News

Strain-Counterstrain

4 June 2019

Here's a great insight into the primary technique (Strain-Counterstrain) we use at AAP from one of its current day innovators, Timothy Hodges, and how it's progressed from treating 'just muscles' to all systems now...

"It's not really a straining event at all. There is some logic behind Dr. Jones, who is the original innovator of strain/counterstrain in the 50s and 60s, his logic behind that name goes back to his understanding of this being a muscular reflex. He later altered that, he no longer believed this was purely a muscular reflex but also a spinal reflex arc, but he wasn't totally sure what tissues were involved. He believed that the body had suffered a strain, and so he was going to apply a counterstrain to reverse this process. Which literally meant he just took the body out of a strained position which doesn't sound as threatening as the name. It's always been a very gentle technique. We used primarily body positions for the longest time. It's only recently we started with this connective tissue, which requires a fascial glide to reverse the tighter spastic tissue. It is not a painful process, and the process is soothing because we take the body into a position or a direction that it is already capable of doing. If you could imagine a tight hamstring, a lot of people suffer from tight hamstrings. If you were to apply a direct technique to a tight hamstring, you would stretch it, which makes sense. You would lengthen it, so you would put it into a long position and try to further elongate the tissue. The body on the other hand, interprets that as a threat. If you had a tight hamstring and you went to directly engage this tissue that is tight, it would ramp up this protective reflex mechanisms in the body and actually create a layer of protection. The way you feel that is that your body fights it; most people who have this experience know that when you try to stretch your hamstring, it just typically fights back. And you don't typically get that far with it.

In our world, we look at what is leading to the tight hamstring, we don't see the tight hamstring as the problem. We look at it as the solution to what the body thought was necessary to protect itself. We wouldn't stretch it at all. We'd probably shorten it, and see if the problem was nerve-based. Is it an organ based problem? Is there a vasculature dysfunction in the venous tissues that are preventing the hamstring from stretching. Is there a vascular problem in the arterial tissue that is creating a problem from stretching? And the body will answer in the affirmative when we locate the tissue that is actually causing that problem. So symptoms that create the symptoms are two totally different things. Most people think their pain is their problem, and we in our experience find that it is just not the case. Pain is a symptom. Treating the pain is really kind of a dead end. You must be able to find the source of it. What we have come across in the last 8 -10 years is we found the source that creates all these things."

Strain-Counterstrain

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