Strain-Counterstrain for the Nervous System

Strain-counterstrain is a revolutionary technique developed by Dr. Lawrence Jones DO, that uses the connective fascia tissue and an understanding of tender points to relieve pain and increase range of motion. This technique can be used to treat dysfunction in any soft tissue, including the nervous system. The nervous system is essential in maintaining homeostasis because it regulates pain perception and sensory perception in the body, as well as movement, digestion, blood flow, thinking, emotions, and perception of where the body is in space. By decompressing a given tender point a therapist maintains a patient in a pain-free position for 30-45 seconds. This opens the valves of the veins and lymph vessels surrounding the nerves in the area, reducing swelling around the nerves. Brain Tuckey (PT, OCS, JSCCI) pioneered the use of fascial counterstrain for the nervous system based on the theory that if counterstrain worked on other types of fascia, it would also work on the fascia surrounding nerves.

Tuckey found strain-counterstrain to be effective in treating problems of the nervous system including carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic headaches, chronic regional pain syndrome (CRPS) and even idiopathic (unknown cause) peripheral neuropathy, as well as in pinched nerves and the relief of the feeling of numbness. The reason for this interconnectivity between tender points and the deep fascia is based in what Tuckey describes as a protective cocoon that can sense and respond to strain applied to fragile internal structures such as organs, nerves, and blood and lymph vessels. Stress on the fascia surrounding these structures can “call in” a protective response from the muscle system to avoid damage. This level of connectivity may not rise to the level of consciousness, instead manifesting in involuntary muscle spasms or contractions. Even more subtly, an inflamed nerve can change a joint’s resting position by increasing the tone of skeletal or smooth muscle or creating weakness through pain inhibition, neural compression, or skeletal muscle reciprocal inhibition.

When traditional strain techniques are used on tender points that are not responding, this new method of counterstrain resulted in an immediate response in which the surrounding tissue relaxed and a faint “therapeutic pulse” or vascular release could be felt in the surrounding tissue. Both strain and counterstrain techniques together are effective tools at limiting and managing chronic pain. The strain-counterstrain approach allows practitioners to identify and treat the true source of pain or disability. Ask your therapist how we can use this groundbreaking technique to help you and your loved ones.

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Valve Exercises


1. DJ V
Valve (Duodenum/ Jejenum)
: DJ is left sided.

-Lying on back with knees bent, move knees 2” toward right.

-3 finger widths in an upward 45 degree diagonal on left is sphincter. Next put 3

fingers of right hand over that spot and help with left hand over right and push

inward toward spine and then move counterclockwise (CCW) ⅛”.

2. IC Valve (iliocecal Valve): IC is right sided.

-knees bent and move 2” left

-find the spot between belly button(BB) and corner of pelvis and draw a line. Go

⅓ of way from inside corner of pelvis up that line and that is the spot of the

-Now put 3 fingers on that spot. Push down and turn CCW ⅛”.

-Do 1 minute

-Do 3 times a week.

3. GES (gastroesophageal valve) is left sided between esophagus and stomach. (Do 3 times per week if you have digestive problems.)

-Find the “V” of bottom part of rib cage and put 3 fingers over it.

-Knees bent and move knees to right 2”

-Push 3 fingers downward toward spine and turn CCW for 1 minute.

4. Pyloric Valve (between stomach and intestines): is left sided.

-bend knees and move them 2”toward right.

-Find BB and go 4-5 finger widths directly upward toward head from the BB and

the valve is here.

-Put 3 fingers of the right hand over that spot and then put left hand over right to

help and push downward toward the spine and turn fingers CCW ⅛”.

-Do this for 1 minute.


Do these exercises 3 times a week. These areas could be flared up from certain foods. If you have pains do the exercise to clear it up.


  1. Sphincter of Oddi is a right sided valve.

-Lying on back with knees bent, move knees 2” toward left.

-3 finger widths in an upward 45 degree diagonal on right is the sphincter. Put the

pads of 3 fingers over that spot. (The sphincter is only the size of a dime or


-Next push inward toward spine and CCW ⅛”.

-Do this for 1 minute.

-Do up to 3 times a week for digestive problems or do if you have right shoulder

blade or upper traps pain.


6. Upper gastroesophageal(UES) can either be right or left sided. This is for acid reflux.

-You will move your knees 2” of opposite side of problem.

– Head on 1-2 pillows.

-Right arm is bent at elbow and back of hand is propped on pillow.

-With left hand grab windpipe/esophagus area and gently pull downward toward


-Do this for 1 minute.


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Are your headaches not getting better?

Headache treatment at Synergy.

Headache treatment at Synergy.

I thought you might find it interesting to know how we specifically look at headache management. Synergy is known for treating patients with complex headache issues, and you might not know that.  These are the main areas we look at: history of falls, trauma/injuries throughout the whole body, nutrition (food sensitivities),  sleep, sleep postures, birth history, positional and occupational habits and recreational and hobby postures.

When treating headaches that are not cranial-trauma induced, it is necessary to take into account posture when sitting, standing and in supine.  A person’s posture is developed from habit, occupational and recreational repetitive activities, emotional strain, and injuries. So determining the history of falls, especially hard falls on the coccyx, sacrum or ischial tuberosities is very important.   The reason whysuboccipital muscles this information is useful is the nature of the pelvis, vertebral column, and base of the skull. Falls can lead to pubic bone, sacroiliac, and lumbosacral joint problems. The tendinous insertion problems can result in asymmetries that then lead to imbalanced muscle firing. This imbalance in muscular firing can wreak havoc throughout the spine.


Imagine it happening to the tiny muscles up through the spine. These muscles have the capacity to shift and change over and over throughout the day and night.  Studies show that they fire before any motion actually happens in preparation to protect the spine, however if a few of them are in the contracted short or elongated position,  other muscles will have to accommodate for them. This is generally not a problem, but what if they can’t accommodate anymore? Such as in permanent arthritic changes, surgery, disc damage, or a whiplash injury.


It then becomes imperative to give the body as much accommodation as possible in the available structures. Problems low down can contribute to headaches and pain syndromes along with myriad other complaints.

So how we treat is not as important as why we treat the way we do.  What is the rationale for the process that we use?
1.Removing edema and improving venous drainage through lymphatic drainage therapy, manual lymphatic massage, strain counterstrain venous/lymphatic  techniques, or total body balancing  (old Osteopathic global body treatment)  is generally the first approach.  We have many techniques to improve fluidic flow through the thoracic inlet.
2. Bone and ligament restrictions need to be addressed. We also check for spring in the rib cage. If that entire area is rigid and fixed, it can lead to all sorts of mischief.
3.  Next, we look at muscular and fascial restriction.   Whatever cervical musculature is in spasm can be relieved through lymphatic techniques, myofascial release or strain counterstrain.
4. We can determine specific arteries, veins, or nerves that are causing dysfunction and free them up.

Motion is first priority, then alignment through structural mobilization and then finally
strengthening with the body in a balanced position.

Once the pelvis, thoracic and cervical spine influences to the cranium have been reduced, I will utilize craniosacral therapy techniques to specifically mobilize local structures that continue to be drivers of the pain/symptoms.  These techniques are best suited to patients with post concussive syndrome, traumatic brain injury, vertigo, trigeminal neuralgia, Bell’s palsy, vision and auditory problems, (structurally based) birth trauma including colic, torticollis (jugular foramen compression) and myriad other specific cranial issues.

Lastly, I utilize progressive relaxation techniques to teach patients how to let go of muscle tension that they might not be aware of and review postures that might be contributing to maintaining dysfunctional patterns.

Vitality, mobility and position are the tenants of the clinic. Hope you enjoyed the leisurely walk through my thinking process.  

Sometimes a headache isn’t just a headache.


If you would like to read the full version the link is here. Link here to an article we sent to doctors.


Shauna upside down and out of the box




Shauna Burchett OTR/L owner






Give us a call at 509. 413. 1630 or leave your contact information  and we will get back to you!

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Strain Counterstrain for Chronic Pain

This article was send from the Jones institute in April 2014 and written by an instructor that we have come to respect- Brian Tuckey PT, OCS, JSCCI.  We thought you might enjoy it.
Fascial Counterstrain for Chronic Lumbo-Pelvic Pain

Case study – “Liz” -Testimonial :“I had been in severe pain for 6 months prior to seeing Brian. I had been to 8 different doctors including two chiropractors, a physical therapist, two orthopedic physicians and a pain management doctor. I had seventy appointments (treatments) throughout the six months trying to figure out what was wrong with me and to just get temporary pain relief. No traditional doctor could find anything wrong. After the first visit with Brian I received an immense amount of pain relief. I walked out of his office so emotional and happy because I just knew that this man knew what he was doing. His sense and knowledge of the human body and how everything works together is truly amazing. Now after just ten visits with Brian (Fascial Counterstrain,) I’m a happy, smiling, active and pain free 28 year old woman…”

History: 28 year old white female runner, who after experiencing months of left groin and pelvic discomfort while exercising, awoke following intercourse, with severe debilitating pain.

Symptoms: Liz’s symptoms included left lumbosacral, groin and lower extremity pain extending as far as the left foot. Her pain was described as constant, rated 5-10/10 based on attempted activity level. She also reported the presence of a “cyst” like structure on her left hip that appeared sometime following the onset of her hip pain. Lastly, her left foot frequently turned “purple” and would throb causing resting discomfort and sleep disturbance.

Function: Pain limited her ability to walk, sit prolonged, sleep, participate in sexual activity and sleep undisturbed. She was also unable to participate in any recreational activities.

Evaluation: Left hip AROM was 50% limited in abduction and extension due to groin pain. Palpation demonstrated significant dysfunction present in the arterial, neural and lymphatic systems with the majority of the dysfunction identified in the left lower extremity and lumbo-pelvic region.

First Treatment: Fascial Counterstrain (FCS) was performed to the left uterine artery, rectal artery, superior / inferior mesenteric arteries, and the Obturator nerve. She experienced 2 days of complete pain relief until seeing her chiropractor for the last time, who aggravated her pain resulting in her reporting a net 70% improvement after the initial FCS treatment. She also reported that the frequency of her feet turning purple had significantly decreased.

Subsequent treatments: The next five sessions focused on alleviating the remaining dysfunction in her body including a number of lymphatic tender points identified in the left hip and lower extremity. Soon after, Liz reported that the “cyst” in her left hip had disappeared. Following the 5th session she was fully recovered & discharged from care for her lower quarter (original complaint.) Later, an additional 5 sessions of FCS were performed to address unrelated cervico-thoracic and cranial dysfunction.

This case study emphasizes the fact that training in Fascial Counterstrain will allow you to identify and correct not only musculoskeletal, but also, non- musculoskeletal pain syndromes.

-Brian Tuckey PT, OCS, JSCCI



Synergy Healthcare in Spokane has one Occupational therapy  and four Physical therapy clinicians who utilize strain counterstrain and have training from this teacher, Arch Harrison PTA is certified and Becky Clark PT has taken almost every course available through the Jones institute.






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Strain Counterstrain for Headaches & Sinus Problems


Sinus pressure, facial pain, sinus congestion, and headaches are patient complaints that we hear every week. Patients with these symptoms can be treated with a counterstrain approach that helps the health of the sinuses. The sinuses can be treated by treating the 4 cranial bones around the sinuses. Some of the bones in the face move forward and back or rotate in and out in what’s called a Cranial Rhythm. Counterstrain treatment improves the motion of the bones to create a pumping motion that vents or opens up the sinuses to keep them clear. Venous and lymphatic drainage is also helped by this pumping action and is important for the health of these tissues.

The treatment program also includes treatment to dysfunctional neck and upper back vertebrae’s that excite the sympathetics to the sinuses promoting improved health by increasing cranial arterial flow and lymphatic drainage.

We can release or mobilize bones in the head by using specific techniques to drain congested sinuses. Also new are techniques for the cranial, venous, lymphatic and arterial system. These techniques will relieve  sinus headaches, congestion and pain secondary to previous facial trauma, car accidents and infections. Colds and allergies effect the sinuses but severity of symptoms can be lessened when improved function is present.


Synergy Healthcare offers physical therapy and occupational therapy in Spokane Valley, WA. Our highly trained therapists are ready to get you back on track fast! We try to prepare helpful articles that can help enrich your life. Have a question you want answered? Email us at or call at 509-413-1630 for more information. Comment below or give us a shout-out on Facebook– we love to hear whats on your mind!

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