A few days ago, I came across a video on Graston technique or the more popular acronym used nowadays, IASTM (instrument assisted soft tissue mobilisation) therapy. Some of the patients were laughing and others were screaming in pain.
I was reminded of the Gua Sha technique used in traditional Chinese medicine, although with this technique, less force is induced on the patient. Both of them used the same concept of “scraping” the skin to break down the fascia and scar tissues so that the circulation of oxygen and blood flow ensued, decreasing inflammation on the affected area thus promoting healing. It gets rid of pain and tightness on the affected area and patients will usually feel lighter after the treatment. It is a highly effective treatment and the results are immediate even though I suspect that it is not easy for beginners to feel out the affected area with the tools used, it will be much easier to feel it with direct touch.
The concept is the same as massage whereby firstly, you have a feel of where the ‘knots’ are and you apply pressure to release these ‘knots’ usually with the help of carrier oils or lotions to lubricate the skin and makes it easier and less painful for the patient. Always practise moderation and gauge the intensity in accordance to how the patients feel.
I highly recommend these alternatives especially for athletes. These therapies attack the problem at the core unlike painkillers which only hides/suppresses the pain. We know popping pills is the most convenient way to get rid of the pain fast but in the long run, your body will suffer its consequences. Educate yourself about your body, find the source of the pain and the different therapies there are available, with the ease of search engines (google it), you can always find a therapist nearby. Always remember, mobility is essential in achieving a better body so please don’t take shortcuts, it will be detrimental in the long run. On that note, if you have experience with other types of massage therapies, share with us your favourite pain relief methods so we might test it out for ourselves.