Active release technique, also known as ART, is a combination of movement and massage to treat pain in ligaments, nerves, tendons, muscles, and other connective tissue in the body. For over 20 years Sports Doctors have incorporated ART as a tool when treating athletes and for this reason it is quite popular with athletes, but ART can be beneficial for anyone with soft tissue injuries. ART has been getting mainstream attention and has been featured in media sources such as Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal and Sports Illustrated. A recent Sports Illustrated article documenting Peyton Manning's return to football after 4 neck surgeries has him explaining how ART has been crucial in his road to recovery.
Common soft tissue injuries that have been resolved by ART include back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, shin splints, shoulder pain, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, knee problems, and tennis elbow. These conditions all have one important thing in common: they are often a result of overused muscles. Overused muscles usually occur in one of three ways: acute condition (pulls, tears, collisions), accumulation of small tears (micro-trauma) and not getting enough oxygen (hypoxia). Each of these factors can cause your body to produce tough, dense scar tissue in the affected area. This scar tissue binds up and ties down tissues that need to move freely. As scar tissue builds up, muscles become shorter and weaker, tension on tendons causes tendonitis, and nerves can become trapped. This can cause reduced range of motion, loss of strength, and pain. If a nerve is trapped you may also feel tingling, numbness, and weakness.
ART has been described as a combination of a massage and stretch, but it is far from a typical massage. ART is an intense and rigorous form of therapy where the practitioner applies heavy pressure through his thumbs and fingers to scar tissue while moving the surrounding muscles in a full range of motion. The purpose is to break up the scar tissue, thus reducing pain and unlocking joints, muscles or tendons that are restricting your range of motion.
In order to perform ART you must be a certified provider, which entails learning over 500 different protocols and getting re-certified every year.If you have any questions or would like to receive ART care feel free to contact us at Chiro-Health.
Below are a few pictures of Chiro-Health performing ART on cyclists at the AIDS Life Cycle event in San Francisco.