Active Release Techniques (ART)
Can ART® improve my performance?
By restoring proper muscle movement, proper muscle function is also restored. This allows the body to perform as efficiently as possible. As an athlete, you want your body to be performing at the most efficient level possible.
Active Release Techniques® Frequently Asked Questions
What is Active Release Techniques®?
Active Release Techniques®, or ART® for short, is a hands-on system that treats problems with soft tissues. Because it is hands-on, practitioners can diagnose and treat the soft tissues such as; muscles, ligaments, tendons, fascia, and nerves.
When is ART® needed?
ART® is needed when soft tissues become injured. There are many different ways that injury can occur;
1. Acute Injury
Example: getting kicked in the thigh This type of injury results in inflammation and compromises function of the tissue.
2. Repetitive Injury
Example: assembly line worker doing the same task many times a day. This type of injury results in tight and weak muscles which will result in having to work harder for a given task.
3. Constant Pressure / Tension Injury
Example: poor posture causing muscle tension This type of injury decreases circulation and compromises recovery of the tissue.
Once a tissue is injured in the ways described above, your body will produce dense, tough scar tissue or "adhesions" in the affected area.
Why are adhesions bad?
Adhesions alter what is normal for a tissue. It ties down the tissues that need to move freely. Without treating the adhesions, the scar tissue builds up and results in:
1. shorter and weaker muscles
2. tension on the tendons
3. pressure on nerves
As a result, there is a loss of range of motion, loss of strength, and pain. A nerve CAN become trapped and you may feel numbness/tingling, shooting pain, burning sensations and weakness.
What is an ART® treatment like?
Each ART® session consists of an exam of the tissue and treatment of the tissue. The ART® practitioner evaluates the tissues for signs of tightness, abnormal movement, and abnormal texture. Once the adhesions are located, the practitioner will apply tension to the tissue while lengthening the tissue thus breaking down the adhesions.
Treatments may feel uncomfortable. Remember, the practitioner is breaking up scar tissue, so it should feel uncomfortable. A duplication of the symptoms should be felt during treatment. This is a good indicator that the problem is being identified. The discomfort is temporary are usually subsides once the treatment is over.
ART® is not a magic cure for soft tissue injuries; however, it has very good results with most conditions. It is non-invasive and has virtually no side effects.
How long does an ART® treatments last?
The length of an ART® treatment varies depending upon the injury. Generally, anywhere from 8-15 minutes is appropriate for an ART® treatment. The number of treatments also varies depending upon the condition. Generally, 3-6 treatments are needed.
Will my condition/problem return after a course of treatment?
Generally, changes from ART® treatments are permanent. However, patient compliance post-ART® is imperative to ensure that the changes are, indeed, permanent. Post-ART® compliance may include; proper posture, modifying activity, regular stretching, or performing daily exercises.
Who should consider ART®?
ART® can be helpful for anyone who leads an active lifestyle or sits at a computer all day. Repetitive strain exists in just about all of us. Many runners, for example, will have problems with their Iliotibial Band (ITB) or their hip flexors due to repetitive movements during the running cycle. Desk sitters will may have upper and/or lower back complaints due to sitting in the same position all day or may have forearm complaints due to using a mouse. From the athlete to the desk sitter, ART® may be right for you.
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.