Grasping the Graston Technique
Graston Technique and Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilisation (IASTM)
Clients often ask about the Graston Technique when what they are really referring to is the less commonly used name, instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM). Graston as well as IASTM is gaining popularity not only with patients, but as well with practitioners due to its effectiveness and efficiency as well as minimizing stress on the hands and fingers.
The Graston Technique is a patented form of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization that was actually developed by an athlete who was frustrated by the lack of rehabilitation progress after a knee injury. Graston as well as other forms of IASTM are similar in a way to massage as they are both forms of soft-tissue mobilization, and therefore they allow the practitioner to perform muscle work to promote healing. Although practitioners do not necessarily have to be authorized to perform IASTM, only clinicians who have been trained and accredited in the Graston Technique are qualified to obtain the Graston Technique instruments and apply the technique to treat patients.
With that said, there are other IASTM tools or instruments to locate and treat soft tissue dysfunction. Soft-tissue practitioners, by using their hands or handheld tools, can help modulate pain signals to the brain to make movements easier to complete. As well, the small microtrauma that is caused during these treatments facilitates a cascade of healing activities to allow for improved tissue healing.
What is soft tissue and how does it heal?
Soft tissue refers to muscles, tendons (the part of the muscle that attaches to a bone), and ligaments (structures that connect one bone to another to keep a joint stable). When a tissue is injured, whether its muscle, tendon or ligament, our body attempts to heal itself by laying down new tissue over the injury site. This new tissue, also known as scar tissue, is not as strong or as flexible as normal, healthy, undamaged tissue. Over time, and because of small re-injuries, there is a build-up of this fibrous tissue that causes restricted movement, pain, soreness, and reduced flexibility.
So whether you choose someone qualified to perform Graston or other forms of IASTM, it may be an effective addition to your treatment plan.
Do you have muscle pain or a previous nagging injury? Would you consider trying IASTM to minimize the pain and improve mobility?