What is ART® (Active Release Technique) and what are the benefits?
ART® (Active Release Technique) is a highly successful approach to the diagnosis and treatment of soft tissues including muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves and fascia. It is effective for many musculoskeletal injuries including sciatica, low back pain, neck pain/whiplash, tennis and golfer’s elbow, rotator cuff issues, knee pain, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, jaw pain, and headaches, to name a few. Professional athletes have been using ART® for years to improve athletic performance, treat existing injuries, and prevent future injuries. However, this therapy is useful for everyone from the office worker to the stay-at-home mom, as almost most people experience repetitive use or micro traumatic injuries sustained from life’s day to day activities.
How does it work?
When a muscle, tendon, or ligament is injured, the body forms scar tissue (sometimes also called adhesions). Scar tissue is how the body connects and binds injured tissue. Unfortunately, that same scar tissue often sticks to surrounding structures like “glue.” If a nerve runs through a muscle in the spot where there is scar tissue, the nerve can be pinched or pulled by that adhesion, causing it to fire pain signals-leading to numbness, tingling, and painful loss of mobility. The resulting limited motion causes the body to compensate by overworking other healthy tissue, also leading to pain. Although the body can sometimes adapt to, and tolerate a certain amount of scar tissue, it will not function optimally and can cause further injury. This scar tissue requires treatment because the body has no mechanism to reduce scar tissue naturally. ART® practitioners are highly skilled at finding the exact location of scar within each tissue and have over 500 specific treatment protocols that they can apply depending on the condition.
What can I expect?
The practice of ART® has meant a change in the basic understanding and approach to treating soft tissue injury. Unlike other treatment methods, the patient is frequently an active participant in ART® by moving the affected area through a full range of motion while the doctor applies manual force along the scar tissue. Every ART® session is a combination of examination and treatment. Examination involves the identification of the soft tissue that has been injured and where scar tissue has formed due to direct injury or from overuse. Treatment then involves guided movement of the patient, increasing tension and breaking up the painful scar tissue. ART® can be combined with other types of treatment, including chiropractic manipulation and rehabilitative exercises, to achieve optimal function and improve overall performance. In many cases the problem is fixed, or significant improvement is seen, in four to five treatments. If we have not seen a change by this time, further investigation may be advised.