An Overview of Active Release Technique


If you are in pain and considering visiting a chiropractor, consider finding a practitioner who is trained in Active Release Technique, or ART. This is a specialized treatment protocol consisting of 500 patented massage-type moves used to relieve pain due to overuse injuries.

Some of the most common conditions that can be healed with ART include back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches, knee problems, plantar fasciitis, sciatica, shin splints, shoulder pain, and tennis elbow.

The Anatomy of a Healthy Muscle

Healthy muscles are long and flexible, providing strength and enabling healthy people to move without pain or stiffness. These are the muscles that have been pushed to their limits and used regularly, usually by exercising. Muscles that are not used or exercised will atrophy, causing a decrease in size and strength.

Muscles and tissues that have been overused, however, can change and cause pain. These changes are:

  1. Acute conditions – such as pulls, tears, or collisions
  2. Hypoxia – not getting enough oxygen
  3. Microtrauma – a collection of small tears

Any of these muscle changes will cause scar tissue to develop on the muscle or tissue, thus making it weaker, less flexible, and possibly trapping nerves. One possible remedy for these types of injuries is ART.

How Does ART Help Overused Muscle Injuries?

Dr. P. Michael Leahy, DC, CCSP, is the creator of ART and he realized that these soft tissue changes can be felt by hand rather than by expensive and inconvenient xrays. By observing how muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and nerves respond to different types of work, ART practitioners use hand movements to apply direct pressure to the injured muscle, thus softening the scar tissue and alleviating the patient’s pain.

With over 500 manipulative techniques, ART can be easily customized for each individual patient and their needs. Different bodies respond differently, even if the treatment regimine is the same, so customizing the ART treatment improves the success rate.

ART Training for Practitioners

Active Release Technique training is considered continuing education for practitioners, with classes held at multiple locations throughout the world. Each training session focuses on a certain body location, such as lower extremities, upper extremities, spine, and nerve entrapment.   There is also a Master’s Class and Certification Renewal class.

Be Your Own Healthcare Advocate

Knowledge is powerful and a patient’s best interest is well served by asking a lot of questions. Ask for referrals from friends and family rather than just picking a practitioner blindly from the phone book. Interview a practitioner prior to starting treatment to be sure you like his or her bedside manner and communication skills. Ask about his or her credentials and for their opinion about whether ART is an appropriate treatment for your problems.

Work as a partner with your practitioner and you will achieve great results.

The Score Clinic is a San Jose-based alternative health clinic specializing in the art of healing through physiotherapy, chiropractic, rehabilitation, massage therapy and exercise. Our dedicated staff is ready to create your individual treatment plan and to answer your questions.

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