Graston Technique Specialist
Dr. Forster has trained and even frequently co-lectured alongside with David Graston, the pioneer of the Graston Technique. Our clinical facility has hosted training programs for healthcare professionals from around the country, enabling them to receive their training in instrument assisted myofascial soft tissue therapy (aka Graston).
Graston Technique® therapy breaks down ‘fascial adhesions’ or scarring in the body’s connective ‘fascial’ tissues: including muscle, ligament and tendon structures. In combination with specific stretching and strengthening exercises, this increases mobility in and stability in areas of soft tissue affected by injury, either repetitive strain or injury related sprains and strains.
Watch Dr. Forster work with the Michael Franti Band & discuss Graston technique
What is the Instrument – assisted soft tissue mobilization?
The technique, pioneered by David Graston, incorporates the use of specialized instruments to assist with mobilizing the soft tissues of the body. The instruments enable clinicians to effectively detect and treat adhesions, restrictions and scar tissue in the muscles and connecting tissue (“fascia”) that affect normal function. We call this abnormal tissue “fibrotic” tissue.
The Graston Technique:
- Separates and breaks down small areas of scar tissue or “adhesions” between the layers of muscles and the tissues that bind them together, referred to as “connective tissue”. Specific techniques using the instruments separates and stretches the different tissues and muscle fibers, effectively “freeing” them up.
- Blood flow is Increased to and from the area, helping repair and removing toxins
- Working of the tissues increases the body’s repair cell activity, creating proper soft tissue re-organization (“straightening out the fibers”).
Why is scar tissue a problem?
Scar tissue limits motion, by binding and ‘sticking’ different layers of muscle and tissue fibers together. In many cases, this causes pain, and prevents normal muscle and tissue movement and functioning. It ‘pre-stresses’ tissues and can result in painful imbalances causing such problems as tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis and carpal tunnel like symptoms.
What is “soft tissue” and how is scar tissue different?
Soft tissue is the “general” name given to all the different muscles, ligaments, tendons and connecting “fascia” that holds, moves and binds the body together. If we look at “soft tissue” under a microscope, normal tissue generally looks organized into fibers running in the same direction.
When tissue is damaged, it generally tends to repair and heal in a random, irregular and haphazard pattern. This is what we call ‘scarring’, and when it starts to stick to other healthy tissue, we have restricted movement, increased tissue stress and very often, pain.
How are the instruments used?
The instruments help the clinician by diagnosing or identifying adhesions, scar tissue or restrictions in the affected areas. In much the same way as a stethoscope helps the doctor hear the heart better, the instruments increase sensitivity over soft tissue by “catching” on fibrotic tissue, specifically identifying areas of restriction. The instruments are then used to free up the scar tissue, allowing normal tissue fiber alignment to occur.
Is the treatment painful?
The great thing about the treatment is that the patient “feels” the technique working. The technique is ALWAYS performed to the patient’s tolerance. Yes – it is common to experience some minor discomfort during treatment, but many patients give us feedback that it is like a “good pain”, as they feel and understand the effectiveness of the treatment. In some patients, there can be some redness and mild bruising afterwards, but this is a normal effect and part of the healing process.
What other treatment is used with the technique?
We incorporate traditional massage, mobilization/manipulation and exercise protocols together as part of a complete and comprehensive approach to treatment. This generally reduces treatment times and improves the effectiveness of the care.
How often will I receive treatment?
The usual course of care involves two treatments per week over 3-5 weeks. Most patients have notice improvement by the 3rd to 4th treatment. What kinds of conditions does the technique help? The technique is used effectively on a variety of acute (new) and chronic (old) injuries, as well as pre and post surgical patients.