Muscle scraping otherwise known as the graston technique is as you can tell by YouTube videos (if you’ve ever seen one) or by this title, something that seems to be very painful. I’m here to tell you, yeah, it kind of is. Although it is a good pain at the same time because while you’re getting your muscles scraped, you can rest assured that even though you’ll walk out there looking like you were brutally beat up, your muscles will feel SO much better than they did before.
Welcome to the world of massage techniques, as I’ve come to learn, there are endless possibilities. What’s so different about muscle scraping is that you are using a stainless steel tool that can actually be shaped in various ways so that it can fit the area it is trying to massage. This technique is also quite similar to Gua Sha but will target deeper muscle tissues as opposed to those on the surface. This makes the procedure a little more invasive than gua sha.
Before we get into it, I want to note that this technique has many different names, such as: IASTM (Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization), Muscle Scraping, and Graston Technique. Many who preform this type of assisted massage and those who receive it will use these terms interchangeably.
There are two coinciding explanations as to why you may need to get muscle scraping. In both cases you would either be a bodybuilder or someone who exercised excessively. When you exercise your muscles tear in micro sizes that are not necessarily dangerous or recognizable. This is why you will most often feel sore after working out intensively. What your body will do is create adhesions to repair these micro tears; kind of like sticking a band-aid on it. Although half of the time these adhesions do not allow your body to heal these small tears properly and this may lead to an injury down the road. Though most of the time these adhesions do help fully heal the micro tears from exercising.
However, IASTM can help smooth things out, literally. The goal of this procedure is to break the adhesions so the muscles can have a proper chance at recovering instead of having little bits try to build over the micro tears in your muscles.
The other explanation would be to simply put it, a build of lactic acid in the muscles. When your body cannot produce enough oxygen to go around the body to your muscles because of the fact that you are working out a faster or more intensive rate than normal, the body immediately goes to plan be which is to help your muscles with lactic acid. The thing is that, when there is a build up of lactic acid in the muscle it creates a lot of soreness that you will feel after you’ve worked out.
There a few ways to get rid of the buildup of lactic acid. Percussion therapy is one way, graston is another. The friction that you use to treat the soft muscle tissue helps break the adhessions.
For more posts about Graston tools and IASTM click here!