Willowmoor Healing Arts

Providing a compassionate, intelligent approach to massage therapy.

Week 8 and 9 Fascial Counterstrain Apprenticeship

This is a map of some of the tenderpoints representing dysfunction in the musculoskeletal system.

This is a map of some of the tenderpoints representing dysfunction in the musculoskeletal system.

We are marching our way through locating a bunch of tenderpoints in the thoracic spine, ribs, and lumbar spine. Once found, we utilize the technique to ease the contraction and turn off the tenderpoint. Because fellow classmates don’t necessarily have these dysfunctions, treatment can be somewhat theoretical. For me, theory is great but reality is even better and defiantly more memorable.  Which leaves me hoping that clients will come in this week with some of these tenderpoints! I feel truly blessed to be able to come back and have clients who are excited to experience the work and allow me to explore and learn how to diversify my skills and knowledge. Thank you!

Week 7 Fascial Counterstrain Apprenticeship

Now that we're familiar and (mostly) confident with our cranial scan we get to start adding treatment techniques. Like I've mentioned before, in Facial Counterstrain, to truly be a great practitioner you need to be highly competent and accurate in your assessment and knowledge of where everything is in the body. With that knowledge, even if you don't know a technique written down in a manual,  you should be able to figure something out. That being said, it sure is helpful to have a book with all the tender points mapped out as well as techniques listed to get those points to release! One can only absorb and learn so much at a time!

Today we had a list and manual! Cervical nerves and arteries were our focus. Yes, arteries,  the things they told us to avoid in school. In FCS, our focus is on the the fascia surrounding the arteries (a.k.a tunica adventitia) which means you are not smashing or mashing them, you are gently gliding them in a direction of ease. We are working with releasing a reflex arc of contraction that tugs on the tissue, making the tissue feel stretched (which it doesn't like), that then causes it to contract to protect itself and thus the cycle begins. Our goal is to find the contraction and glide it into a position of ease thus turning off that reflex arc and allowing the body to resume a more functional state. 

As a person receiving a treatment,  It should give the sensation of softening and relaxing.  In fact, Tim gave case examples where he was able to normalize tachycardia. He also did THIS study on how FCS can normalize arterial and venous flow (the video may not be available as they are updating their site...) 

This is pretty amazing stuff!




Week 6 Fascial Counterstrain Apprenticeship

As the saying goes, location is everything.

In Fascial Counterstrain knowing exactly where you are is very important. A spinus process can have 8 tender points on it correlating to 8 different treatment protocols. Eight points all on that tiny sticky-outie portion of your spine! That being said, we spent the class reviewing and palpating bony landmarks. It was fun to have  teachers around to quiz you and double check your accuracy. Thanks to many great teachers, this is a skill that I feel pretty confident in. When I was going through the Silver Series at the URSA Foundation we did a lot of palpation drills. One time we walked into class and there were about 15 boxes sitting on the tables. We had to identify what anatomical structure was in each box by feel....NO PEEKING. That really got me to think and feel structure with a clearer vision. Now I need to work on imprinting into my mind the road map of veins, nerves,  and arteries. ...I have a feeling that is the part that takes 2 years....or more!

Week 5 Fascial Counterstrain Apprenticeship

I’m officially half way through Module 1! Today we worked on learning the cranial scan for the nervous system. Apparently this is the hardest scan to master. There are a bunch of points located all over the head correlating to different aspects and locations of the nervous system. Accuracy in your assessment is particularly important with this system because as you know, you do not want to tick off somebody’s last nerve.

I am also practicing softening my touch yet palpating deeper. It sounds confusing, but as an old teacher of mine said, think of fascia as Jello that hasn’t quite set. If you sink into it softly and slowly you’d be able to move or remove any object that was stuck in there. However, if you rush and force your way through you’ll jumble up the Jello and miss the object you were searching for. I love that I keep remembering teachings from past instructors and that they all build and expand on each other. This field is evolving and growing as am I … and for that I am grateful.

Week 4 Fascial Counterstrain Apprenticeship

We continued leaning more cranial scans today, namely visceral/lymphatic, musculoskeletal, and arterial. It is so incredible that the head provides such a clear road map to the body. It is so exciting to feel a point in the cranium associated with ankle restriction melt away while another practitioner is treating the ankle! Yes! I am so inspired by my teachers to push my learning and deepen my knowledge on what lies under all this skin we have and how to best sequence and layer treatments to assist the body in functioning with greater ease and resilience. Once I know the scans it’s “JUST” a matter of being able to know/visualize all the anatomy and decompress that area. Sounds so simple!