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I use Biofreeze to help work out the painful trigger points. It helps with the pain during the treatment and after.
HI Jeffrey - I am currently taking NMT in school and very interested in the Spray and Stretch technique. I'd like to try this on my case study subject but have really only found BioFreeze readily available. Where can I find the other kind of coolant spray? I heard one type is not available as it's in high demand at military hospitals right now.
Jeffrey A. Lutz said:
I just noticed this post -- a little late apparently!
The spray and stretch technique is an amazing way of working with myofascial trigger points, spasm, and joint sprains. There is so much to this technique to which not many therapists are aware. For instance, the technique was based on the works of Dr. Hans Kraus, a Austrian orthopedic surgeon who moved to the US and practiced in NYC for the remainder of his life. Dr. Kraus also worked with President Kennedy among many other celebrities.
I have been using vapocoolants sprays for about 7 years and have found great results. I see several people here saying their use of Biofreeze works well and while I agree, I can say it is not the same effect. Though the two products are different, they work in a complimentary fashion. A vapocoolant works through evaporation and drop the temperature of the skin to about 8 degrees F instantly. This sends and immediate barrage of signal to the CNS, thus interrupting the pain signal which travels to the CNS on slower conducting nerve fibers. This creates a window of opportunity to move the tissue through normal, pain free range of motion. It is the motion without pain that is the therapeutic intervention -- the spray only allows it to happen. Travell and Simons said, "stretch is the action, spray is the distraction". Biofreeze works by stimulating the cold receptors, thus having a similar effect on the CNS, but usually not enough to move the tissue through pain free ROM. The difference between the 2 is that a vapocoolant is instantly acting with short duration (about 1 minute) and Biofreeze is delayed action, but long duration. The two go hand and hand by using the vapocoolant first in conjunction with the spray and stretch technique, then applying Biofreeze, which carries the counter-irritant effect for a longer duration.
Even the makers of Biofreeze (Hygenic Corp. Akron, OH) agree with this by providing Biofreeze samples and information at courses where the spray and stretch technique is taught.
If anyone else is interested in more information, I would love to help provide it. For those of you who are looking to increase your clinical reach -- using a vapocoolant will help you tremendously. You will need training -- it is not a 'monkey see, monkey do' technique. It is a very tactile learning experience.
To account for cost in my practice, I bill the client an additional $3-5 for the use of spray. I get very few complaints. I have heard of others building it into the cost of the session or charging for the entire unit and holding it for the client.