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Active Release Technique

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What is Active Release Technique?

Active Release Technique (ART) is an effective approach to treating soft tissue injuries and resulting pain. Chiropractic professionals use this movement-based soft tissue technique to treat problems with nerves, fascia, ligaments and tendons. It is designed specifically to target adhesions that result when scar tissue is formed.

ART is an effective treatment that can help everyone, and is frequently used by professional athletes to help with the following conditions:

  • Recurrent sprain and strain injuries
  • Tendonitis or recurrent tissue inflammation of the wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees and feet
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Spinal pain and dysfunction
  • Sciatica
  • Chronic whiplash pain

How does Active Release Technique work?

When an individual has trauma or injury to their tissues, the tissues themselves experience strains or tears, which can lead to the formation of scar tissue. Scar tissue is extremely difficult to repair if not treated properly. It can also lead to chronic strain or pain conditions.

Chiropractors will evaluate the texture, tightness and movement of your muscles, fascia,tendons, ligaments and nerves. Applying direct tension while the patient performs certain movements will help to relieve the condition.

ART works by breaking up the adhesions formed by scar tissue.  Chiropractors will begin by locating these adhesions in your body, and will then use the ART technique to fully lengthen the affected muscle(s).

What are the Benefits of Active Release Technique?

ART offers the following benefits:

  • Promotes rapid recovery from injury
  • Is extremely effective at improving athletic performance
  • Successfully resolves repetitive pain and strains
  • Is a natural treatment for inflammation and therefore significantly reduces a patient’s need for medication

How effective is Active Release Technique?

Studies have shown that ART has a success rate of over 70 percent. This, of course, is dependent on the patient’s compliance to treatment, home exercise and rehabilitative care.

Most conditions can be successfully resolved with as few as two to five treatments.

How do overuse conditions occur?

Over-use of muscles and soft tissues can cause the following:

  • Acute conditions (pulls, tears, collisions)
  • Accumulation of small tears (micro-trauma, repetitive sprains and strains)
  • Hypoxia (lack of oxygen) (prolonged static positions, postural stresses) to the affected area

Each of these conditions can occur from a traumatic slip and fall or simply as a result of poor posture over time, and 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 can cause tendonitis, and nerves can become trapped. This can cause reduced range of motion (ROM), loss of strength, tension and pain. If a nerve is trapped you may also feel tingling, numbness and weakness.

Is Active Release Technique treatment painful?

The treatment itself is not painful, however, depending on the amount of acute inflammation you are experiencing, it may feel like you are receiving a Deep Massage.

Chiropractors will provide you with home care instructions to follow to help alleviate any soreness post-treatment.

What is the history of the Active Release Technique?

ART was developed by P. Michael Leahy, D.C., CCSP. Dr. Leahy used his background of aeronautical engineering to determine an effective way to treat soft tissue injuries that failed to respond to other treatments.

Complementary Therapies to Active Release Technique:

Combining the ART technique with other treatments can have excellent results. These other treatments can include the following:

Spinal Manipulative Therapy

A hands-on treatment that combines physical and chiropractic therapies together. SMT is a popular and effective method of diagnosing,treating, and preventing injury and illness.

Registered Massage Therapy

Therapeutic massage techniques that treat deep structures within the body such as, organs, joints, bones and ligaments. RMT can assist in the relief ofmany different acute or chronic diseases.

Laser Therapy can assist with circulation and healing of the structure that is being worked on. As well, if there is any inflammation post-ART treatment, laser therapy can facilitate faster healing and recovery.

The Graston Technique

A progressive technique that uses an instrument mobilization tool to allow your health professional to actively break down scar tissue. The Graston Technique can address any fascia constraints you may be experiencing due to injury.

What is the difference between Registered Massage Therapy and ART?

Registered Massage Therapy is a technique that focuses on the soft tissue and joints of the body, and helps prevent pain, injury, and the development of diseases and illnesses.

The follow conditions respond well to RMT:

Massage therapy isn’t just a hands-on technique. As well as massage, treatment can consist of hydrotherapy, stretching techniques, strengthening exercises, and postural exercises.

The ultimate goal of massage therapy is to assess and address issues of the soft tissues and joints of the body in order to reduce injuries, pain and other conditions.

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