Graston Technique

By: admin Published: May 6, 2014

by Holly Nester, PT, MPT

What is Graston Technique?

Graston is a respected form of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization used to effectively treat pain and restricted mobility.   Therapists specially trained in the Graston techniques utilize uniquely designed stainless steel instruments to break down fascial restrictions and scar tissue that impair normal movement.



What are the benefits? 

  • Assists with faster recovery by addressing the restricted tissues that are causing dysfunction
  • May reduce need for anti-inflammatory medications
  • Is effective for both acute and chronic conditions
  • Increases tissue mobility resulting in less pain and stiffness

What types of patients are treated with Graston?

Graston is appropriate for those who would benefit from manual therapy and lengthening of restricted tissue.  While I continue to have great results with direct hands-on treatment, Graston techniques offer an alternative approach that is especially beneficial for deeper or long standing restricted areas where fibrotic tissue is contributing to injury and/or pain.  Diagnoses that I have successfully treated with Graston include:

  • Neck/back pain
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Tendinitis/epicondylitis
  • Hip/knee disorders
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Scar tissue

What to expect?

The internet has pictures of people horribly bruised following Graston techniques, but this is not the norm.  While Graston is used for professional and Olympic athletes who may tolerate that type of extremely deep work, most people treated in our physical therapy clinic can anticipate a much less severe response.  Typically we warm up the tissues so that they are less tender and more responsive to lengthening.  Hands on techniques may be used in conjunction with Graston instruments to lengthen the injured tissue and allow for more normal movement patterns and reduced pain.  There may be reddening of the skin, tenderness, and some light bruising depending on the individual and depth of pressure used.  It is always done to the patients’ tolerance and with their consent.  Exercise and ice are often included as part of treatment following Graston techniques.

Click here for a printable information sheet on Graston technique.

What research is available?

If you are interested in reading available research articles, please visit for more information.

What Do Patients Say?

“Before receiving Graston, I had repeated injuries of various sorts (e.g. pulled hamstring and chronic tension).  With Graston, Holly was able to get to areas connected to the “tight spots” that ultimately got to the root of the issues.  I am so grateful for her wisdom and the Graston technique!  Now I know that what was once chronic pain does not have to be normal for me any longer.”



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