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Counterstrain is the manual therapy technique that is taking us into the digital age. With it, we can listen to the body and let it tell us where dysfunction lies and go straight to that area and fix it with a beautifully simple technique. With Counterstrain, the body’s innate wisdom tells us where to go. There is no guessing. I don't need to speak your language, you don't need to tell me what's wrong, I can motion test your cranial bones to learn where your body needs restoration of function.
How does dysfunction happen in the body? Our nervous systems have a specific department that deals with protection from harm. This protective function resides within the type III and type IV sensory nerves that are able to sense when a tissue is in danger and send a message to the fascia surrounding that structure to reflexively spasm. There is also a message sent through the spinal cord to hijack any muscle nearby to splint whatever tissue is in danger. This includes every tissue in the body, from nerves and arteries, to muscles and organs.
How does dysfunction present itself? What if I were to wear a pair of jeans that are 2 sizes to small. Nothing wrong with my legs, but it would be very difficult to walk and to bend my legs, right? This is what happens to an artery that is being protected. It loses its function because it is being squeezed on by the fascia surrounding it that is called the tunica adventitia. If it is being squeezed, it is not allowing blood to flow normally. If a muscle is involved in protecting that artery, you can experience changes in range of motion, posture, and even pain. You can imagine how this might be perceived as disease or pathology, when instead it is simple dysfunction.
Dysfunction is when things are not functioning normally. It is as simple as that. The best way to achieve normal function again is to tell the body that whatever tissue is experiencing a protective spasm is no longer in danger. We can achieve this by relaxing the tension in fascia surrounding the offended tissue. When we do this, it effectively shuts of the nervous system’s message to protect. It is that simple and it happens very quickly.
Many patients have had dysfunction in their bodies for years, and others come straight from the garden where they tweaked their lower back from pulling out blackberry bushes. The shut down of the reflexive spasm happens just as quickly for both. However, when you have had years of dysfunction, there are often long chains of dysfunction in the body that need to be released. One area of dysfunction can “pull” on another and cause a chain-like reaction. Luckily, we can find these chains and release them all together.
Counterstrain is an emerging technique that was developed originally by Dr. Lawrence Jones in the 1950’s. It wasn’t until his student, Brian Tuckey, PT, JSCCI started to apply the Strain Counterstain technique to the fascia surrounding the organs that the modern “digital age” of Counterstrain was born. Now, Counterstrain is applied to every tissue in the body and has over 2,000 tender points. Thankfully, Brian developed a cranial scan, whereby the dysfunction can be mapped out over the bones of the skull. A motion palpation of these bones reveals the areas of dysfunction: where (head, torso, right leg, and so on) and in what system (nervous, arterial, lymphatic, venous, visceral, musculoskeletal or ligementous). Currently, there are over 2,000 tender points.
Dr. Christy in an instructor for the Counterstrain Academy and is a teaching assistant for Jones Institute courses.
She received her training from Timothy Hodges, LMT, JSCCI (2.5 yr internship program) and from Jones Institute courses.