvement at the dermal level.
Evidence and testimonies exist for many other benefits but testing them all is a gradual process. Because scientific studies have only begun recently, we encourage you to keep an eye out for any new developments!
Graston Technique® at Glenora Clinic
Are you interested in enhancing your recovery using the Graston Technique®? Chiropractors and physiotherapists at the Glenora Clinic are licensed practitioners of this method and can perform this soft tissue technique.
Contact us below or visit us at our Edmonton location, and we will provide you with a personalized treatment plan to facilitate your recovery with us.