Active Release Technique


Active Release Technique

Most healthcare providers use techniques of massage, trigger point, electrical modalities and ultrasound with varying degrees of specificity to treat soft tissue problems. These all provide reasonable results but there is a much better way.

ART is patented because it is different than anything else. This protects the public from healthcare providers who are willing to do it half way. To learn ART you must be serious enough to invest a great deal of time and effort to learn over 500 treatment moves or "protocols." More important than that, you must be able to develop a very advanced "feel" for the tissues and their texture, tension and movement. You must come to understand and evaluate the movement of each tissue relative to the one next to it and as an absolute value unto itself. This is an anatomy class like no other.

How do overuse conditions occur?

Over-used muscles (and other soft tissues) change in three important ways:

  • acute conditions (pulls, tears, collisions, etc)
  • accumulation of small tears (micro-trauma)
  • 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.

What is an ART treatment like?

Every ART session is actually a combination of examination and treatment. The ART provider uses his or her hands to evaluate the texture, tightness and movement of muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and nerves. Abnormal tissues are treated by combining precisely directed tension with very specific patient movements.

These treatment protocols - over 500 specific moves - are unique to ART. They allow providers to identify and correct the specific problems that are affecting each individual patient. ART is not a cookie-cutter approach.

What is the history of Active Release Techniques?

ART has been developed, refined, and patented by P. Michael Leahy, DC, CCSP. Dr. Leahy noticed that his patients' symptoms seemed to be related to changes in their soft tissue that could be felt by hand. By observing how muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and nerves responded to different types of work, Dr. Leahy was able to consistently resolve over 90% of his patients' problems. He now teaches and certifies health care providers all over the world to use ART.

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