The Graston technique can be a useful muscle injury repair tool when incorporated into a full treatment plan.
For centuries, the Chinese Gua sha technique has been used to promote healing by scraping muscle tissue to stimulate blood flow. In the early ’90s, amateur athlete David Graston introduced a variation of this technique in the United States. Graston, who had a knee injury at the time, developed the unique tool and massage technique now referred to as the “Graston technique” to treat himself.
This technique has since been used to help thousands of athletes and weekend warriors recover from strained and pulled muscles, ligaments and tendons. Patients with chronic pain and inflammation have also benefited.
Muscles are comprised of different fibers, and as fibers become tight, they build up toxins. The Graston technique uses a stainless-steel instrument and special massage method to identify areas of muscle adhesion, or scar-like tissue, that can be improved.
A healthcare provider uses the instrument and massage in combination to stretch and relax the muscle tissues. This helps increase blood flow and restore movement patterns in injured tissues.
In the clinic, I begin treatment by having patients warm up their soft tissues. They can perform this warm-up with a stationary bike, elliptical machine or simple dynamic movements. Next, I’ll push the tool gently across the injured area using big, broad strokes. The tool helps me sense muscle vibrations and identify specific areas to work.
I’ve seen patients who have benefited greatly from the technique and have also seen patients who did not.
Chris Gabriel, PT, OCS (Board Certified Orthopedic Specialist), CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist), practices with the OrthoCarolina Wellness Center. Chris and his team treat a range of patients for orthopedic and sports medicine needs. He enjoys working with various local high school, college, and professional sports teams.