Excerpted from: (Chaitow, Leon. Muscle Energy Techniques. 2006, Elsevier Limited.)
Marsh Morrison suggested very light palpation, using extremely light touch, as a means of feeling a ‘drag’ sensation alongside the spine (as lateral as the tips of the transverse processes). Drag relates to increased hydrosis, which is a physiological response to increased sympathetic activity and is an invariable factor in skin overlying trigger and other forms of reflexively induced or active myofascial areas. Once drag is noted, pressure into the tissues normally evinces a report of pain.
The operator stands on the side of the prone patient opposite the sid in which pain has been discovered in these paraspinal tissues.
Once located, tender or painful points (lying no more lateral than the tips of the transverse processes) are palpated for their sensitivity to pressure. Once confirmed as painful, the point is held by firm thumb pressure while, with the soft thenar eminence of the other hand, the tip of the spinal process most adjacent to the pain point is very gently eased towards the pain (ounces of pressure only), so crowding and slackening the tissues being palpated, until pain reduces by at least 75%. Direct pressure of this sort (lightly applied) towards the pain should lessen the degree of tissue contraction and the sensitivity.
If it does not do so, then the angle of the push on the spinous process towards the painful spot should be varied slightly so that, somewhere within an arc embracing a half circle, an angle of push towards the pain will be found to abolish the pain totally and will lessen the feeling of tension. This position is held for 20 seconds after which the next point is treated. A full spinal treatment is possible using this extremely gentle approach which incorporates the same principles as SCS and functional technique, the achievement of ease and pain reduction as the treatment focus.