top of page

Fascial Counterstrain

Updated: Feb 19

What is Fascial Counterstrain?

Fascial Counterstrain (FCS) is a gentle manual therapy approach designed to release tension in all tissues in the body. Fascia is connective tissue that surrounds all parts of the body including organs, muscles, nerves and lymphatic or blood vessels. FCS involves positioning the body in certain ways along with gentle compression or shortening of tissues to produce a therapeutic release. The therapist will utilize specific positions of counterstrain in order to decompress or relax tissues, reduce tension, release trapped inflammation and relieve pain. The goal is to eliminate the fascial strain which allows the body to bring healing to the area with restored blood flow, reduction of swelling and calming of the nervous system.

Physical therapist stabilizing patient's knees

Why is this important?

Fascia is literally everywhere in the body. Recent research has shown that nearly all painful conditions in the body are accompanied by inflammation of the fascia. When a person has pain the Sympathetic Nervous System kicks in (think fight or flight) which leads to blood vessel constriction and the tissues not getting enough oxygen. When the blood flow to that area is reduced, then the body is not able to washout and clear the inflammatory substances. This can later develop into a chronic pain state where the body releases inflammatory proteins which then results in more constriction of arteries and veins. This can contribute to chronic pain, muscle guarding and the formation of tender points and myofascial trigger points. And so the snowball begins...

What is the solution?

A position or fascial glide is applied to the involved structures (muscle, nerve, ligament, vessel) by a trained Physical Therapist. The muscle guarding reflexes are deactivated which relaxes these structures, the vascular channels open and drain the trapped inflammation and the body is then able to drain the toxins that were accumulated in the cells and flush them out through the liver and the kidneys. With this technique, the body is essentially able to correct itself and bring the body back into balance.

Physical therapist stabilizing patient's shoulder

What are the benefits of keeping my fascia healthy?

  • Improved body symmetry and alignment

  • Increased blood flow meaning faster exercise recovery

  • Scar tissue breakdown

  • Reduced risk of injury

  • Less daily pain

  • Improved functional mobility

  • Elevated sports performance

  • Decreased edema

  • Increased joint range of motion

  • Improved lymphatic drainage for detoxification

  • Relaxed Nervous System

What types of conditions can be improved by Fascial Counterstrain Treatment?

  • Neck pain and tension

  • Headaches including Migraines

  • Thoracolumbar pain

  • Chronic musculoskeletal pain

  • Pre-op and post-op patients

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Fibromyalgia

  • TMJ pain

  • Osteoporosis

  • Stress fractures

  • Sports injuries

  • Pregnancy (after 1st trimester) and pelvic pain patients

  • Lymphedema and localized chronic edema

  • Bursitis (shoulder, hip and knee)

  • IBS and IBD

  • Upper GI dysfunction and pain

  • Fatigue (including Chronic Fatigue Syndrome)

How do I get started?

Have you struggled with troubling symptoms that no one seems to understand? Have you been to multiple providers and specialists who run tests only to leave you without answers or worse yet, feeling like it’s all in your head? And still, your symptoms persist.

If you (or anyone who know) are struggling with pain and not getting answers, we urge you to learn more about this gentle and beneficial option for promoting health and overall wellness.


Loved what you read? Want to learn more about this topic?

Sign up for our monthly newsletter to stay in the know on all that's happening at OPT

26 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page