Who is it for?
First Responders (Active and Retired)
- 911 Operator
Active Duty Military and Veterans
- Coast Guard
- Marine Corps
Healthcare Frontline Workers (Active and Retired)
- Providers who are directly witnessing and treating acute trauma in their line of work (eg ICU and ER doctors and nurses)
We provide Counterstrain manual therapy for qualified service members. Our current protocol includes 2-3 treatments of 1-1.5 hours each.
The Bridge Back Project does not charge participants for these treatments. Treatment is fully funded through generous donations from friends of the project and past participants who want others to be able to experience the benefit they’ve received.
Please fill out this short questionnaire to see if you qualify for covered care with one of our practitioners.
Stories of lives changed by Counterstrain
PTSD Recovery Story of Vet and Retired CHP
Retired CHP Officer Johnny Fisher talks about his experience with receiving counterstrain as part of BBP’s Community Impact Program. The offscreen voice is Theora Moench, Bridge Back Project’s Executive Director.
Counterstrain helped PTSD and Injury of Former Athlete...
Retired Naval Aviator and professional athlete Kristin Barnes shares her experience with counterstrain. The offscreen voice is Theora Moench, Bridge Back Project’s Executive Director.
Retired Police/Vet Recovers from PTSD and Vertigo
Veteran and retired police officer Ron Hansen talks about his experience with receiving counterstrain as part of BBP’s Community Impact Program. The offscreen voice is Theora Moench, Bridge Back Project’s Executive Director.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How much does it cost? Show Answer Treatments are free to you. There are no out-of-pocket costs because treatment is fully funded by the Bridge Back Project through generous donations from friends of the project and past participants who want to make sure others can experience the benefit they’ve received.
- What symptoms can Counterstrain help with? Show Answer Counterstrain can help address pain, fatigue, insomnia, physical complaints, persisting agitation, anxiety, depression, and more. Program participants report improvement in sleep, pain control, organ function, as well as mental and emotional health. Tolerance to everyday events improves as well as the ability to interact with others, because triggers are not as easily activated.
- Do I need a formal PTSD diagnosis? Show Answer No. We look at the symptom profile a patients reports to determine if our protocol could be a beneficial addition to their care plan.
- Will this impact my benefits? Show Answer No. We are an independent, non-profit organization and we do not report clinical information to insurance companies or governmental agencies. This is a supplemental treatment that will not impact your benefits or classifications with any other agencies or institutions.
- What to expect during treatment? Show Answer Treatments last up to 90 minutes. You remain fully clothed and sit or lie on a comfortable massage table. After discussing your experience and symptoms with you, the practitioner will gently touch your head with their hands to do a "cranial scan". This is a diagnostic technique used to map which structures have been over-stimulated by stress and trauma that continue to function in a hypervigilant state. Then, based on what you've shared and what they learn from the cranial scan, they will treat certain areas with a short "glide", hold, or position. The touch is similar to massage but much lighter and much more precise. You may need three sessions to finish the protocol specifically designed for post-traumatic stress symptoms.
- What to expect after treatment: Show Answer Most patients experience pain relief and improved peace of mind. After treatment, it is important to drink plenty of water, rest, and refrain from intense exercise or physical labor for at least 24-48 hours, if possible. We also recommend having a trusted, safe person or a mental health professional that you can talk to if anything comes up after the session.
- Is it painful? Show Answer Counterstrain is gentle and non-invasive. The touch you’ll experience is less firm than what you would experience during a massage. The practitioner will locate “tender points” on your body, which tells them which anatomical structures (nerves, bones, arteries, muscles, organs, etc) need treatment. Sometimes these tender points are very tender but our practitioners do their best never to apply more pressure than is necessary.
- Is it possible to have an adverse reaction? Show Answer Infrequently. In some cases, people have experienced memories or waves of emotions during or shortly after treatment but without the escalating negative response that those triggers have brought on in the past. If this occurs, it is usually short-lived, and is followed by a profound sense of ease, relief, and relaxation. Our practitioners are prepared and able to support you should this happen. We also recommend having a trusted person or mental health professional that you can speak to after a session if you want further support to process anything that comes up during or after treatment.
- How long do the effects of the treatment last? Show Answer Once treated, the effects should last indefinitely unless the system is re-injured or re-traumatized. Instead of treating just symptoms, Counterstrain treats the cause. The intervention allows the body to deal with and dissipate stressors on its own. A significant traumatic event or stressor can - and should - elicit an activation of the body's protective mechanism - aka the Fight or Flight Response. However, Counterstrain is able to normalize the body’s responses so that individuals don’t get stuck in that activated state of high alert.
However, for patients living with severe physical injuries, the body is brilliant at masking or compensating pain related to those injuries. Depending on how severe or how long you have had the condition or injury, there may be a “stack” of complaints to work through. We have found that three sessions is enough time to treat a significant portion of people’s stress and post-trauma complaints.
Still not sure?
Please contact us with any other questions that you have and we will work to get you the answers that you seek.
Additionally, we have several program alums who are on call to speak with peers about their experience so that you can make the best decision for your own care.