Graston Technique

Graston Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Manipulation (GISTM)

Graston technique is a specialized form of soft tissue manipulation that utilizes stainless steel tools to remove fibrous adhesion and scar tissue that occurs within and between different layers of muscles, tendons and ligaments.

The goal of treatment with Graston Therapy is to allow the body to heal properly forming functional scar tissue (or no scar tissue at all).  This allows the different layers of muscles, tendons and ligaments to interact properly, reducing pain and dysfunction.

Graston Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Manipulation has been used by many health care providers including chiropractors, occupational and physical therapist, hand therapist, and personal trainers.

What conditions can benefit from Graston Treatment?

Many areas of the body can benefit particularly the spine, pelvis and extremities.  

Common conditions treated include:

Cervical Sprain Strain (neck pain)
Lumbar Sprain Strain (low back pain)
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (wrist pain)
Medial Epicondylitis (golfer’s elbow)
Lateral Epicondylitis (tennis elbow)
Rotator Cuff Tendinitis (shoulder pain)
Patellofemoral Disorder (knee pain)
Achilles Tendinitis (ankle pain)
Chronic and Acute Ankle Sprains
Shin Splints
Trigger Finger
Scar Tissue
Post Surgical Scarring
Edema (post surgical)


What do the tools look like?

The Graston tools encompass 6 different sizes and shapes which are used on specific regions and for specific purposes.

Below is a photo of a the set of tools.  They are composed of polished stainless steel with a beveled “treatment” edge.  Some tools have multiple treatment edges which can be used in different parts of the body.


How is Graston Performed?

Treatment with Graston generally lasts anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes depending on the area treated.  The treatment begins by warming the area to be treated, this can be done many ways including using ultrasound, hot packs, light manual therapy or light exercise.  After warm up the area is assessed using the Graston Technique and specific areas receive more attention and work. After treatment, the area is then run through range of motion exercises and the provider may end the treatment with an ice pack or may advise you use one at home.  

The video below demonstrates Graston Technique used on an athlete with IT Band dysfunction or injury.

How often must I have Graston to see improvement?

Treatment with Graston is not a one-time event.  Although many patient see significant improvement with only a couple of treatments, many conditions may take 8 or 10 treatments to reach maximum improvement.  This is mainly due to the time it takes for the body to heal itself after the scar tissue (fibrous adhesions) is broken up.

What are the side effects of Treatment?

Side effects from Graston are usually mild and include localized swelling, soreness with touch, and mild or moderate bruising.  These side effects generally resolve in a couple of days and can be treated at home with ice.  

Where can I get more information?

The official Graston website is a good resource for additional information on the technique. There you will find a presentation demonstrating the fundamentals of how the technique works.  Or come visit our office and see the tools and the technique for yourself.