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Graston Technique: Improving Mobility, Reducing Pain, and Enhancing Recovery

Graston Technique is one of many myofascial release techniques commonly used in our office to achieve immediate and long-lasting results.”

Dr. Lisette Miller

Graston ToolsGraston Technique is a form of instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) also known as a myofascial release technique that allows specially trained practitioners to detect and treat areas of scar tissue or “adhesions” that build up in muscle tissue, tendons, and ligaments resulting from injuries, overuse trauma, and after surgery. These adhesions are made up of fibrous connective tissue and can be found in one or multiple areas of soft tissue and within the fascia surrounding a group of muscles.

During the healing process, the body attempts to repair damaged tissue by creating a network of fibrous scar tissue that lays on top of the injury, much like the scar that forms on your skin after a cut. Think of a rubber band that stretches and gives as you pull it. Now imagine glue applied and dried onto a small portion of the rubber band. As you stretch the band the part beneath the glue is stuck and doesn’t move as it did before. The glue represents scar tissue and adhesions and the rubber band represents normal muscle fibers. It is this reaction that causes restriction of movement and prevents muscles from functionally properly.


Over time, we can have a build up of this fibrous scar tissue, particularly in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that are most vulnerable to “wear and tear”. Overuse, or repetitive microtrauma, is a precursor to tendonitis, muscle strains, painful joints, improper muscle firing, structural imbalances, joint dysfunction, and compensatory changes because the replacement tissue weakens the muscle and compromises joint stability. It also lacks the elasticity of normal, healthy soft tissue.

Graston technique is extremely useful for:

  • soft tissue fibrosis/adhesions
  • scar tissue build-up
  • fascial restrictions
  • chronic inflammation
  • limited range of motion
  • postural correction

When left untreated these conditions are more likely to lead to significant range of motion deficiencies, decreased performance of daily activities, abnormal movement patterns, and a variety pain patterns.


Graston Technique uses state of the art stainless steel instruments that are specifically designed to allow easier detection and treatment of soft tissue injury. The weight of the tool allows a strong, steady glide along adhesions with just the right amount of pressure to identify and correct musculoskeletal restrictions in specific areas of the body. The Graston instruments are specifically designed to combine concave and convex shapes to mold to various contours of the body. This allows for ease of treatment for both patient and practitioner. It also allows for treatment in areas of the body which may otherwise be hard to reach effectively, like the small muscles of the hands, feet, or elbow.

When areas of scar tissue are located it is often immediately acknowledged by the patient and doctor as a sense of restriction, like a feeling of small pebbles or bumps underneath the skin. Treatment usually lasts between 15-30 minutes depending on severity. Most patients report a feeling that can only be described as a “good hurt” while receiving treatment. It is common to experience slight, tolerable discomfort during the procedure and some bruising afterwards. Remember, this is a normal response and part of the natural healing process.


The benefit of Graston Technique is vast. It is continually being studied and researched to fully understand the benefits. It is estimated that over 200 professional and amateur sports organizations incorporate Graston Technique as part of their sport rehab regimen. It is part of the curriculum at 54 respected colleges and universities around the country.

Not only are we identifying and correcting scar tissue build up and adhesion formation but this technique redirects blood to the affected area, stimulates the natural healing response inside the body, encourages cellular activity, and improves circulation to and from the affected area.

Addressing soft tissue injuries early on can be beneficial in many ways. It helps to prevent the need for more invasive treatment down the line. Post operatively Graston Technique offers an effective way to enhance recovery, reduce the effects of scar tissue formation, improve range of motion, and reduce pain. It is recommended that Graston treatment begin as soon as 4 weeks post op.

Clinical Application

Graston, in a clinical setting, may be different from patient to patient. In our office Graston is usually combined with chiropractic care, acupuncture, or Active Release Techniques. On your first visit a detailed history and examination will be performed to determine if Graston technique is right for you. In addition, we teach our patients lifestyle changes to further aid in your recovery.

Children, adults, and elderly patients may be a candidate for Graston Technique. If you think Graston Technique may help you or someone you know, feel free to contact our office for more information. We look forward to hearing from you!

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