Graston Technique & Active Release Technique

grastonGraston Technique® is an evidence-based form of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization that enables clinicians to effectively address scar tissue and fascial restrictions through comprehensive training, resulting in improved patient outcomes.

The technique uses specially-designed stainless steel instruments, along with appropriate therapeutic exercise, to specifically detect and effectively treat areas exhibiting soft tissue fibrosis or chronic inflammation. The instruments also are used diagnostically to follow the kinetic chain, to locate and treat the cause of the symptom as well as the specific area of pain.

What is the Graston Technique®? A. The Graston Technique® incorporates an evidence-based form of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization that enables clinicians to effectively detect and treat scar tissue and restrictions that affect normal function.

Why is scar tissue a problem? A. Scar tissue limits range of motion, and in many instances causes pain, which prevents the patient from functioning as he or she did before the injury.

How is scar tissue different from other tissue? A.When viewed under a microscope, normal tissue can take a couple of different fashions: dense, regular elongated fibers running in the same direction, such as tendons and ligaments; or dense, irregular and loose with fibers running in multiple directions. In either instance, when tissue is damaged it will heal in a haphazard pattern–or scarring–that results in a restricted range of motion and, very often, pain.

How are the instruments used? A.The Graston Technique® instruments are used to enhance the clinician’s ability to detect adhesions, scar tissue or restrictions in the affected areas. Skilled clinicians use the stainless steel instruments to comb over and “catch” on fibrotic tissue, which immediately identifies the areas of restriction. Once the tissue has been identified, the instruments are used to break up the scar tissue so it can be absorbed by the body.

Is the treatment painful? A.It is common to experience minor discomfort during the procedure and some bruising afterwards. This is a normal response and part of the healing process.

Is Graston Technique® used alone? A.No. Whether the injury is work or non-work related, the Graston Technique® protocol is the same. Our protocol includes a brief warm-up exercise, Graston Technique® treatment, followed by stretching, strengthening and ice.

What is the frequency of treatment? A.Patients usually receive two treatments per week over 4-5 weeks. Most patients have a positive response by the 3rd to 4th treatment.

Will treatments affect my everyday activities? A.Most patients are not disabled and continue to perform their regular functions at home or work.

Is Graston Technique® something new? A.The concept of cross fiber massage is not new. Graston Technique® is grounded in the works of Dr. James Cyriax, an English orthopedic surgeon. The use of our specially designed instruments and protocol is new.

Graston Technique® has become standard protocol in universities and hospital-based outpatient facilities as well as industrial on-site treatment settings such as Indiana University and the University of Michigan. The technique is also being used at industrial settings and by NBA, NHL, NFL and Major League Baseball trainers.

What kind of results does Graston Technique® produce? A.Historically, the Graston Technique® has had positive outcomes in 75–90 percent of all conditions treated. It is equally effective in restoring function to acute and chronic injuries, and pre- and postsurgical patients.

Can anyone obtain the instruments? A.Only clinicians who have been trained and accredited in the Graston Technique® Basic course are qualified to obtain the Graston Technique® instruments and apply the technique to treat patients. The course is offered either on-site or at trainings offered throughout the year at a variety of locations.