Active Release Techniques

A.R.T. Actively Relieves Pain

What is Active Release Techniques (ART®)?

ART® is a patented, state of the art soft tissue system that is movement-based. The technique is used to treat problems that involve the muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and nerves. ART® uses the examiner’s hands to apply the technique. The main goal is to reestablish proper motion between muscles and fascia while reducing fibrous adhesions. Ultimately myofascial (muscle and fascia) and neural (nerves) glide is reestablished allowing for proper function.

The technique can be used on patients with acute, chronic, overuse, repetitive strain injuries and postoperative cases of all types. The numbers of postoperative cases ART® providers see are growing steadily due to the scar tissue development involved in healing.

Who can benefit from ART®?

Anyone that suffers from headaches, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, shin splints, shoulder pain, sciatica, plantar fascitis, knee problems, and golfer’s/tennis elbow are just a few of the many conditions that can be resolved quickly and many times permanently with ART® These conditions have an important thing in common; they are often a result of overused muscles.

How is ART® different from other soft tissue techniques?

ART® uses movement of the patient to create tension on scar tissue. Every session combines an examination and treatment, which targets the soft tissue that has been injured. ART® treats specific muscles, tendons, fascia, ligaments and nerves, which target the exact area of the scar within each tissue. Unlike massage or other myofascial release techniques, ART® has over 500 specific protocols that treat affected areas of the body.

What is scar tissue and what are its causes?

Scar tissue is dense fibrous material that the body creates to connect and bind injured tissue. This is a normal process that occurs following injury, allowing the body to heal itself. The prob- lem occurs when that same scar tissue binds to surrounding structures like “glue” which occurs more often than thought. If a nerve runs through a muscle in an area where scar tissue had been laid, the nerve can be “pinched”, restricted, pulled or entrapped by that adhesion which can cause it to trigger pain, or even tingling, numbness and weakness. The process can limit motion, over- stimulating or overworking healthy tissue, which can also lead to pain and discomfort.

Since scar tissue is less flexible than the original tissue, it may not allow the muscle or other tissue to move freely through the normal range of motion. Scar tissue is meant to repair and lay down along the length of muscles to isolate and strengthen them.    However, sometimes the tissue is laid down irregularly – across the muscle width or may even attach itself to nearby structures and other muscles. These “adhesions” can result in pain, loss of flexibility and diminished strength.

How does overuse and repetitive stress cause scar tissue?

Overuse or repetitive stress increases the tension in the tissues of the body. Chronic tension applied to the tissue decreases the blood supply, creating hypoxia (not enough oxygen), causing the body to form adhesions. (Examples of repetitive stress could be; poor posture, improper exercise form, athletic pursuits, and even improper ergonomics at the work place.)

Combining diagnosis with “manual” treatment

Each ART® session that we provide at Element combines examination of the injury and a treat- ment specific to that area. ART® is a “manual” process in which we use our hands to evaluate muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves for tightness and range of movement, even the texture of the tissues are noted. This abnormal tissue (fibrous adhesions), is treated by applying precise, direct pressure with tension at different areas along the effected tissue while the patient performs slow, full-range movements – the “active” part of Active Release. Adhesions are there- fore stretched and broken away from their improper placement on muscles, tendons, nerves, etc. allowing them to move smoothly over one another.

Because ART® treatments are very focused on individual structures and firm pressure is applied, treatments may be uncomfortable and the patient may experience delayed soreness, much like that of heavy exercise. After ART® sessions we may provide ultrasound or cold laser treatment of the affected area to reduce inflammation and promote healing.

Active Release Techniques® is for everyone.

ART® can benefit anyone. From injuries in the heat of competition to slowly accumulating aches and pains years in the making. ART® is a fast, non-invasive and effective healing approach for many soft tissue injuries and can help you return to sport/pre-injury function sooner.

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Active Release Technique

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