What is Graston Technique®?

Posted at 22 January 2018 in  by Graham Rock

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.

A hands-on approach

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!

So how does Graston Technique® work?

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).

That sounds just like a massage!

You are not wrong, but Graston Technique® does differ from massage in some critical areas:

  • GT is both a diagnostic technique as well as a treatment. This means I can focus my treatment on only the areas that need it, rather than wasting time on healthy tissue.
  • The instruments have been shown in the literature to be far superior when compared to using hands alone (8). This means less treatment time, less pain and a better result.
  • GT is not just covering up symptoms like some other techniques, it is utilising the bodies own healing mechanism to bring about long-term functional and structural change. This means less symptoms in the future, not just the day after your treatment.

Some quick examples of conditions I use GT for everyday:

  • Low Back Pain/sprain
  • Headaches/stiff neck
  • Sporting injuries (too many to list!)
  • Nerve entrapment (carpal tunnel syndrome)
  • Plantar fasciitis (foot pain)
  • Tennis/Golfers elbow
  • Ankle sprains
  • Chronic muscle/fascia tightness

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.

If you'd like to learn more about GT please check out their website and our Graston Technique® Services page or ask me any questions you might have. Also keep an eye out for more blog posts on Graston Technique® and some of the amazing results I have seen in my patients.

The information provided on this Site is provided for information purposes only. If you are a patient using this Site, you should seek assistance from a health care professional when interpreting these materials and applying them to your individual circumstances.

If you have any concerns about your health, consult your general practitioner. Information provided on this Site does not imply endorsement of third-party services or products and cannot provide you with health and medical advice.


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.

Graham Rock
Graham Rock
Dr Graham is a manual adjusting Chiropractor that utilises multiple techniques and modalities to get the best result for his patients during their appointments. Dr Graham also utilises several soft tissue techniques to compliment his patients’ musculoskeletal adjustments.
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