Frequently Asked Questions
What is Strain-Counterstrain?
The short answer is that it’s a modality of manual therapy. But it’s also a description of an underlying physiological process within our bodies, and other mammals for that matter.
This physiological principle is that almost every tissue and cell responds to stress and strain, real and perceived, with a protective contraction. This is the strain.
To reset the strain and allow the body to relax and lengthen, we give it a gentle counter-strain which, after a minute or two, resets the complex neuro-vascular control of that particular structure.
You can read some of the science behind it here.
What is Fascial Counterstrain vs Strain-Counterstrain?
Both methods involve releasing tension from soft tissue including muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, organs, nerves, and veins. When the tension from this soft tissue is released, your pain will be reduced or eliminated.
But Fascial Counterstrain is precision therapy. It is a building-upon, a mastery of the basic Strain-Counterstrain (SCS) approach. Think of it as SCS 2.0. Practitioners who utilize this technique can pinpoint and heal deep issues that on the surface may seem unrelated.
While SCS is usually referred to by its full name, Fascial Counterstrain is often referred to simply as Counterstrain. This is the method that Ben Bartlein practices at Eastern Shore Natural Health.
What is a Counterstrain treatment like?
A Counterstrain practitioner identifies painful spots on the body, or “tender points,” and through a series of “releases” works to relax connective tissue contractions, or spasms. Counterstrain is a painless form of bodywork and should feel relaxing.
How is Counterstrain different from chiropractic work?
Counterstrain is an indirect modality of bodywork. Rather than focusing on the problem area directly, such as with a painful joint, Counterstrain practitioners work on the soft tissue around the area. With the soft tissue relaxed, the joint should slide naturally back into place, which is what it wants to do.
Do you work on babies and children?
Counterstrain is a gentle and soft technique, and children who need bodywork can benefit from this treatment. It is also effective for treating infants with torticollis.
I have been in a motor vehicle collision. Can Counterstrain help?
Regardless of what causes your discomfort, (be it a car accident or something else), Counterstrain helps to relieve both acute traumas and chronic pain.
Why is the lymphatic system foundational for health?
The lymphatic system is a series of organs and tissues that carries clear fluid called lymph through the body. Lymph fights disease and infection, removes toxins and waste. It carries white blood cells and is part of the immune system.
Unlike the heart pumping blood through the body, there is not a continuous pump to move lymph. The only way for lymph to flow through the body is through movement, exercise. This is partly why people who have sedentary lifestyles/jobs feel stiff and sore: their lymph isn’t moving freely, leaving toxins and waste sitting in their bodies.
What is Gua Sha?
How does the Lympha system differ from the traditional method?
Does Cupping hurt?
You will feel a pinch when the cups are first applied, and if that is too uncomfortable the pressure can be released until you feel at ease. After that it should feel like putting your hand on the end of a vacuum hose; maybe a little tighter depending on your pain threshold.
When the cups are removed, you shouldn’t feel anything after that, except relaxed muscles and relief from pain and tension. In the case of lung specific treatment, you should have an easier ability to breathe.
How long do the cupping marks last?
Do you take insurance?
Yes, depending on your insurance provider. Call for specifics.
Does insurance cover Counterstrain and other bodywork?
Yes, auto and personal injury insurance cover Counterstrain. FSA and HSA accounts can be used as well.
What forms of payment can I use?
We accept Cash, Check or Credit Card.
Is it Ok to tip or add gratuity?
Gratuity is always gratefully accepted, but never expected. The practitioners at Eastern Shore are independent practitioners and gratuity can be seen as a donation to help continue offering sliding fee scale services and workshops to those less fortunate.
Is there confidentiality?
Yes, we follow the laws of HIPPA and your information is never sold or given out except where appropriate by law (i.e. you ask us to communicate with the insurance company). Occasionally your practitioner may ask permission to discuss your case with a colleague, as two brains are better than one.
What if I am late to an appointment?
Please give a call just to let us know; we will still do as much work as possible when you arrive.
Do you do on-site or out calls?
Ben can accommodate clients who prefer to be at home. He also provides on-site treatments for athletic and performance events, and on-site wellness programs for corporations.
What can I expect from a single treatment? Out of a series of treatments?
In one treatment you can expect relief from daily stress, a headache, those knots that gnaw at you. In many instances you will feel so much better and your aches and pains will be gone. You should have more range of motion.
However, if you have been dealing with something for quite some time, weeks or months or years, it can take more than one or two treatments to resolve. One rule of thumb is for every year a dysfunction has existed it takes 1-2 hours of work. But again, this is a rule of thumb, nothing hard and fast.
A series of treatments or regular preventative maintenance will take you on a journey of awareness and healing that is really one of our greatest gifts as humans. You will have the opportunity to learn how to use your breath to make yourself feel better.
Most people report after regular and progressive treatments more energy, less sickness, greater mental capacity, and/or more balanced blood pressure, just to name a few. They feel a greater perspective on the challenges that we all face at one time or another in our lives.
We invite you to use Counterstrain and holistic bodywork as a tool to reach and maintain your full health.