At OrthoWell, we are advanced certified in performing The Graston Technique. The Graston technique is a form of instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization that uses stainless steel tools to assess for and to treat soft tissue dysfunction i.e scar tissue. We utilize The Graston Technique tools as well several other instruments of assisted soft tissue mobilization(IASTM) including a tool called The Edge. Chris worked directly with David Graston at his Indianapolis clinic and has also become advanced certified in the official Graston Technique.
So how does IASTM work? The instruments are used as an alternative to the therapists fingers to provide deep friction massage. The acoustic properties of the instruments can aide in the diagnostic locating of scar tissue. The deep friction massage of IASTM reintroduces microtrauma to the damaged site and sets in motion the healing cascade. During the inflammatory stage, scar tissue can be reabsorbed by the body. In the fibroblastic phase of healing, the damaged tissue is replaced by new collagen and is reformatted through proper stretching and exercise. This “process” can take 3-6 months in chronic cases. Keep in mind that inflammation can occur without healing, but healing cannot occur without inflammation. Deep friction massage initiates the inflammatory cascade to “jump start” the healing process. It has been shown to stimulate the proliferation and activation of fibroblasts. Fibroblasts play a key role in tissue healing because they are responsible for producing the key structural fiber in healthy connective tissue – collagen. So what does the research tell us about IASTM?
Craig Davidson et al in “Morphologic and functional changes in rat Achilles tendon following collagenase and GASTM”, J Am College Sports Med, 1995;27 showed increased fibroblast proliferation in the IASTM group and stated that “the study suggests that IASTM may promote healing via increased fibroblast recruitment.”
Gale Gehlsen et al in “Fibroblasts responses to variation in soft tissue mobilization pressure”, Med Sci Sports Exer, 1999;31:531-535 showed morphological evidence indicating that “the application of heavy pressure during IASTM promoted more fibroblastic proliferation compared to light or moderate pressure.”
Mary Loghmani et al in a 2006 research project at Indiana University (pending publication) revealed that “ligaments treated with IASTM were found to be 31% stronger and 34% stiffer than untreated ligaments.”
IASTM may be a part of your treatment plan, because at WalkWell, we listen to the experts. Evidenced-based treatment is our focus.