Gets your body to allow repair, recovery, and relief by bringing it back to a functional state.
Fascial Counterstrain is a revolutionary method of fascia release that gently works with your body’s natural spasm response to injury and quickly guides tissues back to a relaxed state and self-repair.
What the heck is fascia? Fascia is a clear to white-colored connective tissue that surrounds every single structure in the body. We’re talking muscles, individual muscle fibers, nerves, bones, organs, and even arteries! A friend of ours said that when she was in medical school doing dissection labs, if students couldn’t figure out what kind of tissue they were looking at, they would jokingly say: “Must be fascia!” They could have easily been right many times…
This video of fascia in the human body is an excerpt from a longer video called “Strolling Under the Skin” by Dr. Jean-Claude Guimberteau. In the linked video below, captions describe the fascinating elements of what you are seeing. It IS safe for viewing at work.
What is Fascial Counterstrain (FCS)?
Fascial Counterstrain (FCS) is a hands-on therapy that releases and unwinds overly-tight connective tissue to reduce pain and stiffness, and re-initiates proper functioning of the body and its different systems. FCS respects the body’s innate ability to keep pushing on through dysfunction, even with multiple layers of physical trauma. Acknowledging this, Fascial Counterstrain practitioners are focused on properly identifying adverse tissue restrictions and gently and effectively unwinding them to guide the body into a new, optimal environment of function and health.
Tissues spasm as a reaction to traumas such as injury and repetitive stresses. This reflexive spasming is a protective measure of the body: it splints an injured area to prevent further damage to tissues, joints, bones, and organs. We are often made aware of this spasm through the feeling of pain. Once the initial spasm event occurs, the resultant tissue tightness can linger, raising the potential for tightness to extend away from the source area. This spreading of spasm through connected tissue manifests as numerous points of pain, called “tender points”. You can probably find a few of these tender points on yourself by poking around a bit.
When in persistent spasm, tissues cannot function optimally, making prolonged tissue spasm one of the most common sources of pain and dysfunction. The strength of the FCS method is that it can release the spasming source tissue and the associated tender points, alleviating pain and restoring functionality.
FCS achieves tissue release by taking the strain off of the injured structure. The tissue release happens as a result of pressure oriented in a direction opposite to the strain in the spasming tissue. This compression in the opposite direction, into the spasm itself, acts as a “counterstrain” that actually causes the spasming tissue to relax. The affected structure, whether it’s a muscle, nerve, vein, artery, bone, or organ will return to a more uncompressed and functional state with each release.
What does a session feel like?
Fascial Counterstrain is gentle and painless. Simply come wearing comfortable clothing. After your initial conversation about your issue and injury history, Raoul will do what’s called a Cranial Scan with his hands. He will be feeling for places on your head that feel restricted. You will quickly start to notice that there is a correlation between what Raoul feels as a restricted point and what feels like a point of tenderness to you. These tender points act like a map for an FCS practitioner to know where there is a fascial restriction elsewhere in the body. Tender points can relate to fascia constricting or warping anything from muscles, joints, nerves, the spinal cord, veins and arteries, organs, and bones.
Once Raoul has completed the cranial scan, he will start working to release zones and points of tight fascia in the specific areas of your body associated with the cranial tender points he has identified. These points will also feel tender to you at first. Raoul will then help you position your arm, leg, head, or torso in a way that will allow his gentle pressure to encourage the body to release the fascial restriction. As you rest in the position for around 10 to 45 seconds, Raoul will be checking the tenderness of the tender point location. As he works, you will feel the tender point melt away and lose its pain and sensitivity. This is an indication that the fascia has released and is no longer sending pain signals to and from that point. Raoul will then move on to the next tender point location.
Origins of Fascial Counterstrain
Fascial Counterstrain (FCS) was developed by board certified orthopedic specialist, Brian Tuckey PT, OCS, JSCCI. Mr. Tuckey is unique in the field of manual therapy with the experience of 28 years as a physical therapist, and with the distinction of being one of only four physical therapists in the world certified to teach the precursor to FCS, Strain and Counterstrain Technique (SCS) – also called “Classic Counterstrain”, developed by Lawrence Jones D.O.
The primary distinction between Fascial Counterstrain (FCS) and Strain and Counterstrain (SCS) is that FCS expanded identification and treatment of tissue dysfunction to all systems of the body, whereas SCS addressed just the musculoskeletal system.