International Institute for Corrective Muscle Therapy, Inc.Crossfiber Corrective Muscle Therapy

About Crossfiber Technique

The Science Behind Crossfiber
Defining “Cross-fiber” and “Crossfiber”
Combining Crossfiber with Other Healthcare Professions
What Doctors Say About CCMT
Conditions Helped by CCMT
Articles Written About Cross-fiber Technique


The Science Behind Crossfiber

The electron-microscope photographs below reveal the dramatic difference between healthy and unhealthy muscle. Healthy muscle has well-defined rows of parallel muscle fibers (as shown on the left); unhealthy muscle manifests distortion of the muscle fibers and/or a number of other irregularities (as shown on the right).

Healthy Muscle

normal muscle

Unhealthy Muscle

damaged muscle
Electron microscope photograph of a normal muscle fibre in a state of contraction showing: regular striations, pairs of mitochondria ranged along either side of the Z-line, normal content of glycogen (arrow) and many triads.
Soft tissue rheumatism; segment of a muscle fibre showing moth-eaten myofilaments in the I band region (arrows). The intervening light zones correspond to myofibrils which have undergone dissolution (electron micrograph).

Photographs and sub-captions taken from Muscle Spasms and Pain. Copyright © 1988. Reprinted by permission of the Parthenon Publishing Group via the Copyright Clearance Center.

Healthy muscles are self-maintaining, but when muscles become unhealthy in some way, they need a helping hand — literally, a hands-on intervention. The following concept is universal: When muscles are stroked along the length of the muscle fibers, muscles tend to relax; when muscles are stroked across the muscle fibers, a corrective response is initiated. So if correction is what is needed, then cross-fiber is what is needed.

The act of addressing a muscle directly across the muscle fibers potentially sets in motion the following series of physiological events:

  • initiates movement of stagnation, inflammation, and tissue congestion (which immobilize the muscle fibers)
  • softens and melts viscosity (gluing) of interstitial fluids, releasing muscle fibers that have become adherent (stuck together)
  • separates the spaces between the muscle fibers to allow fresh interstitial fluids to enter in
  • allows fresh oxygenated blood to reach the muscle cell for firing muscle contraction
  • restores the process of osmosis for cellular exchange of nutrient and waste in the muscle cells
  • re-moisturizes dry muscle freeing up the gliding movement between muscles
  • allows healthy muscle function and alignment of muscle fibers to be restored

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Defining “Cross-fiber” and “Crossfiber”

  • The word cross-fiber (hyphenated) is a general, descriptive term that applies to any type of bodywork performed across the fibers of a muscle, tendon, or ligament.

  • The word Crossfiber (capitalized and not hyphenated) is the shortened form of the name Crossfiber Corrective Muscle Therapy®.

  • The term Crossfiber Corrective Muscle Therapy® (CCMT) refers to the body of techniques making up the muscle therapy field developed by Victoria Ross. The hundreds of practitioners who have graduated from Victoria’s schools are presently working in this field as Pfrimmer Deep Muscle Therapists (PDMTs), Crossfiber Corrective Muscle Therapists (CCMTs), and/or Crossfiber practitioners.
    (Note: The term “corrective” does not denote a claim to correct any condition but rather the intention to correct.)

Adductor Pollicis

Crossfiber Corrective Muscle Therapy® (CCMT) specializes in evaluating and addressing the muscles across the muscle fibers. This can be performed in a variety of styles and hand positions, including a back-and-forth combing motion applied over a section of the body, a stationary rocking motion applied to a particular muscle, or sustained pressure applied to a certain portion of a muscle.

Quadratus Lumborum

The approach and type of strokes utilized are customized to the type of condition that the client/muscle is experiencing. Since some conditions are body-wide (congestion, inflammation, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, etc.), they are addressed with a comprehensive Crossfiber approach. Other conditions that are more localized (tendinitis, joint pain, frozen shoulder, neck pain, sciatica, etc.) are addressed by a specific, localized Crossfiber approach. Often a combined approach is required due to the complex, interactive nature of the condition (impaired range of motion, back conditions, etc.).

Tibialis Anterior

When a trained CCMT therapist applies the hands to the body of the client, he/she looks to evaluate the state of the muscle and surrounding tissue: whether it is healthy or unhealthy, what type of distress it is suffering from, and what approach may be most helpful to bring correction or relief. The therapist determines a treatment plan for addressing the immediate and underlying causes of the condition. Some conditions can be completely corrected. Others can be improved or maintained.


Certain Crossfiber techniques specialize in highly sensitive conditions (injury, post-surgery, etc.) and are applied in a feather-light fashion. Other techniques are applied at the “hurts-good” level to allow the deeper source of the muscle dysfunction to be met and released. The client’s comfort is a top priority.

(For details on specific CCMT techniques and courses offered or to contact available teachers, see Teachers & Training.)

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Combining Crossfiber with Other Healthcare Professions

Crossfiber Corrective Muscle Therapy® is often viewed as the “missing link” in the world of healthcare. There are many painful, debilitating conditions that “nothing seems to help” simply because they involve the neuromuscular system — which requires specialized hands-on attention. Many patients are put through costly, invasive procedures with extended recovery time for a condition that could have been resolved non-invasively and relatively quickly by a skilled cross-fiber practitioner. Others are left without recourse to the detriment of their quality of life and ability to do their job because the health practitioner did not refer them to a cross-fiber practitioner.

Interosseus Membrane

General medicine, neurology, chiropractic, orthopedics, osteopathy, physical therapy, and sports medicine are among the fields that have benefited greatly from combining cross-fiber therapy with their established methodology.

The “godfather” of orthopedics, James Cyriax (1904-1985), understood this principle of combining methodologies and devised his own hands-on cross-fiber application, called “deep transverse massage,” that he combined with orthopedic surgery for curing certain injuries. By experimenting extensively with this cross-fiber technique, he published a list of some 20+ conditions that he found to be “intractable except by deep transverse massage” (Textbook of Orthopaedic Medicine, vol. 2, Treatment by Manipulation, Massage and Injection, 11th ed., with the assistance of Margaret Coldham [London: Baillière Tindall, 1984], 22). It is the combination of disciplines that offers the most benefit to the client.

See the next subheading, “What Doctors Say About CCMT,” for quotes from medical doctors, neurologists, chiropractors, craniosacral specialists, and osteopaths who have shared in this type of collaborative relationship with the field of Crossfiber Corrective Muscle Therapy®. (For a list of conditions for which clients can be referred to Crossfiber Corrective Muscle Therapy, see Conditions Helped By CCMT below.)

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What Doctors Say About CCMT

“Doctors who are familiar with the value of massage view Crossfiber Corrective Muscle Therapists as specialists in the field of muscle therapy.”

Carl Weisse, DC, instructor at Pennsylvania College of Straight Chiropractic and Community College of Philadelphia, former staff chiropractor at the Deep Muscle Therapy Center owned by Victoria Ross


“Over the years we have referred a large number of children with organic neuromuscular problems [to Victoria Ross] for the … technique of deep muscle therapy and found it to be of significant value frequently as an adjunct to the sensorimotor stimulation program.” [c. 1984]

Eugene Spitz, MD, world-renowned neurosurgeon, inventor of the shunt for hydrocephalics, founder of The Spitz Clinic, cofounder of Broad Street Hospital


“We, at the Centre for Neurological Rehabilitation in Philadelphia, had developed into one of the largest centers for outpatient treatment of brain injury in the world with offices in nine countries. We maintained an extremely sophisticated diagnostic and research facility, which kept us on top of various new methods, programs, and techniques that could be of some possible benefit to our patients. I have now retired, but I had followed the evolution of Crossfiber Corrective Muscle Therapy closely for many years; and, indeed, over the span of 30 years many ideas and techniques had come and gone. However, Crossfiber Corrective Muscle Therapy withstood the test of time. Our research showed the Crossfiber technique to be of significant value to a number of our patients. In some cases, the lessening of spasticity was remarkable even in difficult adult cases where the degree of tightness was considered severe. My wish would be for more therapists to be trained and that more information be known about this exciting work that has helped so many people throughout the world.”

John Unruh, PhD, founder and clinical director of the Centre for Neurological Rehabilitation from 1965-2007

(Read the backstory of this collaborative relationship.)


“I have been involved with the Crossfiber Corrective Muscle Therapy technique since 1980 as a doctor and as a patient. Since then I have treated thousands of cases and feel deeply that this therapy is extremely effective in difficult cases involving muscle dysfunction. It is an invaluable adjunct to my work with TMJ patients. Basically the jaw, head and neck are coordinated through the myofascial tissues. Soft tissue balance and release has to be complete for maximum TMJ benefit.

“As a professional, I can say that this Crossfiber technique is an integral part of well-being and is too often overlooked as a source of relief for pain. As a patient, I can say that the quality of my life has drastically improved since Victoria Ross used her pioneering Crossfiber techniques to correct my scoliosis.”

Barry R. Gillespie, DMD, MSD, LMT, specialist in craniosacral fascial therapy, former staff craniosacral specialist at the Deep Muscle Therapy Center owned by Victoria Ross, principle author of the Baby Brain Score (BBS) approach, author of the books Healing Your Child and Brain Therapy for Children and Adults

(Read the backstory of this collaborative relationship.)


“I have seen many patients benefited by … [cross-fiber] Muscle Therapy while I was serving as staff physician at [Victoria Ross’s] Deep Muscle Therapy Center in suburban Philadelphia. I have also received help personally for my own condition of inflammatory and painful soft tissue. There is great value to the medical community to include this work in the treatment plan for many serious conditions.” [c. 1984]

Patricia Yeoman, MD, fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, former staff medical doctor at the Deep Muscle Therapy Center owned by Victoria Ross


“Victoria Ross … [was] employed in our office for … three years as a muscle therapist … As head of the physical therapy department she and the assistants she has trained have been most effective in meeting the diversified needs of the health program we offer here at the office.” [1980]

George H. Hopkins, DC, founder of The Barn chiropractic and health clinic in Devon, PA

(Read the backstory of this collaborative relationship.)


"There is a definite area of medical neglect today involving soft tissue therapy. Muscle therapists generally do much to fill this present need. I have been particularly impressed with the Pfrimmer therapists I have observed.”

Seldon Nelson, PharmD, DO, instructor at Michigan State University, College of Osteopathic Medicine

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Conditions Helped by CCMT

  • ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
  • Back and Neck Pain
  • Breast Reconstruction Surgery
  • Bursitis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Circulatory Problems
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis)
  • Joint Range of Motion
  • Lupus
  • Lymphatic Tissue Injury (certain conditions)
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Muscular Pain
  • Nerve Pain
  • Neuralgia
  • Neuritis
  • Paralysis (certain types)
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Polio
  • Pre-/Post-Surgery
  • Repetitive Strain Injury
  • Rotator Cuff Injury
  • Sciatica
  • Scoliosis
  • Spinal/neck Injury
  • Sports Injury
  • Stroke (CVA), TIA
  • Structural Imbalance
  • Tendinitis
  • Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis)
  • TMJ Disorder
  • Traumatic Injury
  • Vascular Tissue Injury (certain conditions)
  • Whiplash (Hyperextension-Hyperflexion Injury)

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Articles Written About Cross-fiber Technique

This subheading contains articles that have been published on the subject of cross-fiber bodywork, categorized by the name of the author or the individual that is being featured.


Articles Written By Victoria Ross

This section contains magazine articles authored and coauthored by Victoria Ross, starting with the most recent publication. (For articles written about Victoria Ross, including an article in Hebrew, see Victoria Ross>Articles Written About Victoria.)

The below article was published in Massage Magazine’s November 2015 issue. It discusses the healing effect of Crossfiber Corrective Muscle Therapy® from a cellular level and how the various Crossfiber approaches are utilized to address different types of muscular conditions.

Massage Magazine
Nov 2015
"6 Things You Need to Know
About Crossfiber Muscle Therapy"
(PDF, 0.9 MB)

The three articles posted below make up a three-part series entitled “The Pfrimmer Corner” published in Massage Magazine between September of 1999 and January of 2000. Each article, coauthored by Victoria Ross and Chuck Selvaggio, gives a step-by-step description of the Pfrimmer Muscle Isolation method as applied to a certain muscle: the first featuring “Pectoralis Minor,” the second featuring “Anterior Deltoid,” and the third featuring “Gluteus Minumus.” (Note: The technique of “Pfrimmer Muscle Isolation” is now calledCrossfiber Muscle Isolation.” Read why here.)


Massage Magazine
Sep/Oct 1999
"The Pfrimmer Corner:
Pectoralis Minor"
(PDF, 0.6 MB)


Massage Magazine
Nov/Dec 1999
"The Pfrimmer Corner:
Anterior Deltoid"
(PDF, 1.1 MB)


Massage Magazine
Jan/Feb 2000
"The Pfrimmer Corner:
Gluteus Minimus"
(PDF, 1.0 MB)

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Articles Written About Thérèse Pfrimmer:

This section contains reference articles about Thérèse Pfrimmer, an early pioneer of cross-fiber muscle therapy.

The two issues of The Healthview Newsletter posted below feature an 11-page article published in 1978, followed by a 9-page article published in 1979, containing photographs and interviews with Thérèse Pfrimmer and her clients, detailing the story of her experience with cross-fiber muscle therapy, which allowed her to cure her own leg paralysis as well as the debilitating conditions of many of her clients.

Healthview Newsletter
Issue #20 1978
(PDF, 3.4 MB)

Healthview Newsletter
Issue #21 1979
(PDF, 4.7 MB)

The news article below tells the story of Thérèse Pfrimmer’s mission to help G.D. Direct and four other race horses to return to racing by performing her cross-fiber therapy on their leg muscles.

Thérèse Pfrimmer does cross-fiber therapy on horse

Taken from Muscles—Your Invisible Bonds, 3rd ed. (1970; repr., Blyth, Ontario: Blyth Printing, 1983), 16,
by Thérèse Pfrimmer

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