The Graston Technique: What You Should Know

When you suffer an injury, your daily lifestyle can be disrupted significantly. The recovery process can sometimes be lengthy, which could put you out of work or school for quite some time.

This is why many experts are constantly looking for ways to speed up the recovery process. Soft tissue injuries can lead to bruising, inflammation, and pain in the affected area.

The Graston technique was developed as a countermeasure to the long time it sometimes takes for injuries to heal. It essentially uses manual therapy in order to promote a faster healing process. We take a look at the Graston technique and what you should know about it in this post.

What Is The Graston Technique?

The Graston technique was first invented by a professional athlete known as David Graston. David suffered soft tissue injuries that affected his ability to participate in sports.

While David did consult with physical therapists, he decided to develop a technique that would positively affect the healing process. This led to the creation of what we know as the Graston technique.

It is a manual therapy that specifically focuses on soft tissue. The technique can also be used for soft tissue and fascial restrictions. Some of the methods used in the Graston technique involve instrument-assistant strategies.

The instruments that are used can help with soft tissue mobilization. It is also an effective option for scar tissue and fascial problems, due to the use of gentle scraping techniques directly on the skin.

Occupational therapists, osteopathic physicians, and several other medical professionals have already adopted the Graston technique in their practice.

What Is The Graston Technique Used For?

One of the main goals that the Graston technique has is to create an environment that helps with the healing of soft tissues.

When injury occur, physical therapists can use the technique in order to make connective tissue heal faster. Many of the techniques used will help to produce an increased blood flow.

The technique is also good for certain chronic conditions and can help to alleviate the patient’s pain. Muscle knots that causes tension and a significant disruption due to injury can also be targeted.

Some conditions that are often treated with the use of the Graston technique include:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Tennis elbow
  • Lumbar spine pain
  • Neck pain
  • Tendonitis
  • Golfer’s elbow
  • Knee pain
  • Shoulder pain

This isn’t a complete list of conditions that can be treated with the technique, of course. For example, a gentle scrape can help to remove scar tissue. This ensures the skin is able to start healing faster at the area where the scar tissue was.

The technique is also more effective with pain relief in certain cases, such as with neck pain compared to carpal tunnel syndrome.

Stainless steel tools are usually used alongside other manual therapy techniques to produce a faster rehabilitation.

Patients may also experience improvements when they have a pulled ligament or fascia restrictions.

Significant results are not obtained immediately, but with regular instrument assisted therapy sessions, treatment time can be reduced. There are also some cases where the median nerve is targeted in the treatment with patented form tools.

Is The Graston Technique Painful?

Many people are concerned that the treatment may lead to pain symptoms. Fortunately, in most cases, patients only note some discomfort while they are undergoing the process.

Most patients do not experience pain with the treatment. Should you find the therapy to be painful, talk to your physical therapist. They may use a specialized form of the Graston technique to reduce pressure on your soft tissue.

Is The Graston Technique Effective?

There are some studies that have been performed to determine the overall efficacy of the Graston technique. The therapy has been shown to increase the function of collagen and to stretch connective tissue.

Muscle fibers are also stretched during the process, which further contributes to its ability to ensure the person can experience an improvement faster.

Research About Graston Manual Therapy

In one study, the Graston technique was used to determine its efficacy among patients who experienced chronic pain in their lower back. The technique was performed among a total of 15 individuals.

There were also 15 patients who formed part of the control group. There was a more significant improvement in the symptoms reported by those with chronic low back pain when they underwent this particular therapy.

While the study did not focus on scar tissue or fascia restrictions, it still provided evidence that this is an effective treatment option.

How Does The Technique Help Scar Tissue?

The technique is not only used in order to promote the healing of muscle tissue. It can help a person live their best life due to the fact that it creates an environment that helps the body heal in less time.

There are aesthetic elements that the technique can also help with. Scar tissue on the skin is unpleasant and can make people feel self-conscious.

Scraping Scar Tissue

When it comes to removing scar tissue and allowing the skin to heal, the therapist will generally use a scraping tool. The scraping process is very gentle, as this helps to ensure they do not cut into the skin. While you may feel a little bit of discomfort during the process, it is considered safe and effective.

You may need to undergo multiple scraping sessions before the site is ready for healing purposes.


The Graston technique helps to shorten treatment time by using stainless steel instruments along with manual therapy. There are several potential advantages and patients will likely only feel a slight discomfort during the therapy. The treatment can help to address pain, scar tissue, and several other conditions.


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Dr. Ahmed Zayed holds a bachelor’s degree in medicine from Alexandria university and is a practicing plastic surgeon. He’s our expert on all things nutrition, medicine, rehabilitation, and flexibility. Dr.Ahmed has been a medical content writer for more than 11 years and his work reached top publications such as the HuffingtonPost

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