Sunday, February 20, 2011

Myofascial Release - The Graston Technique

I've occasionally posted on this blog about my problems with inflexibility, and on my search for methods to treat and improve my range of motion.  Previously I wrote a post about Myofascial Release, and how it was the first method I've tried that actually produced significant results. Since then, in a discussion with my kettlebell coach, Josh Conway, I mentioned that I had problems with poor flexibility, and that I had had some success in treating it with Myofascial Release. He went on to describe a form of Myofascial Release called the Graston Technique. Jeff had had great success with this treatment, and clearly this was something worth exploring. Eventually I ended up trying it, and so far the results have been nothing less than spectacular.

To put it very simply, the Gaston Technique is Myofascial Release on steroids.  The practitioner uses metal tools to help break up the myofascial scaring that can be a cause of poor flexibility. In my case, it has become increasingly obvious that myofacsial scaring in the primary cause of my problems with inflexibility, and it also the reason why I had very little success with stretching and Active Release Technique.

A word of warning, the Gaston Technique is not for the feint of heart. My experience has been that the treatments range from extremely uncomfortable to extremely painful. My experience with the Gaston Technique is not necessarily typical, but even if it is, if you can grit your teeth for a few minutes of extreme discomfort, the long term results will probably be worth the short term pain.

If you live in the greater Boston area, and would like to try the Gaston Technique, I would like to recommend Dr. Mui of Mui Chiropractic in West Newton, MA. Using the Gaston Technique, with one treatment Dr. Mui managed to do more to improve my flexibility than everything else I've tried over the past 25+ years.

Dr. Mui's Information:
437 Cherry Street,
West Newton, MA, 02465

For Further Reading:
Your Pose Running Coach's Blog: Myofascial Release for Improved Flexibility


  1. Hi Ken,
    Great info. I just had my 2nd appointment with Dr Mui today. The first appointment reminded me of a visit to the dentist office ;) but the 2nd appointment was easier. I haven't had a chance to run yet, but hope to soon to see how I feel.

    Also, I like how Dr Mui combines the Graston technique with other rehab exercises on the vibration plate.

    My issue is that I have had lots of issues with trigger points, resulting in foot and arch pain during and after running. The Graston is supposed to help that a lot. So far, from walking around, things are feeling pretty good.

    It's also great that Josh and Dr Mui collaborate, so when I visit Gymnasium, Josh can recommend exercises that complement the Graston and structural work that Dr Mui is doing.

    I'll post an update here after I do more running and another appointment or two.

  2. Hi Keith,

    Thanks for the additional information on the treatments that Dr. Mui offers.

    My experience has been similar to yours. I've seen him four times now, and each time the pain and discomfort diminished. However,I still had to grit my teeth, and try to visualize my "happy place" in order to get through it.

    Whatever the discomfort level, the results make the pain worth it.

  3. Oops, I never posted an update, here it is. I ended up seeing Dr Mui about 8 or 9 times, and have felt great and pain free since.

    I just ran the Mattapoisett Road Race (5 miles) and had my best time ever: 6:08 minutes/mile. I have run this race every year and this is by far my best pace ever! My previous best was about 6:30 min/mile. I have to attribute a lot of my improvement to Dr Mui and the Grason because I think my muscles seem more efficient. Also, I don't get trigger points, so I can train harder and more often.

    I saw Dr. Mui for a tune up today (a day after the race), since I was a little tight in one calf. He did some more Graston, which wasn't painful at all.

    BTW, I ran the race barefoot. It felt great!

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  5. Hi Keith,

    Thanks for the update. Impressive pace for your 5 mile race!

  6. I've never heard of that technique, but it has piqued my interest!