IASTM (Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization) is a manual therapy technique that utilizes tools, plastic or metal, to address soft tissue restrictions instead of the clinician's hands. These are not meant to replace the clinician's hands, but instead act as an adjunct to enhance the clinician's ability to detect and treat many soft tissue restrictions and adhesions that may lead to dysfunction and pain. Graston Technique® is recognized as the most frequently used IASTM system among qualified professionals and the most requested IASTM treatment by clients/patients.1 What sets Graston apart from its competitors is its evidenced based treatment approaches. Graston was developed through extensive research over 20 years ago and it is continuously updated with current findings and best practices from the field. The focus continues to be on high-quality training and continuing education.2 With positive results in the field from both patients and clinicians, Graston is a reliable tool to help treat many soft tissue restrictions and improve patient outcomes.
Athletes have had tremendous results on nagging issues by the application of Graston IASTM in conjunction with corrective therapeutic strengthening and stretching. When a clinician decides Graston IASTM is appropriate for your care you should expect the following:3
1.A cardiovascular warm up if the tissue is not warmed up beforehand.
2.Clinician will begin with a scan utilizing a specific Graston tool - the scan technique is used to detect the soft tissue adhesion/abnormalities including the anatomical structure, depth, and severity of restriction.
3.Next the clinician will elect the appropriate Graston tool to treat the affected area or areas depending on the findings during the scan. Treatment times vary for all individuals. The client may experience some discomfort during this portion of the treatment.
4.Following the IASTM the clinician will begin the therapeutic corrective stretching and or strengthening portion of the treatment to reinforce the soft tissue gains made.
5.Following treatment clients are advised that they may experience soreness, bruising, or petechiae - small red dots over the treated area. Specifically at Base PT your clinician will go over a full subjective medical history before utilizing any Graston treatments to rule out an contraindications to treatment.
So how does Graston work? Graston technique IASTM works by assisting the body in the healing of damaged tissue. It is hypothesized that for degenerated connective tissue Graston IASTM re-initiates the inflammatory process by introducing a controlled amount of microtrauma to the affected area by use of the specific tool. From that point a healing cascade is created by enhancing the proliferative invasion of blood, nutrients, and fibroblasts to the region resulting in collagen deposition and eventual maturation.4 In the case of scar tissue Graston IASTM is used to mechanically mobilize scar tissue, increasing its pliability and loosening it from surrounding healthy tissue.5 In even more science terms: The effect of IASTM on soft tissue is the stimulation of fibroblasts and their synthesis of proteoglycan and collagen; the goal of healing is to enhance the proliferative invasion of vascular elements and fibroblasts, followed by collagen deposition and ultimate maturation. "Dynamic strain is integral to fibroblast stimulation and in the organization of the overall extracellular matrix of connective tissues."6 So with both chronic soft tissue injuries and scar tissue Graston helps your body repair itself by bringing blood flow to the area. From that point experienced clinicians will being to restore the tissue by adding corrective therapeutic exercises and stretching techniques. As this article states, "the reality is that mechanical load literally creates new tissue and helps it mature, when followed by specific stretching and strengthening".7 It is crucial that the athlete or client enhance the job done by the Graston tools by adhering to their specific home exercise and stretching program.
Rest assured that all practitioners at Base Physical Therapy utilizing the Graston Technique® have taken the necessary continuing education courses and are certified in the technique. Please feel free to stop by or call to ask any questions and schedule your appointment today and find out how Graston Technique® can help you get back to the athletic field or gym:
BASE Physical Therapy
1 Graston Technique - http://www.grastontechnique.com/clinicians
2 Graston Technique - http://www.grastontechnique.com/clinicians
3 Graston Technique Treatment: What to Expect - http://www.spine-health.com/treatment/chiropractic/graston-technique-treatment-what-expect
4 "The effect of mechanical load on degenerated soft tissue." Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies. www.intl.elsevierhealth.com/journals/jbmt
5 "The effect of mechanical load on degenerated soft tissue." Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies. www.intl.elsevierhealth.com/journals/jbmt
6 Instrument-Assisted Soft-Tissue Mobilization: A Scientific and Clinical Perspective - http://new.dynamicchiropractic.com/mpacms/dc/article.php?t=3&id=46222
7 Instrument-Assisted Soft-Tissue Mobilization: A Scientific and Clinical Perspective - http://new.dynamicchiropractic.com/mpacms/dc/article.php?t=3&id=46222