Graston Techniques® is an instrument-assisted, soft-tissue mobilization technique, which I highly recommend. The technique was initially designed by an athlete who suffered a debilitating knee injury.
Graston Techniques employs a combination of six hand-held, stainless steel instruments to release soft tissue restrictions.
The Graston instruments are used to separate and break down scar tissue (collagen cross-links). This process increases circulatory function and helps the practitioner to mobilize, reduce, and re- organize fibrotic restrictions in the neuromuscular-skeletal system.
As with other soft-tissue techniques, the practitioner must be skilled in the application and use of these instruments since considerable bruising can occur if this therapy is applied in too aggressive a manner.
The Graston tools can be of great benefit to many practitioners whose own joints and muscles suffer from Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI). As a patient, this means your practitioner can use these tools to access severely restricted areas in your body, without causing further repetitive strain injuries to their own hands and body!
Graston Techniques® was first researched at Ball Memorial Hospital and Ball State University at Munci, Indiana. Today, there are more than 7,500 clinicians worldwide —including Athletic Trainers, Chiropractors, Physiotherapists, and Occupational Therapists— who use Graston Techniques. It is also part of the “curriculum of 32 respected colleges and universities”.
Effectiveness of Graston Techniques
Graston Techniques® is a procedure that I highly recommend. In my opinion the power of this technique lies in its use as an adjunct – therapy, one which is best combined with other soft tissue modalities.
I believe this is especially true when the practitioner is dealing with nerve entrapment syndromes where he or she needs to find the location of the nerve, and release it from surrounding adhesed tissue, but must move through many layers of adhesed, entrapped soft tissue layers to do so
Graston Techniques can be highly effective, especially when used in conjunction with other hands-on techniques such as Active Release Techniques, Fascial Manipulation, Chiropractic/Osteopathic Manipulation, and Massage Therapy. However, after having applied both this and other soft-tissue techniques, I must say that there is nothing that matches the tactile sensitivity and effectiveness of a skilled practitioner’s hands.
As with all techniques stretching, strengthening and proprioceptive exercises need to be used in conjunction with the treatment. Without the right exercises tissue remodeling will limited and the chance of re-injury with be significantly high (See our Blog on Exercise and Tissue Remodeling).
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