Seaside Blog – What is Active Release Techniques® (ART)?

What is ART®?

ART® is a system that can help a practitioner diagnose and treat injuries to soft tissues, including muscles, tendons, nerves, ligaments and fascia. Tissues that are overused or have adhesions (knots) within them feel different and affect the movement of the tissue. A certified practitioner will detect which structures aren’t moving properly and will use specific protocols to restore the proper range of motion and decrease tension in affected areas.

What is ART® good for?

ART® can be a useful technique for a wide range of injuries throughout the entire human body. It has been shown to be very effective for treating headaches, back pain, shoulder pain, knee problems, plantar fasciopathy and tennis elbow, along with numerous other conditions.

Since it is helpful for a broad number of conditions, a wide range of patients can benefit from ART® as part of their treatment. Firstly, many high level athletes receive ART® to help with adhesions they develop during intense training and competition. Any individual training for an event will place a toll on parts of his or her body. Some problems arise from an acute injury, such as a muscle strain or ligament sprain. Other soft tissue injuries result from cumulative strain, which causes microtrauma (small tearing) and decreased oxygen to affected structures.

In addition to athletes, ART® can significantly help office workers. Sitting at a desk places a lot of strain on numerous parts of the body and often negatively affects posture. Although a different mechanism, this repetitive strain causes a lack of oxygen and microtrauma to the soft tissues similarly to athletes, leading to pain and dysfunction.

How does ART® work?

The first part of ART® treatment is an assessment of the tissues. The practitioner assesses with his or her hands in order to find any adhesions or other changes in the tissue. Once the affected tissues are found, the goal of treatment is to eliminate adhesions and to restore the oxygen supply to the area. In order to accomplish this, the practitioner applies tension to a particular area while the patient performs a specific movement to stretch that tissue. Each movement is repeated a few times to help increase blood flow and break apart the adhesions in order to make the area more mobile. Often people will report a stretch-like sensation during treatment and notice a decrease in tension and increase in range of motion shortly after treatment is completed.

Final Word

ART® is a specific examination and treatment technique that can be very beneficial for anyone experiencing a soft-tissue injury or dysfunction. It works quite well in combination with joint mobilizations or adjustments and rehabilitation exercises in order to help increase mobility and decrease pain and discomfort. Receiving a thorough assessment from a health practitioner is key for a treatment involving ART® in order to ensure that the right tissues are being treated.

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