Active Release Technique (ART)

ART ® stands for Active Release Technique ®. It is a new and highly successful hands-on treatment method to address problems in the soft tissues of the body, including the muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, joint capsules and nerves. What makes ART different from other treatments is that it is designed to identify and address injured, imbalanced, inflexible tissue and adhesions/scar tissue that are interfering with the normal function of the body. Non- compliant tissues exhibit poor circulation, weakness, inflexibility and muscle tenderness or discomfort. By locating and treating the soft-tissue adhesions with ART, it allows the practitioner to: 1) break-up restrictive adhesions, 2) restore normal tissue translation and movement and 3) more completely restore strength, flexibility, balance, and stability to the spine and surrounding area.

Think of ART as a type of active massage. The practitioner will first shorten the muscle, tendon, ligament, nerve, or joint capsule, and then apply a very specific tension 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 tissue to determine if the tissue is healthy or contains scar tissue/adhesion that needs further treatment. When scar tissue/adhesions are felt, the amount and direction of tension can be modified to treat the problematic area.

There are over 500 specific ART treatment protocols which allow the practitioner to “feel” which structures have become problematic and require treatment. In this sense, each treatment is also an assessment of the health of the area as we are able to feel where the problem is occurring. An additional benefit of ART is it can allow us to further assess and correct problems not only at the spine, but also in other areas of the “kinetic chain,” such as the hip. This ensures that all the soft tissues that have become dysfunctional and are contributing to the specific back problem are addressed, even if they have not all developed pain.

One of the best things about ART is how fast it can get results. In our experience, the majority of muscle, tendon, ligament, nerve, fascia, and joint capsule problems respond very well to ART treatments, especially when combined with home stretching and strengthening exercises. Although each case is unique and there are several factors that will determine the length of time it will require to fully resolve each condition, we usually find a significant improvement can be gained in just six to eight treatments.


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