Everything You Need to Know About the Active Release Technique (ART)
Active Release Technique (ART) is a highly effective therapeutic technique employed by chiropractors to provide rapid relief to patients suffering from a variety of muscular ailments. Unlike chiropractic adjustments that address joint pain, ART is capable of successfully treating almost any musculoskeletal disorder.
What is ART?
Active Release Technique is a form of myofascial release that is successful in treating chronic pain and stiffness due to repetitive motion injuries in the soft tissue systems of the body. This patented technique is effective in treating:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Similar Injuries
- Tennis Elbow
- Shin Splints
- Frozen Shoulder
- Neck Ache
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Knee Problems
- Nerve Impingements
How Does ART Work?
ART is a painless, non-invasive therapeutic procedure that works to return muscles, tendons, and ligaments to their normal functionality swiftly and permanently. The injuries listed above share a singular commonality: they often occur from overuse. Because of this overuse, the muscles develop scar tissue known as Myofascial Adhesions. These adhesions, or scar tissue, prevent the muscles, tendons, and ligaments from moving freely, thus causing dysfunction and pain.
The longer the scar tissue remains in the muscles, the tighter and weaker they become, sometimes trapping nerves and causing pain, numbness, or tingling in addition to functionality and strength reduction. The patented Active Release Technique disintegrates myofascial adhesions, and allows the body to heal and regain movement and function.
Treatment consists of identifying the myofascial adhesions in the muscles, tendons, or ligaments and applying pressure while alternately stretching and contracting the muscle. This breaks-up the scar tissue and restores the muscle fibers to their proper parallel position.
ART treatment is a swift and effective treatment, which can provide noticeable results in as little as one treatment. Treatment times vary, depending on the location and severity of the injury, as well as the buildup of scar tissue. Typically, four to seven visits is all it takes!
Can Anyone “Do ART”?
No. Only healthcare professionals whose expertise lay in kinesiology (body mechanics) perform ART. As a rule, Medical Doctors are not interested in ART. Approximately 80% of the practitioners who use ART are chiropractors. The remaining 20% are physical therapists, massage therapists and athletic trainers. Most professional sports teams employ at least one ART-Certified chiropractor or trainer, because it restores function so quickly and allows athletes to return to the playing field almost immediately.
Learning ART is an arduous and costly undertaking. ART Certification comprises three courses over a four-day-long seminar. During the seminar, the three main sections of the body are explored: the spine, upper extremities and lower extremities
Upon completion of the seminar, practitioners must score at least 90% on the Certification Test. Additionally, ART practitioners must attend recertification seminars yearly in order to remain qualified and proficient in the art of ART.
How Long Does an Appointment Last?
ART sessions normally take around 15 minutes, but depend on variables such as practitioner preference and the location of injury. Patients often describe the treatment as “intense but with a good kind of hurt.” They go on to say that, “it feels like it’s working,” and experience almost immediate relief.
Each session consists of a thorough examination, evaluation the movement, restrictions and texture of the muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves in question. Then, the patient will have an opportunity to report and symptoms they may be experiencing such as pain, tingling, numbness or loss of motion. The physical exam allows the practitioner to determine the damage and location of specific muscles and ligaments and provide precisely controlled movements to release the tension in that area. There are over 500 specific movements unique to ART, which makes the technique highly customizable to each individual patient’s needs.
Given the time and financial commitment involved in the Active Release Technique certification, its practitioners are exceptionally knowledgeable in the technique and committed to its use. The time it takes to learn 500 specific treatment movements, alone, provides an invaluable and exclusive lesson in anatomy.
That said, if you’re serious about restoring mobility and function to your body without resorting to surgery, you owe it to yourself to try Active Release Technique.