Strain Counterstrain Physical Therapy

Gentle Treatment.
Immediate Relief.

Strain Counterstrain Physical Therapy offers gentle and precise relief for ongoing pain or neuropathy. Patients who have experienced this hard-to-find therapy report immense relief after only one or two treatment sessions.

Extremely Powerful. No Side-effects.

Strain Counterstrain helps treat both new and long-term injuries and can release tension, improve joint movement and range of motion, strengthen weak areas of the body, increase blood and lymph flow, and improve nerve function. Strain Counterstrain has no side effects and can treat many different body systems. This method lays the groundwork for rehabilitation of any painful condition.

Immediate Relief so that You Can Rebuild

Unlike other treatment modalities that manipulate a muscle or set of tissues into a new position, Strain Counterstrain allows your skeletal muscles, smooth muscles, and deep fascial tissues to relax on their own and at their own pace.
This at-its-own-pace relaxation enables these muscles to signal to the brain that “all is well.” In turn, your brain ceases to send signals of pain or contraction. The cessation of these signals leads to swift relief from pain. When your pain is relieved and your body receives signals of normalcy, you can rebuild proper movement patterns and return to doing what you love.
Most Strain Counterstrain patients report relief after only a few sessions. At Synergy Physical Therapy, we build on this relief to help maximize functionality and rebuild strength.

“My left knee was swelled up and I was in a lot of pain when I arrived for my first session. After doing my exercises at Synergy and at home, the pain left and the swelling disappeared. After the three sessions, my knee is normal and flexibility in my body has greatly improved.  I do the daily exercises recommended. I highly recommend Synergy.”


I was referred to Synergy by my chiropractor, and I first saw Chuck Depner, who did the strain-counterstrain physical therapy method and helped me relieve the tenseness held in my upper body. Today I feel 90% better than I did when I first walked into Synergy – my symptoms are minimal and I am confident that my recovery will be complete.

I cannot express the gratitude I feel for my therapists and how they have helped me get back to my normal, energetic self. Their knowledge, kindness, guidance and encouragement have been tremendous. Synergy is an amazingly welcoming place. I feel that the entire staff cares about me and my well-being. I am infinitely thankful to have found Synergy and I would highly recommend the clinic.

– JH

Let’s Talk

Book a discovery call with a Synergy physical therapist today. We’ll discuss your challenge and take an honest look at your options. No referral needed, and no strings attached.

What is Strain Counterstrain Physical Therapy (aka Fascial Counterstrain)

Strain counterstrain (also called fascial counterstrain) is a gentle technique that begins with diagnostic tender points throughout the body. These tender points identify painful reflexively-protected and contracted tissues. Your body reflexively contracts around tissues, deep fascia layers, skeletal muscle tissues, or smooth muscle structures when any of these systems are in pain, challenged, or compromised. This response is your body trying to protect you by “holding” the tissues surrounding a compromised area to protect that area, even without your knowledge. Unfortunately, when this kind of contraction is present long-term, it can contribute to complications.

A strain counterstrain practitioner is trained to seek out these tender points throughout the body, which guides them to understand where your body may be reflexively contracting around tissues. They then remove these reflexive contractions, using a gentle hands-on process of decompressing all the involved muscles, smooth muscles, and fascial tissues. The treatment is extremely gentle, exact, and painless.

How Strain Counterstrain Physical Therapy Works

Research conducted by Irwin Korr in the 1970s is still helpful today in explaining why the Strain-Counterstrain technique works so well. When a muscle experiences a trauma that causes it to over-stretch, its spindles (sensory receptors within the muscle that primarily detect changes in the length) contract to protect the muscle tissue; as a result, the muscle can become trapped in a shortened position. This shortened position may be somewhat functional, painful, and irritating.
A physical therapist experienced in strain counterstrain technique will focus on the specific tender points associated with each joint and muscle to find the trapped structures. Then, the therapist releases painful, reflexive tissue contractions from the body via a gentle hands-on process of slackening or decompressing the involved systems. They’ll help ease the damaged muscle by holding the body in a specified position, allowing the muscle to return to the status quo.

Once a muscle is relaxed and shortened, it sends signals to the central nervous system, “Hey, things are OK here; we’re back to normal, nothing to worry about….” After that message has been received, the central nervous system resumes normal functioning because it’s under the assumption that it no longer needs to spasm to protect itself from any excessive feedback that it was previously receiving.
As a result, the body begins to function the way it was initially intended and, thus, heals itself. Relief and restoration are immediate, and many patients report lasting relief of chronic conditions after only one or two treatment sessions—a testament to how Counterstrain works. Strain Counterstrain quickly restores normal functioning, allowing patients to rebuild their capacity for pain-free movement.

Conditions Treated by Strain Counterstrain Physical Therapy

  1. Chronic edema
  2. Torticollis in infants
  3. Osteoporosis,
  4. Stress fractures
  5. Pregnancy pain
  6. Postoperative pain,
  7. Pelvic Pain
  8. Digestive dysfunctions
  9. Neuropathy
  10. Endocrine dysfunctions
  11. Migraine headaches
  12. Non-migraine headaches
  1. Visual disturbances
  2. Tachycardia
  3. CRPS
  4. Peripheral arterial disease
  5. Balance disorders
  6. Seizures
  7. Tinnitus
  8. Depression
  9. Impaired immune system functions
  10. Fibromyalgia and other systemic conditions
  11. Musculoskeletal conditions in all regions

What to Expect

Using their hands, the physical therapist will find the tight muscle or fascia, either by feeling a spasm in the muscle or by finding tender points in the patient. During treatment, your clinician will hold your body in specific positions for at least 90 seconds. The purpose of holding each position is to wait for the muscles to relax on their own rather than implementing a more active therapy model. When the muscles relax on their own, they send valuable signals to the brain that all is well. The brain stops sending pain signals or contraction commands once it receives these signals from the relaxing muscle. Thus, allowing your body to release at its own pace dramatically improves the effectiveness of this therapy.

Is Strain Counterstrain Physical Therapy Effective?

Yes! Studies have shown that Strain Counterstrain Physical Therapy is effective for ankle instability and sprians, hip tenderness, plantar fasciitis pain, shoulder pain, lower back pain, cervical hysteresis, Iliotibial band friction syndrome, fibromyalgia, and more.

Book a
Discovery Call

Strain Counterstrain Physical Therapy is a gentle and precise treatment for complex issues. If you have a tricky or long-lasting painful condition, talk with one of our physical therapists. We’ll discuss your case and take an honest look at your options.

If another therapist has failed to successfully treat your painful condition, it can feel like there is nowhere to turn and no resources to help you. Indeed, while the standard physical therapy methods work for 90% of cases, if you find yourself in the margin of those for whom it doesn’t work, you may struggle with pain for years without relief.

That’s why I’m proud to offer Strain Counterstrain at Synergy Physical Therapy Clinic in Spokane Valley. Most of our highly experienced staff is specifically trained in this hard-to-find therapy. Many patients who have received strain counterstrain experience immediate relief that only builds over multiple sessions. If you have a complicated or painful condition, I hope you’ll try Strain Counterstrain.

– Shauna Burchett, Owner