Graston Technique / Soft Tissue Mobilization

The Graston Technique is a manual soft tissue technique invented by an athlete named David Graston. Unable to recover from an injured knee he got while water skiing, He designed a unique set of tools to assist with his rehab. Cross-friction massage was developed by orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Cyriax and was the primary concept behind the development of the soft tissue treatment for the Graston Technique.
The Graston Technique is an instrument-assisted, soft tissue mobilization therapy, that breaks up fascial restrictions, scar tissue adhesions, and locates areas of chronic inflammation or fibrosis. The Graston technique will help conditions such as a cervical sprain, tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow, lumbar sprain, rotator cuff tendinitis, and even Achilles tendinitis.

Dr Rubin has years of experience helping patients using the Graston Technique.

The Graston breaks up scar tissue formed by tendon damage and knee surgeries. Dr Rubin uses one of six stainless steel tools to diagnose and treat certain conditions. Designated areas of the body use certain tools to break up adhesion’s, which helps start the healing process right away. Graston treatments will decrease treatment time and reduce your need for NSAID medications.

The treatment is applied in multiple directions: with venous drainage, against venous drainage and cross fiber in multiple directions to the lesion. As with other soft tissue techniques the treatment application is also part of the diagnostic process. As the Graston tool is applied, a “vibratory” sensation is felt through the tool to the examiners fingertips. The patient simultaneously experiences a similar sensation while the tool traverses the area being treated.
Soft tissue mobilization will also help recovery from stiff, painful or over-tired muscles by: speeding up the elimination of waste products and temporarily increasing the local blood supply. STM primarily works the muscular system but can be utilized for scar mobilization and deep friction massage of tendons, fascial tissue, or ligaments. STM techniques are a combination of manual techniques designed to relax, release and stretch soft tissue.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Graston Technique?
The Graston Technique incorporates a patented form of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization that enables clinicians to effectively detect and treat scar tissue and restrictions that affect normal function.
The Technique:

  • Separates and breaks down collagen cross-links, and splays and stretches connective tissue and muscle fibers
  • Increases skin temperature
  • Facilitates reflex changes in the chronic muscle holding pattern
  • Alters spinal reflux activity (facilitated segment)
  • Increases the rate and amount of blood flow to and from the area
  • Increases cellular activity in the region, including fibroblasts and mast cells
  • Increases histamine response secondary to mast cell activity
Why is scar tissue a problem?
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?
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.
Is the treatment painful?
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.
Are other procedures involved in using Graston Technique?
Our protocol includes a brief warm-up exercise, Graston Technique treatment, followed by stretching, strengthening and ice. We will often combine Graston Technique with Active Release Technique and Chiropractic Adjustments.
What is the frequency of treatment?
Patients usually receive two to three treatments per week over 2-3 weeks.
What kind of results does Graston Technique produce?
Historically, the Graston Technique has resolved 87% or more of all conditions treated. It is equally effective on restoring function to acute and chronic injuries, and pre and post surgical patients.