Graston Technique uses unique handheld instruments with a specialized form of massage that is designed to help the practitioner identify areas of restriction and break up the scar tissue.

The Graston Technique Tools

There are 6 core tools used in Graston Technique. These tools are made of stainless steel and are concave and convex-shaped. They have rounded edges and are not sharp. The instruments are used to scan over and detect areas of injured fibrotic tissue.

The process is designed to both identify the injured areas and provide needed treatment to them.

The Graston Technique Massage

Using a cross-friction massage, which involves brushing or rubbing against the grain of the scar tissue, the practitioner re-introduces small amounts of trauma to the affected area. In some cases, this process temporarily causes inflammation in the area, which in turn increases the rate and amount of blood flow in and around the area. The theory is that this process helps initiate and promote the healing process of the affected soft tissues.

See Massage Therapy for Lower Back Pain

Treatment is rendered along the kinetic chain and thus a patient presenting with back pain might also receive treatment to the hip flexors, abdomen, hamstrings, shoulders, and other regions of the body which often seem remote but are connected through the fascial network.


Clinical Data on the Graston Technique

At the time of this article, there are no peer-reviewed published clinical studies regarding the effectiveness of the Graston Technique in relieving lower back pain or neck pain. Research that has been conducted indicates a relatively high success rate for patients with chronic pain and acute pain from soft tissue injuries, both in terms of improving the patient's function and reducing pain.


While newer research is informative, there remain many aspects of this therapy for which we have no certain explanation and no clinical trials or other studies to verify the outcomes.

Dr. Thomas Hyde is a chiropractor who retired with more than 30 years of experience treating spine pain and soft tissue disorders in athletes and active patients.