Active Release Techniques (ART) is a patented hands-on treatment approach to relieving pain and treating soft tissue injuries. This is a state-of-the-art treatment plan that was developed by Dr. Michael Leahy, a sports physician from Colorado Springs in the United States, he created his signature method by treating patients who were dealing with a wide array of chronic pains or injuries. The procedure is similar to massage therapy however, it is much more specific and is administered by registered ART providers who are trained and specialized in how to feel and identify adhesions, while using active motion of the body part to break them up.
As you may or may not know, scar tissue also known as adhesions are what limits the full range of motion of the muscles and joints because scar tissue is very dense, tough, and are not as flexible as healthy tissue. Adhesions develop as a result of injured tissues due to overuse of the muscles or a most commonly a sports related injury, adhesions form to somewhat “bind” the injured tissue. It becomes like strong glue and when developed can often get in the way of nerves, compressing or pinching nerves which is what causes pain. Now, ART works in a way that it prevents and breaks up the dense scar tissue while ART providers are skilled and trained to locate these adhesions in order to administer the treatment.
The focus of Active Release Techniques, like other chiropractic treatments is to lower pain and increase performance and mobility, specifically to restore the natural “glide” between the muscular tissues and nerves. It’s also been proven to help push joint fluid throughout the body and help reduce inflammation by stimulating the lymphatic system.
ART is similar to deep tissue massage techniques although the procedure is much more targeted and works by manipulating soft tissue. What this does is it reduces the amount of stress being placed on joints and nerves which promotes a faster, natural, and drug-free way of healing. ART treatment embodies a unique protocol of its own and consists of very precise and targeted motions and movements, most of which are done by the patient. What you’ll find is that each ART session will vary amongst patients and is custom-created to treat the individual patient’s problem depending on the location and severity of their symptoms.
Active Release Techniques are used to treat these common injuries which are often a result of overused muscles:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Back and neck pain
- Shin splints
- Shoulder strains, including frozen shoulder
- Plantar fasciitis
- Jumper’s Knee
- Golf/tennis elbow
- Tension headaches