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Jones counterstrain


Also listed as: Greenman muscle-energy, Strain-counterstrain
Related terms
Author information

Related Terms
  • Bodywork, Greenman muscle-energy, manual therapy, osteopathic manipulation, osteopathy, physical therapy, positional release technique, strain-counterstrain.

  • Jones counterstrain, also known as strain-counterstrain, is a gentle technique developed to treat neuromuscular and musculo-skeletal problems by Dr. Lawrence Jones in the 1950s. The technique was accidentally discovered by Dr. Jones after trying to move a patient around to make the patient comfortable.
  • Strain-counterstrain is currently used to correct abnormal nerve and muscle reflexes with the intention of correcting painful postural and structural problems. The technique involves finding tender points, often on or over joints, along the body. A manual therapist uses his hands to position parts of the body in ways that release tight, painful muscles.
  • Dr. Jones founded the Jones Institute to carry on the promotion of and training of manual therapists in this technique. Today, the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) is also very involved in researching Jones counterstrain. The AOA has published articles as recently as 2005, which have identified new tender points.
  • Greenman muscle-energy is a phrase developed by the professor and author Dr. Phillip Greenman, to describe the way that certain movements of the body can re-position the body's joints and alignments. The term Greenman muscle-energy is often synonymous with Jones counterstrain.
  • Many bodywork professionals practice strain counterstrain, including physical therapists, massage therapists, and chiropractors. Although the Jones Institute offers certification in Jones counterstrain, many bodywork-training programs have integrated Jones' ideas into their programs.
  • Strain-counterstrain is used for a number of medical conditions with muscle involvement including bursitis (inflammation of the bursa, which is a small sac that cushions the joints), tenditonitis (inflammation of a tendon), tension headaches, sciatic nerve irritation, as well as loss of joint mobility.

Theory / Evidence
  • There is very little research to prove the effectiveness of Jones counterstrain. However, the American Osteopathic Association and Jones Institute are actively involved in funding research that may prove the efficacy of these treatments.

Author information
  • This information has been edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (

  1. The Jones Institute. 10 May 2006.
  2. Jones L, Kusunose R, Goering E. Jones Strain Counterstrain. Philadelphia: American Academy Of Osteopathy. 1995.

  • Strain-counterstrain is a gentle technique that works by placing muscles in positions for 90 seconds in order to "reset" muscles. Training manuals, such as Jones Strain Counterstrain, instruct the practitioner to ask the patient about areas of pain, injury, and restricted motion. The practitioner also feels tender points on the body and asks the patient if they are experiencing any pain. The specialist then applies gentle pressure on the painful area towards an area of less or no pain. This positional release painlessly releases tender trigger points. After this release of tension, the patient should feel a decrease in or alleviation of localized pain, and an increased range of motion. This release also aids in the healing necessary to correct painful all-over postural and structural problems.
  • "Tender points" is a term that identifies common points of muscle tightness.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (

The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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