As a chiropractor I have the pleasure of seeing patients of all types in my studio. Most respond well to the style of chiropractic care I provide, but there are always a handful of challenging cases or specific requests that require a different approach in order to achieve the best possible outcome.
As all of my patients would know, I am the type of chiropractor that loves to improve skeletal function with my hands - using manual adjusting techniques but also in conjunction with other modalities when it's appropriate to use them. One of the adjuncts I use everyday with my patients is something called Graston Technique® or 'GT' - an amazing instrument assisted soft tissue mobilisation (IASTM) utilising six patented stainless steel instruments.
Like I mentioned before, I do get a handful of 'challenges' in my office and it is usually these patients that get an introduction into the most effective, clinically researched instrument assisted soft tissue treatment in the world(1). While the adjustment is still the most powerful tool in my chiropractic toolkit, if I can improve a patient's function and symptoms more quickly and with better long-term results you'd better believe I'm going to use the tools at my disposal!
Well, it's not a new idea, in fact it's based on an 80 year old therapeutic technique (2). It just took until 1994 for someone to improve upon it by developing the six surgical stainless steel instruments that are the secret to the effectiveness of GT.
So, the instruments, which are specially contoured to different areas of human anatomy are used to gently breakdown deposits of scar tissue adhesions that form after even minor injury. The body responds to this mechanical stimuli by absorbing the 'junk', repairing the injured tissue and finally remodelling the area so it is stronger and more healthy than ever before (3-7).
You are not wrong, but Graston Technique® does differ from massage in some critical areas:
At present I am one of only a few the Graston Technique® certified practitioners registered in Victoria, and I have patient's that travel hundreds of kilometres just to receive this amazing technique alongside their adjustment. Graston Technique® can only be practiced by a primary contact provider (Chiropractors, Medical Doctors, Podiatrists...) who has completed the required training course.
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1. http://www.grastontechnique.com/Research.html (2012)
2. Cyriax J. Textbook of Orthopaedic Medicine, 1: Diagnosis of Soft Tissue Lesions. 8th ed. London, England: Bailliere Tindall; 1982.
3. Davidson CJ, Ganion LR, Gehlsen GM, et al. Rat tendon morphologic and functional changes resulting from soft tissue mobilization. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 1997:313-319.
4. Carey-Loghmani MT, Hammer WI. Graston Technique. In: Hammer WI. Functional Soft-Tissue Examination and Treatment by Manual Methods, 3rd Edition. Sudbury, MA, Jones & Bartlett, 2007:589-625.
5. Hammer W. The effect of mechanical load on degenerated soft tissue. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 2008;12:246–256.
6. Loghmani MT, Warden SJ. Instrument-assisted cross-fiber massage accelerates knee ligament healing. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 2009 Jul;39(7):506-514.
7. Sevier TL, Gehlsen GM, Wilson JK, et al. Traditional physical therapy vs. Graston augmented soft tissue mobilization in treatment of lateralepicondylitis. JACSM 27(5), 1995.
8. Sevier TL, Wilson JK, Melham TJ, et al. A comparison of augmented softtissue mobilization vs traditional physical therapy for carpal tunnel syndrome. CTD News, Oct. 1997.