Active Release Technique® (ART) can be used to treat a variety of musculoskeletal conditions.
What is Active Release Technique?
Active Release Technique® is helpful to athletes and other types of chiropractic patients. It is a “soft tissue system/movement based massage technique” that can treat a variety of conditions. ART sessions involve an exam and treatment. The provider can use palpation to feel the tightness, texture, and movement of muscles, nerves, ligaments, tendons, and fascia. They then treat the condition by using “precisely directed tension with very specific patient movements” on the abnormal tissues. There are “over 500 specific moves (that are) unique to ART”. Patients are treated as individuals with specialized therapy.1 ART is best suited to “releasing scar tissue adhesions”. In the body, there are about 150 areas where peripheral nerves may become tethered or squeezed (entrapped). Repetitive motions can lead to inflammation and pain, otherwise known as “repetitive stress syndrome” or “cumulative trauma disorder”. Common types of repetitive strain injuries are tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, and carpal tunnel syndrome. In medical treatments, these kinds of injuries may be treated by using medications to mask the pain, steroid injections, or surgery. These methods do not address the underlying problem. Steroid injections for carpal tunnel syndrome have a failure rate of 72.6%, and carpal tunnel surgery has “a 57% failure rate” with some symptoms returning, such as tingling, numbness, and pain within 6 years. Stopping or changing the activities that aggravate the condition is the first step, but the scar tissue still needs to be treated. Active Release Technique® is an option for many athletes and patients to deal with the underlying problem of scar tissue adhesions. The tension is adjusted for the individual patient to a “hurts good level of discomfort”. Over-treating could cause inflammation, so the ART practitioner generally uses “no more than three or four repetitions” in the same area.2
Uses for ART and Certification
ART can also treat shoulder pain, shin splints, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, headaches, knee problems, back pain, and more musculoskeletal conditions. Active Release Technique® is especially beneficial for “overused muscles”. Muscles and soft tissues, when overused, can become an acute condition (such as collisions, pulls, and tears), an accumulation of micro-trauma (small tears), or develop hypoxia (lacking oxygen). Scar tissue may result, preventing freedom of movement, shortening and weakening muscles. Tendonitis could then occur, leading to a decrease in range of motion, pain, and a loss of strength. If there is nerve entrapment as well, the patient or athlete may experience numbness, tingling, and weakness.3 ART practitioners can be certified in a variety of areas, such as Upper Extremity Certified, Lower Extremity Certified, Biomechanics Certified, Spine Certified, Active Palpation, Complex Protocols Certified, Masters Certified, Nerve Entrapment Certified, or even become part of the Ironman® Provider Network.4 Some ART providers work as specialists in chiropractic offices, such as Dr. Joshua Lederman at Carson Chiropractic, giving patients and athletes more therapeutic options when visiting the chiropractor.5
1, 3 http://www.activerelease.com/what_patients.asp
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