Active Release Technique [ART] is a highly successful hands on treatment method to address problems in the soft tissues of the body, including the muscles, ligaments, fascia, and nerves. ART is specifically designed to locate and treat scar tissue adhesions that accumulate in these soft tissue areas, allowing the practitioner to:
- Break adhesions (fibrous bands between tissues or organs resulting from injury or surgery, they may be thought of as internal scar tissue connecting tissues not normally connected)
- Reinstate normal tissue flexibility and movement, and
- More completely restore flexibility, balance and stability to the injured area and to the entire kinetic chain.
Tom, the owner and founder of Cartwright Physicaltherapy, first learnt the technique from the founder of Active Release Techniques, Dr Michael Leahy. Working on Micheal as well as being treated by him, Tom learnt the importance of how best to administer the technique. Michael was very particular about how the patient should feel when being treated by an ART practitioner – if anything, there should be a “comfortable discomfort”, but it should never be painful nor unbearable. Since that time he has completed ART modules in upper and lower limb, spine, nerve entrapments and complex protocols.
You can think of ART as a type of active massage. The practitioner will first shorten the muscle, tendon, or ligament, and then apply a very specific pressure with their hands as you actively stretch and lengthen the tissues. As the tissue lengthens, the practitioner is able to assess the texture and tension of the muscle to determine if the tissue is healthy or contains scar tissue that needing further treatment.
When scar tissue adhesions are felt, the amount and direction of tension can be modified to treat the problematic area. In this sense, each treatment is also an assessment of the health of the area as the practitioner is able to feel specifically where the problem is coming from.
The hands on nature of ART allows the practitioner to further assess and correct problems not only at the site of pain, but in other areas of the kinetic chain. Such problems may be associated with movement compensations and are often contributing factors to the original complaint. This ensures that all the soft tissue structures that have become dysfunctional and are contributing to the specific injury are addressed.
The best attribute of ART is the speed at which results are achieved, particularly when combined with the appropriate home exercises for each condition. Whilst each case is unique with its own factors that determine the duration to full recovery, a significant improvement can be achieved in as little as 4-6 treatments.
The results are the main reason many elite athletes and professional sports teams have ART practitioners on staff, and why ART is an integral part of the Ironman triathlon series.
Why not make an appointment today to see if an ART specialist can help you with your injury?