Active Release Techniques

Do you have sore, tired, aching muscles and joints? Have you suffered from a fall or an injury that hasn’t fully healed? The truth is that, at some point in our lives, we have all had times where constant aches and pains have gotten us down. But there is a solution to relieving this tension and restoring movement for long term gain: Active Release Techniques (ART).

What are Active Release Techniques?

ART focus on relieving pain at the source of the discomfort by releasing accumulated scar tissue. Active release therapy sessions are a combination of examination and treatment: the provider uses their skills and hands to evaluate a number of issues by evaluating texture, tightness, and movement. Problem areas found in the examination are treated with a combination of specific movements and precise tension. This helps to realign the scar tissue to allow increased movement and pain relief. This normally happens over a series of appointments.

Active Release Therapy is a state-of-the-art soft tissue treatment technique designed to treat problems involving:

  1. muscles,
  2. tendons,
  3. ligaments,
  4. fascia, and
  5. nerves.

The goal of Active Release Techniques is to reduce knots, scar tissue and adhesions that can build up over time as a result of overused muscles. Active release techniques will restore smooth movement to the affected area(s). Treatments can also provide relief, resolve conditions and help with pain, soft tissue issues and repetitive strain injuries.

How do we build up tension? Why can’t stretching or exercise alleviate pain and stiffness?

We all naturally accumulate scar tissue throughout our daily activities. This process helps to strengthen our tissues as we move and adapt to life’s various activities and strains. However, this scar tissue can start to limit our movement and functionality without proper maintenance and care. The same can be said when we have a trauma or injury: scar tissue acts as a protective barrier around the injury to help with healing. Once that healing is done, however, the scar tissue can restrict our full range of movement, causing us to use other muscles to compensate, which can tire out our bodies. Think of sausage links in a frying pan when they get stuck to the bottom of the pan: this is how your scar tissue becomes over time. Stretching and exercise are always good maintenance for our bodies, but may not be enough when scar tissue is limiting our function. In these instances, ART can provide relief.

How are ART certified providers credentialed?

ART certified providers are credentialed by completing a training seminar, followed by hands-on testing to determine if they are qualified to practice ART.

All ART certified providers must complete a seminar once every 12 months, and a hands-on seminar with testing every 24 months.

ART certified providers can choose to complete seminars on upper extremities, lower extremities, spine and nerve conditions. Not every provider chooses to complete all seminars, so be sure to choose a provider that can help treat your specific injury.

Can I benefit from ART treatments?

Absolutely! Many athletes, office workers, arthritis sufferers, and individuals with nerve related issues or who have experienced trauma of any sort can benefit.

Patients with the following conditions may also benefit from ART treatments:

  • Tension headaches
  • Chronic neck pain
  • Post-concussion neck restrictions and pain
  • Shoulder strains, including frozen shoulder
  • Tennis elbow
  • Tendonitis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Lower back pain
  • Sciatica
  • Bursitis
  • Knee pain and problems, including patellofemoral, iliotibial band, arthritis
  • Shin splints
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • And much more!

Do ART treatments hurt?

With the use of precise pressure to realign your scar tissue, ART can cause tenderness or soreness at times. Patients have said it feels like “a good hurt” or “like someone removing a thorn”. It should never hurt to the point of unbearable pain. Your practitioner will consult with you before and during the treatment to help find the right level of comfort for you.

What results can I expect to see following ART treatments?

Depending on your injury, you may need multiple ART treatments to see long standing results. However, once the scar tissue is broken down and released, you should feel:

  • Less muscle stiffness
  • Increased range of motion after injury
  • Improved strength and flexibility
  • Relief from joint pain and inflammation
  • Less pain and a return to physical activities you previously enjoyed
  • Faster recovery from sports injuries
  • Prevention of future sports injuries
  • Increased sports performance
  • Enhanced quality of life

Scar tissue is a normal strengthening process but it doesn’t have to cause you pain or interfere with your activities. With a goal-oriented approach, regular maintenance, and education & recommendations on lifestyle changes for your specific area of pain, ART can help keep you limber and ready to take on what life throws at you.

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