O Graston, My Graston


Today I was thoroughly bruised by a doctor with a butter knife. I have never been happier.

It’s called the Graston Technique, and it might be the most efficient massage I’ve ever had. Six stainless steel tools, just begging for Sweeney Todd marketing partnerships, are rubbed and dragged across your oiled skin in order to break up myofascial restrictions. Aka knots, tightness, and scar tissue. If you bruise easily, you will be left with an enormous hickey across your offended part. My shoulder has never been sexier.

The treatment is good for tendonitis, plantar fascitis, carpal tunnel, etc. Supposedly it’s now used by all the major sports teams. Watch this video to get the gist.

The beauty of the technique is the leverage that the tool provides you’re not limited by the strength of the therapist’s thumbs. The end is used to dig a ditch under your shoulder blade; the long edge rakes out your neck. It was actually less painful than I anticipated. One by one, he called out the muscles and neighbors of my rotator cuff, and attacked them. In twenty minutes, he found and dug into every little knot my last four massages had touched on.

Dr. Minardo at Infinity Sports Medicine did the job; their whole office was strongly recommended by a marathoning friend. Dr. Babiy checked out a little knee puffiness (no drama, just imbalance!), and Stephen Kim taught me some physical therapy. They had a range of suggestions for my chronic shoulder tendonitis, including trigger point INJECTIONS (of saline)… but who could turn down “a massage with a special metal device?” (One covered by my insurance, too?)

I felt almost guilty going to a Western office, like there was some Eastern technique I just hadn’t found… but you gotta love German engineering, too. And, I’m telling myself the 8am appointments count as a morning practice. I go back twice next week, but the real test will be for me to keep up w/the homework (ice and stuff for the knee). If I can clear up this shoulder I will be SO happy, cause there’s a time limit on your body’s ability to regain full elasticity; you can’t leave it knotted for too long. It’s time to say goodbye…

5 thoughts on “O Graston, My Graston”

  1. I have been a fan of deep myofascial massage for years and generally ask my current practitioner to work me over WELL. This sounds amazing. I’d think the therapist would also appreciate the leverage aspect to help save their hands. I really need to find someone in my area that does it. Thanks for the tip & well written article!

  2. Thanks! Glad you liked it! Also look for M.E.L.T. classes you learn to use rubber balls and foam rollers to give yourself a deep myofascial massage from fingers to toes! They’re offered here in NYC at The Breathing Project Edya Kalev is GREAT.

  3. Graston sessions are quick, lasting between 2-10 minutes; though a couple of minutes of Graston treatment feels like an hour of deep tissue massage. I typically see improved range of motion of 15% to 20% at the end of the first Graston session and pain is noticeably reduced.

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