What is "Counterstrain"?
Counterstrain is a gentle, passive, hands-on technique that is able to treat pain and have powerful, long lasting affect on a wide variety of injuries and chronic issues. It is capable of the normalization of inappropriate reflexes (or tone) stemming from our deep fascia which surrounds muscles, joints, veins, arteries, nerves, organs, the spinal cord and brain.
Dysfunction in this vital web of connective tissue has the potential to negatively impact all aspects of health, including our ability to move, breathe, digest and ward off disease.
How does it work?
Sensitive receptors in all deep fascia connect through the spinal cord to both smooth muscle and skeletal muscle, so that activation of a protective reflex will tighten the fascia itself but also recruit the musculo-skeletal system to provide protective splinting or bracing around the area. When we find muscle spasms and areas of tenderness we are locating these protective reflexes that are no longer helpful and through careful diagnosis decide if they are caused by the muscle itself or from the fascia that surrounds any of the other vital systems of the body.
Once diagnosed, the treatment aims to shorten the effected tissue until the reflex is relaxed or normalized. This is done often with a gentle but very specific tissue glide or through positions that shorten the fascia and its receptors. This has the result of immediately improving the tissue function but also of relaxing the protective musculo-skeletal tightening, thereby reducing pain and restoring mobility.