What is SCS?
Strain and Counterstrain, originally called “positional release technique,” was developed in 1955 by an osteopathic physician named Lawrence Jones. He is one of the co-founders of the Jones Institute. In observing a skilled Strain and 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.
How Does It Work?
Strain and Counterstrain is a manual therapy technique, meaning the clinician uses only their hands, to treat muscle and joint pain and 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, muscle 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). Strain Counterstrain uses passive body positioning of spasmed muscles and fascia toward positions of comfort or ease that compress or shorten the fascia. Relaxing the fascia in this way resets the reflex loop between brain and muscle that is producing the muscle spasm. This forces an immediate reduction of tone back normal levels. The joints influenced by the now relaxed fascia can function optimally, increasing their range of motion and easing pain. Strain and Counterstrain is an effective but extremely gentle technique because it moves the patient’s body away from the painful, restricted directions of motion, not into it.
Who Can Benefit From Strain and Counterstrain?
Strain and Counterstrain has an extremely broad application for physical ailments and 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., arthritis, back pain, TMJ pain, headaches, etc.). Its value with the acute patient is unmatched because it is so gentle and non-traumatic. The therapist 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 complete recovery. The gentleness of strain and counterstrain makes it safe and effective for treating fragile patients (i.e., infants with torticollis, elderly patients with osteoporosis, stress fractures, pregnancy or pelvic pain patients, post-operative pain, etc.) and the pain associated with excessive joint motion or hyper-mobility. Strain and Counterstrain is valuable for the chronic pain patient because it will treat out longstanding neuromuscular problems reducing the tone of muscles in spasm. By diminishing the spasm, muscle pain is abated and joint function is normalized.