This week, on: Scary Therapies You Should Totally Try, you’re going to learn about Graston Technique®!
I’m sure many of you haven’t heard of Graston Technique® before; it’s a relatively new one for me too. Graston Technique® is a form of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization that enables practitioners to break down scar tissue and fascial restrictions. The technique utilizes specially designed stainless steel instruments to detect and treat areas exhibiting soft tissue fibrosis or chronic inflammation.
Originally developed by athletes, Graston Technique® is an interdisciplinary treatment used by more than 16,000 clinicians worldwide—including physical and occupational therapists, massage therapists, chiropractors, and athletic trainers (for the record, my chiropractor performs Graston treatments for me). The Graston Technique® Instruments, much like a tuning fork, resonate in the clinician’s hands allowing them to isolate adhesions and restrictions, and treat them very precisely. Since the metal surface of the instruments does not compress (as do the fat pads of the finger), deeper restrictions can be accessed and treated.
Graston Technique® treatments will typically be included in the overall cost of a visit to your practitioner. For me, Graston is included in the cost of a visit to my chiropractor, so I pay $40 for a chiropractic session and that includes the Graston work and the manual chiropractic adjustment. If Graston Technique® is practiced by your massage therapist or physiotherapist, it should be included in your basic cost of treatment there as well.
What To Expect
The Graston instruments may look a bit intimidating at first, so don’t be alarmed. They sort of look like different blades of a Swiss Army knife, but separated. Some of them are wider, more curvy, some have deliberate notches in them, etc. Don’t worry! First, you should know that these are NOT sharp instruments. Although they may look like a knife or a bottle opener, they are not sharp, and they will not cut you or pierce your skin in any way. Second: Your Graston Technique® practitioner is a trained professional. Not only are they educated in their own profession, but they also must successfully complete a Graston Technique® training course in order to practice this therapy. Most of all, remember that this treatment, and your health professional, are intended to help you, not hurt you!
Your practitioner will apply a bit of a gel or cream, much like at a massage, and will then select the appropriate instruments to use. They will place you in a position where the affected area is stretched (eg: hold your foot to your bum to stretch quad; drop your ear toward your shoulder to stretch neck), and will then start using the instrument on the injured tissue. They will move the instruments in a back-and-forth, “grating”-type motion…sort of like…spreading butter on toast? Is that a good analogy? Your practitioner will probably move quite fast, and with increasing pressure. I’m not going to lie to you: this will probably be uncomfortable, especially on your first time, and the worse the injury, the worse it may hurt! Much like a deep tissue or sports massage, this treatment is trying to break apart adhesions and scar tissue that are limiting your movement and performance.
After your appointment you will probably notice redness of the skin, and often spotty bruising as well. Again, the worse the injury/disability, the more bruising you can expect to see. Generally, after having the same area treated a few times in the span of a week or two the bruising stops.
Why It’s Worth A Try
I did not seek out Graston Technique® treatment on purpose; my chiropractor recommended it to me, and I accepted. That said, it is definitely worth doing some Googling and finding a practitioner in your area. I have used Graston to treat headaches, neck pain, back pain, IT band pain, Achilles pain…and it has been effective in every single scenario. After only 2-3 treatments I feel so much more mobile and am able to return to activity. I do use this therapy in conjunction with physiotherapy and massage therapy in order to achieve long-term effects, but I can certainly say that this alone provides the most effective and immediate solution that I have ever experienced. These special instruments and techniques do an incredible job of getting rid of “the junk” and damage I have accumulated and bring me back to optimal health.
Graston Technique® claims to have the following benefits:
* Decreases overall time of treatment
* Fosters faster rehabilitation/recovery
* Reduces need for anti-inflammatory medication
* Resolves chronic conditions though to be permanent
…I can say that I have experienced all of these benefits, for sure!
And, just in case it makes it any more interesting or legitimate to you, Graston Technique® is used by teams in the NBA, NHL, NFL, MLB, on the PGA tour, and in professional soccer. Some of your favourite sports heroes and Olympians are making this part of their regular training!
Have YOU ever tried Graston Technique®? Let us know what you think in the comments!