Muscle Scraping: Before & After (Graston Technique)

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With the Graston Technique getting a lot of hype in the health and fitness industry for its many benefits, it’s no surprise that many people are curious about it. 

There’s a ton of pictures floating around social media where people are showing how bruised up they are after a muscle scraping session, but also saying how much looser they are after treatment versus before. 

So, what does muscle scraping really look like before and after your treatment?

In this article, we’ll explore what to expect for your Graston Technique treatment, how to prep for it, recovery after a session, and some examples of real people who’ve gone through this and what they have to say about it.

Let’s jump in!

What To Expect Before Graston Technique

Now that you know you can use muscle scraping and enjoy its benefits, let’s talk about what to expect before you jump into treatment. 

There’s not much you have to do in terms of prepping for a session — just make sure your skin is clean…it can be uncomfortable (even painful) to scrape a tool over dirty or grimy skin. 

If you’re going into a physical therapy clinic or seeing another muscle scraping provider rather than doing it yourself, you can expect:

  • An Explanation — The provider should explain things like how much pain is normal, how they’ll be muscle scraping you, what tools they’ll use, etc.
  • Different Types Of Tools — There are many different types of tools out there (I prefer these muscle scraping tools), and depending on what area you’re working on, your provide might use a couple different sizes and shapes.
  • An Examination — Your provider will most likely take a couple of measurements or see how your affected body part is moving to get a baseline of where you’re at before muscle scraping.

Real Example Of Before Graston Technique

The example I’m going to show you here is performed by Dr. Edward McLaughlin from McLaughlin Chiropractic, who made a video working with someone who was in a car accident.

This patient is struggling with neck pain, and has had issues with poor posture from years of desk-work and playing the guitar.

So, before they get into treatment, they do some testing and discussing to see what the patient’s baseline is, which will help to see if the muscle scraping actually works. 

Here’s a look at what the patient’s skin looks like before muscle scraping, with some light redness showing up where the provider did some massage:

Before Muscle Scraping

As you can see, the skin is still clear here — although that changes dramatically real soon, along with how he’s feeling…

What To Expect After Graston Technique

People are very unique, which means that we could all respond differently to muscle scraping. 

However, there are usually a couple of things everyone can expect:

  • Bruising — This is totally normal, and can last for several days after muscle scraping. Some people (like our example later) can get some pretty crazy bruises.
  • Redness — Along with bruising, redness is completely normal and expected. Depending on your skin and the intensity of the session, you might get either a little or a lot of redness from the blood rushing to your skin. 
  • Soreness — This will feel similar to muscle soreness, and can last up to a couple days after a session. 

These things tend to show up in everyone that does Graston Technique or one of the other types of muscle scraping.

However, these things show up in different intensities — I, for example, may have very little soreness after a session, whereas you might have tighter muscles or a more focused session that gives you a little more intense or longer-lasting soreness.

Before & After Muscle Scraping: A Real Example

Going back to that example we just used, the patient went through a muscle scraping session for his entire back and shoulders.

Here’s what he looked like after:

After Muscle Scraping

That’s a pretty drastic before and after…

However, with this drastic change in what the skin looks like, the patient also had an interesting thing to say about how he was feeling after treatment. 

“I feel way more loosened up than I have in years.”1https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F55TpoQZSeg

This is very common — the pictures look like you should be dying in pain, but the truth is you should actually feel good!

And the example we used is someone who has been struggling with tight muscles and pain for years, with a neck injury after a car crash — the fact that muscle scraping helped him out this quick is good news for all of us!

Since muscle scraping is safe and effective, the visual before and after is less important — you should focus on how your body feels rather than what it looks like after treatment. 

Is Graston Technique Right For You?

There are a ton of people who can benefit from muscle scraping, and many different people take advantage of it.

Athletes and bodybuilders are a prime example of people that use the Graston Technique, often from professionals, but also by doing it on themselves!

I also see a lot of people get benefits out of it when dealing with injuries or different conditions like plantar fasciitis

Basically, anyone who wants to relax their muscles, decrease their pain, help their body recover, and deal with certain injuries can get into muscle scraping!

Conclusion

Muscle scraping, including the Graston Technique, can have some pretty intense before and after pictures.

The redness and bruising make it seem that it causes pain, and makes many people nervous about what to expect. 

The truth is, the crazy differences in what your body looks like after muscle scraping is just a by-product of the awesome results that it can have for you, as shown by our example. 

Expect some redness and soreness, but listen to how your body responds — then you’ll get the most benefit out of your muscle scraping experience!

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Eric Richter

I'm Eric, a physiotherapist with a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and a Master’s degree in Physiotherapy from the University Of Manitoba. I have enjoyed the better part of a decade working with both amateur and professional athletes, weekend warriors, everyday people, and patients at hospitals to help them take control of their pain and reach their health goals.

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