An Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Manual Therapy for Pain
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 Graston Technique is often practiced by chiropractors, osteopathic physicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and some licensed massage therapists and athletic trainers.
Graston Technique Goals
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.
There also appears to be a neurologic benefit to treating patients with the Graston Technique Instruments. This response is similar to that involved with other manual therapies. The literature suggests that when a patient is given manual or instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) therapy, certain nerve fibers are activated. Additionally, the body’s position sense organs, such as mechanoreceptors and proprioceptors, seem to respond to these forms of treatment.