Hey there, happy Wednesday! I have been meaning to write this post for a few weeks, but it keeps getting shifted. So for this week’s Running Coaches’ Corner with Rachel and Debbie, I’m sharing all you need to know about scraping… which is better known as the Graston Technique!
What is the Graston Technique?
Basically it’s a technique that focuses on manipulating your soft tissue so that it breaks up scar tissue… in doing so, it somewhat “injures” the area where you have scar tissue, and tells your body that it needs to deploy the army to focus on recovery for this area.
Over time, your body builds up scar tissue and it may not alert your body to an issue… and by breaking that up and bringing attention to the area, it helps your body realize there’s an issue to fix.
Why is it called scraping?
It is called scraping because of the tool that is used… see above. I wish I could get a good picture of it! It basically looks like a fancy/weird butter knife with different thicknesses that are used to break up scar tissue depending on how bad it is. Because of this, it’s like the person who does it (usually a chiropractor or a physical therapist) is ‘scraping’ the muscle.
What does Graston do?
The best benefit of Graston is the fact that it breaks up scar tissue… and alerts your body that it needs to heal that area of your muscle. Because of this, you can often heal faster. And, without scar tissue, it means that your muscles can work even better than they usually do (and for mine, this is necessary!).
Why should runners do it?
I think the Graston Technique or scraping is great for runners because we continually pound out miles on our muscles, and often times (if you are like me!), don’t take time to actually take care of our muscles. This is a great way to quickly break up the scar tissue and focus on recovery/healing the area. I think when you combine this with strength training and stretching like yoga, it can make you an even more amazing runner. (this is a lesson I am beginning to learn.)
How has it helped?
I started doing scraping a week or so before the Indianapolis Marathon… my hamstrings were feeling terrible, mostly, I think from overuse since I had just run the Golden Ultra a little over a month before that (who is sick of hearing about this?? haha). I was at my wit’s end of trying to figure out what was wrong when my friend Carla told me about this scraping thing and referred me to her friend/chiro.
I’ve gone about four times since then, and it’s been really great at helping my hamstrings recover. Since then, we’ve moved on from my hamstrings to my IT band (ouchhh) and my calves. I basically have very tight muscles all over my legs and need a lot of work. I think this is due to a lot of things… not taking care of myself (aka running all the miles and not taking a break), running my first ultra which included some crazy elevations up a mountain and immediately jumping into marathon training after that.
So, combined with my not running strategy and focus on caring for my self a lot more (stretching, epsom salt baths, etc.), it’s really helped repair my legs. My main goal is to be at a healthy point as I get ready for the Boston Marathon, and to continue to stay healthy during training.
That all being said, the one thing I will mention is that it does hurt. I feel like I have a pretty high pain tolerance and when she was working on my IT band, it almost made me cry. I had bruises on my legs within an hour of the session… so be ready for that. It only hurts for a bit and then it feels so much better. I always walk out of there feeling a million times better than when I walked in. So, if you can endure a little pain, it’s so worth it.
P.S. If you are looking for someone in Minneapolis that does Graston Technique, check out Dr. Nicole! She’s amazing.
Have you ever tried Graston Technique? What did you think?
How do you focus on muscle recovery?
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