Should You Try Graston Technique?


Picture courtesy of

ST – Soft tissue typically means in and around muscles, which are soft.

M – Manipulation means touching and moving the muscles.

Graston Technique was originally designed by athletes, for athletes, to address scar tissue and fascial restriction for the purpose of increasing range of motion and ultimately, fixing pain.

Scar tissue means fascial adhesion caused by trauma.  To observe fascial adhesion in a model, below is Dr. William Brady of

Picture courtesy of

A qualified adhesion provider will remove only the dime-sized adhesion in a specific spot using the Test-Treat-Retest methodology before continuing.

If your problem area looks like this guy’s back, you deserve better.

Where Graston Technique Is Completely Ineffective

The list of effective treatment locations above includes some areas that are ineffective.

The distinction of what is treatable with Graston Technique (or other IASTM techniques) vs. isn’t is extremely important.  It determines the difference between you spending hundreds (if not thousands of dollars) and hours of time/wasted energy vs. getting out of pain rather quickly.

The doctor who gave one of our bilateral hip pain patients (the pain was present for 8 months before seeing us at Barefoot Rehab) 24 treatments of Graston Technique to her groin muscles had the right diagnosis. See the case study below (5:26).  Her adductors were one of two primary problems.

However, the groin is completely ineffective with Graston Technique due to Principle #3 – the presence of fat.  Three treatments of Manual Adhesion Release to her adductor magnus and posterior hip capsules and this patient noticed a dramatic, sustainable difference in her hip pain.

Three treatments of 80% improvement vs. Twenty-four treatments with 0 % improvement.

Choose the right practitioner wisely.

Here is the list of structures that are completely ineffective with Graston Technique (and other IASTM techniques):

  • calf muscles
  • hamstring muscles
  • groin muscles
  • deep thigh
  • hip capsule
  • low back, mid back, and upper back muscles
  • front of spine (where the psoas is located)
  • front or back of neck

I’ve heard legends that providers will “attempt” to treat the psoas muscle with an instrument.  Not only is the psoas sometimes 3″, 5″, or even deeper depending on how much body fat a person is storing in their abdomen, but their are intestines in the way.  The instrument “blade” is sharp enough to tear adhesion close to the skin.  Deep to the intestines and the belly fat, the instrument has ZERO chance of treating the adhesion present in the psoas.

I digress.

If You Should Try Graston Technique or Not

Use Graston Technique (or any other IASTM) when:

  • you can find your pain on the list of structures where Graston Technique works really well.  If you aren’t being helped yet, find a provider of Graston Technique.

Do NOT use Graston Technique (or any other IASTM) when:

  • the location of your pain is on the list of structures that are completely ineffective.

At Barefoot Rehab, we treat adhesion from the bottom of the skull all the way down to the pinky toe.  The approximate percentages we use an instrument vs. our hands is:

  • 30% of the time, we use the instrument designed by Dr. William Brady of Integrative Diagnosis.  This is the gold-standard treatment for adhesion in specific areas of the body.
  • 70% of the time, we use our hands with Manual Adhesion Release (MAR) or Active Release Technique (ART).  MAR is the gold-standard treatment for adhesion where an instrument is ineffective.

If you want to find the best provider possible to meet all of your chronic pain + adhesion needs, I recommend you find an Integrative Diagnosis provider.  There aren’t many of us out there. But if you’re lucky enough to live near one, ID Providers are training to humble themselves to do whatever a person in pain needs.  The goal is that patients don’t become pigeon-holed into treatments that a doctor uses on every single patient who walks through the office.

If you don’t live near an ID Provider, then do the best you can patchworking different providers based on your knowledge of your pain.

What You Should Expect If You Try Graston Technique

Make things as simple as possible, but no simpler. ~Albert Einstein

Here are the minimum, simple expectations for receiving effective treatment:

1. The pain should be reduced at least 10% in five visits or less.

If your pain isn’t reduced, something is wrong.  Even if you’ve had the pain for a long time.

Reasons for a lack of results include all of the following:

  • you could be doing too much (excessive load) on the damaged body part (i.e. refusing to stop running or typing excessively while at work)
  • the wrong adhesion can be treated (You have adhesion everywhere. The key question is to find the adhesion that is causing your problem.)
  • the right adhesion can be treated ineffectively (You can get massaged all day long and not break up the adhesion.)
  • you could have a metabolic or psychological issue (i.e. Celiacs disease, unmanaged veganism or vegetarianism, or you’re going through a divorce)
  • you could have a degenerative structural problem (i.e. osteoarthritis or a disc problem)

Regardless of the reasons, your cue at visit 5, if you don’t have results yet, is to ask your provider how the plan’s going to change moving forward.  If he doesn’t sound like he knows what he is talking about, find another provider.

2. During the treatment, you should hear grinding and see micro-bruising (known as petechiae).

Be weary of the instrument holder who paints your arm pink.

You want to damage the sick tissue, not the healthy tissue.

3. Your flexibility should be immediately increased after the treatment and permanently increased after five treatments.

When your flexibility (or range of motion) has increased, you know that the adhesion responsible for your tightness has been removed.

If your tightness stays the same, whatever the problem is that is causing your tightness is still in your body.  This doesn’t mean that your pain can’t decrease if your range of motion stays the same.

4. Your treatment plan should involve more than Graston Technique.

Avoid reductionists at all costs.

A reductionist is a provider who reduces everyone’s problems to their specific solution.

If your provider is only delivering Graston Technique with no other solutions, a red flag should go up in your head.

With this information, you are now empowered to judge for yourself, as a patient and client, what type of care you should be getting for your pain.  Unfortunately, we cannot trust our healthcare systems, the government, or even individual doctors to be an advocate for our most pain-free selves.

Being empowered means less pain in your body, more money in your pocket, and more energy to live the life you dream of.

Read The 7 Biggest Mistakes People Make When Choosing a Pain Doctor to save yourself some trouble.

speechbubblesWhat has your experience been with Graston Technique? Did it work completely for you? Did you make you 50% better, only to need a hands-on treatment for the rest of your resolution?  Feel free to share with us.

The post Should You Try Graston Technique? appeared first on Barefoot Rehab.

Read more here::


- Enter Your Location -
- or -