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What is the Graston Technique?

Definition of Soft Tissue Mobilization: “The forceful passive movement of the musculofascial elements through its restrictive direction(s) beginning with its most superficial layers and progressing into depth while taking into account its relationship to the joints concerned.”

First of all, let’s map out what happens when soft tissue is immobilized:

-permanent loss of water and GAG’s in the tissue

-No net collagen loss unless immobilized for longer than 9 weeks, then collagen begins breaking down

-Microscopic and macroscopic formation of collagen, inter-fiber cross-links

-Ligaments weaken after 9 weeks

-Irregular lying down of collagen

-Insertion sites of ligaments, tendons, and joint capsules. To bone demonstrate declining soft tissue and bone junctional strength

-Over time, tissue down regulates (Davis’. Law), weakens, and loses elasticity which leads to loss of motion and higher risk of re-injury

-50% loss of muscle weight

-muscle atrophy

-decreased muscle extensibility 

-muscle contusions will result in hematoma and heal with scar tissue of dense irregular connective tissue

Benefits of soft tissue mobilization using Graston instruments:

-release of fascial restrictions and adhesions

-splays and stretches connective tissue and muscle fibers

-Alters spinal reflex activity

-increases skin temperature

-Separates and breaks down collagen cross links 

-increases blood flow to the area 

-increases cellular activity including fibroblasts and mast cells in the region for increased healing

-allows soft tissue to be mobilized in less time, with less pressure, and greater comfort for the patient

Diagnoses that can benefit from the Graston technique:

-Tendons (tedonosis, tendonitis, peritendinitis)

-Muscles (strains, tears, calcification)

-Ligaments(sprains, etc.)

-Fascia (plantar fasciitis, ITB syndrome,  compartment syndromes)



-Scars (post-surgical, traumatic)

What to do AFTER you get Graston-ed:

-Drink LOTS of water to foster the removal of toxins and increase circulation (8-12 eight oz. glasses/day)

-Ice the affected body part for inflammation control

-Perform exercises given to you by your PT!

Come to us at CCPT if you think you’d benefit from this technique!

Happy Healing!

Maggie Nguyen PT, DPT

To learn more about the Graston Technique visit:


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