What is Fascial Counterstrain?

Fascial Counterstrain, initially called “Strain/Counterstrain,” was recently developed by an osteopathic physical therapist named Brian Tuckey. The original technique was developed by Lawrence Jones DO, over a 40 year period starting in 1955.  In observing a skilled Fascial Counterstrain practitioner, you will immediately be impressed with how gentle and non-traumatic this technique is for treating the painful patient. A clinician is quickly able to assess the entire body for areas of pain and dysfunction and identify the specific treatment needed to correct the dysfunction and alleviate the pain. Nearly every painful condition can benefit from this gentle technique.

How Does Fascial Counterstrain Work?

Fascial Counterstrain is a manual therapy technique, meaning the clinician uses only their hands to find and fix fascial dysfunction. Recent research has shown that nearly all painful conditions are accompanied by inflammation of the fascia. Fascia is the connective tissue that is abundant throughout the entire body. It covers all nerves, arteries, veins and internal organs of the body; in other words, fascia is everywhere throughout the human body. (Visualize biting into an orange wedge – the webbing that holds those individually wrapped pods is similar to our fascia).

Practitioners of Fascial Counterstrain (usually specially trained physical therapists) look for very specific “tender points” on the body that tell which particular fascial structure is involved, similar to how a road map tells you which roads lead to where. The physical therapist will then shorten the particular fascial structure manually until they feel a “pulsing” at the tender point associated with that fascial structure. This position is held for 30 seconds, and when the therapist releases the shortened tissue, the nerve ending and smooth muscle in the fascia are “reset,” therefore stopping the inflammation and spasm in that area of fascia. There are nearly 700 fascial “tender points” in the human body, and the number of tender points that need to be treated varies between individuals, depending on the severity of the problem.Fascia is filled with millions of nerve endings (as well as smooth muscle cells) so that it can contract if injured or traumatized. When there is sufficient trauma or strain to an area (like a quick, unexpected stretch, strain, prolonged bad posture, surgery, or a direct blow), the smooth muscle in the fascia contracts (tightens), and the nerve endings start producing inflammatory chemicals.

Fascial Counterstrain treats the most fundamental aspect of nearly every painful condition. It allows the body to start to heal, and usually a few simple exercises can help prevent the fascial dysfunction, inflammation, spasm, and pain from returning.

Fascial Counterstrain has an exceptionally broad application for physical ailments. It can be used for the very acute traumas (i.e. sports injuries, motor vehicle accidents, ankle sprains, post-surgical, etc.) to the more chronic (i.e. osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, TMJ pain, headaches, etc.). Its value with the acute patient is unmatched because it is so gentle and non-traumatic. The clinician is guided by what feels good to the patient and often dramatic changes are made in decreased pain, muscle guarding, and swelling. These changes facilitate the patient’s healing processes for a faster and more complete recovery. The gentleness of Fascial Counterstrain makes it safe and effective for treating fragile patients (i.e., infants with torticollis, elderly patients with osteoporosis, arthritis, stress fractures, pregnancy or pelvic pain patients, post-operative pain, etc.) and the pain associated with excessive joint motion or hyper-mobility. Fascial Counterstrain is valuable for the chronic pain patient because it addresses long-standing neuromuscular problems by reducing inflammation and relaxing muscle spasm.

Fascial Counterstrain is a non-traumatic manual therapy technique that can be used on a large population of musculoskeletal pain patients. If you can benefit from this technique, search for a clinician who has attended Jones Institute Counterstraincourses. In the Chicagoland area, only ARC Physical Therapy has practitioners certified in this natural and painless treatment technique, and all of our professional staff receive one-on-one clinical training to perfect their skill in performing Fascial Counterstrain.

Call us now to schedule a no obligation, free consultation to determine if Fascial Counterstrain is appropriate for you, or fill in the free consultation form at the right and we will contact you to schedule an appointment with one of our skilled licensed physical therapists.

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Our Happy Patients

I have had physical therapy in the past but I have never had the Fascial Counterstrain techniques used until I went to ARC. My PT, Alison Brown Ferguson’s expertise with evaluating the exact problem areas and using the Counterstrain techniques has allowed me to regain physical function and greatly decreased my pain. I strongly recommend ARC and Alison to anyone in need of physical therapy treatment.

John Doe

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