The Gentler Side of Muscle Scraping

Graston Technique and Gua Sha generally bring up images of someone taking a blunt metal tool and painfully bruising the heck out of your muscles, but with amazingly positive results. But recently, I have been experimenting with scraping with a lot less force with also positive results.
Watching Gray Cook on his Secrets of the Hip and Knee DVD talk about his use of The Stick, he advises rolling the stick on restricted muscles gently on the affected area 20-40 times in order to achieve some release. He also says to put the muscle in a relaxed and not flexed position or else it could achieve less or negative effects.
Recently, I was having some tightness in my flexor hallucis on my left leg. I tried to calm it down using some vigorous manipulation via a TPMassage Roller, and then a Rumble Roller. I put my calf/flexor hallucis on it and rolled deeply and strongly. I even put a 35lb Kettlebell on my lap to put more weight on the calf. But it reacted negatively; my nerves fired up and then it tightened up reflexively for the rest of the next day!
Generally, Graston scraping involves only 3-6 passes at most over an affected area. A skilled practictioner can often tell how many passes to make and how much pressure to apply. By reducing the number of passes, vigorous and deep scraping can be done but without a negative reaction; instead, a positive reaction results and the muscle calms down as well as releases.
Obviously I had overdone it on my calf and flexor hallucis. But then I remembered what Gray Cook said and decided to try my metal tools in a more gentler fashion.
First I put my foot on a ledge and then pushed up on my ankle BUT I did not flex my calf muscle; I just locked out my ankle to keep my lower leg up on the ball of my foot, and I kept my muscle relaxed. Then I took my Myo-Bar Fascia Bar and gently applied pressure, stroking the muscle about 20 times. It was more like a targeted massage then anything else but nowhere near as vigorous as I did with the rollers nor what a Graston practictioner might do.
This had immediate more positive results. My muscle was much more relaxed and did not have a negative reaction to this treatment. My flexor hallucis unclenched as I worked through the knots and adhesions, smoothing out the muscle and making it functional again.
I then repeated this same thing to my forearms, which were sore from doing chin-ups, grip training, and carrying my newborn daughter around so much. I gently pressed in and moved a Myo-bar Healing Edge I along the muscle lines of my inner forearm near the elbow about 20 times. By next morning, my forearm felt much better – one area which I missed was still sore, which shows that something good had happened from this less forceful manipulation with the tool.
Interesting to see that both deep, forceful scraping can be used as well as more gentle scraping and both have their applications in restoring muscle function.
Here is a current list of muscle scraping tools available now:
Myo-bar – Myofascial tools for IASTM, Gua Sha, FAKTR, and other soft tissue therapies.
Synergy Soft Tissue – Home of the Synergy Tool.
Gua Sha – Modern Gua Sha Tools for the Rehabilitation Professional.
The FAST Technique – FAST Tools are the soft tissue mobilization tools that can take myo-fascial manipulation and mobilization to the next level in your practice.
STARR Tool – The Swiss Army Knife of IASTM tools that comes with instructions and demonstration videos.
And for those who are old school:
Gua Sha – The number one gua sha tool store.