Active Release Technique® (ART®) is a patented soft tissue technique that treats problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia (connective tissue), and nerves. A multitude of musculoskeletal conditions can benefit from ART®. These conditions all have one important similarity: they are frequently the result of overused muscles, causing muscle spasm, scar tissue and eventual loss of function within a region of the body.
What makes Active Release Technique® (ART®) different from other techniques
The difference between ART® and other techniques is that during an ART® treatment, the patient actively moves the affected structure (muscle or ligament) while the practitioner presses or maintains contact on the injured area. This allows the practitioner to feel the structure as it moves under their contact, and to effectively treat those restricted muscles, tendons, or ligaments.
Who might benefit from ART®
Over 500 specific moves make up the treatment protocols used in ART®, allowing the practitioner to tailor treatment to the unique needs of each patient. Individuals who may benefit from ART® include:
· Members of the athletic community, both recreational and professional.
· Chronic pain patients with symptoms mimicking an overuse syndrome
· Anyone who has not been able to find relief through conventional therapies
How overuse affects your muscles
When muscles (and other soft tissues) are overused, three types of problems may result:
· Acute conditions such as pulls, tears, muscle spasm or contracture, etc.
· Small tears resulting from repetitive motion (also known as micro-trauma)
· Hypoxia or a lack of oxygen to the injured area
Your body responds to these occurrences by producing tough, dense scar tissue in the problem area. This scar tissue restricts healthy tissues, preventing them from moving freely. As more scar tissue builds, your muscles weaken and become shorter, nerves can become trapped, and the tension that is placed on the tendons might even cause tendon inflammation or tendonitis. Eventually, all of this leads to a reduced range of motion, loss of strength, and pain. In cases where a nerve is trapped, you might experience tingling, numbness, and weakness as well.
What to expect during an ART® session
An ART® session is both an examination and a treatment. As the ART® website explains, “the provider uses his or her hands to evaluate the texture, tightness, and movement of muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments, and nerves. Abnormal tissues are treated by combining precisely directed tension with very specific patient movements.