Strain Counterstrain


Established in 1988 by Dr. Lawrence Jones and Randall Kusunose, PT, OCS, the Jones Institute offers post-graduate Strain Counterstrain seminars for health care professionals throughout the United States. Dr. Jones developed this innovative approach for the treatment of neuromuscular and musculo-skeletal disorders in the 1950’s. The Jones Institute is the only organization that provides instructors who are certified and authorized to teach the Strain Counterstrain technique by Dr. Jones and the Jones Institute.

How does it 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).

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.

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.

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.