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Positional Release for Spontaneous Muscle Relaxation

© Leon Chaitow ND, DO, MRO

10. Fascial Release

Soft tissues are gently moved towards the direction of their greatest ease until ‘release’ occurs. The process is repeated until there exists symmetry of motion in all directions of possible motion.

11. Cranial Methods (applicable anywhere on the body)14

Restricted structures/tissues are taken towards their direction of greatest ease of motion, at which time this position is held until there is a sense of an attempt by them to return towards the direction from which they have come. This is gently resisted for a short time. Subsequently the barrier usually retreats and the tissues can be taken into greater ease in previously restricted directions, and the process is repeated.


All methods require positioning to be performed slowly without introducing any additional pain to the patient.

In all variations a slow return to neutral is advised following the holding of the position of ease.

Most of the positional release methods involve movement towards ease, away from bind, using a slackening or crowding of dysfunctional tissues in order to facilitate muscle spindle resetting and improved function.

Despite the gentleness of the methods there is almost always a reaction involving stiffness and possibly discomfort on the day following treatment, as tissues adjust to new their situation and adaptation processes accommodate to these changes.

1. Hoover H Collected Papers Academy of Applied Osteopathy Year Book 1969
2. Jones L Strain and Counterstrain Academy of Applied Osteopathy Colorado Springs 1981
3. Walther D Applied Kinesiology Synopsis Systems DC Pueblo Colorado 1988
4. Schwartz H The Use of Counterstrain in an acutely ill in-hospital population J. American Osteopathic Association 86(7)pp433-442 1986
5. Jones L op cit
6. Ramirez M et al Low Back Pain - Diagnosis by six newly discovered sacral tender points and treatment with counterstrain technique J American Osteopathic Association 89(7) pp905-913 1989
7. Goodheart G Applied Kinesiology Workshop Procedure Manual 21st Edition (Detroit - privately published) 1984
8. Walther D Applied Kinesiology Synopsis Systems DC Pueblo Colorado 1988
9. Hoover H op cit
10. Bowles C Functional Technique - a modern perspective J American Osteopathic Association 80(3)pp326-331 1981
11. Schiowitz S Facilitated Positional Release J American Osteopathic Association 90(2)pp145-156 1990
12. Morrison M Lecture Notes presentation/seminar Research Society for Naturopathy, London 1969
13. Chaitow L Integrated Neuromuscular Inhibition Technique British Journal of Osteopathy Vol13 1994 p17-20
14. Upledger J & Vredevoogd J Craniosacral Therapy Eastland Press Seattle 1983

Leon Chaitow DO, former editor of JACM, practices at The Hale Clinic London (0171-631-0156). He teaches widely in the UK, Europe and the USA, and is author of major textbooks including ‘Soft tissue Manipulation’ . He is a senior lecturer on the University of Westminster’s MA in Therapeutic Bodywork course.

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About The Author
A practicing naturopath, osteopath, and acupuncturist in the United Kingdom, with over forty years clinical experience, Chaitow is Editor-in-Chief, of the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies. He regularly lectures in the United States as well as Europe where he instructs......more
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