Active Release Techniques (ART®)
Active Release Techniques (ART®) is a new and highly successful approach for dealing with overuse and "repetitive strain" injuries to muscles, tendons, fascia, nerves, and other soft tissues. Developed in the USA by aeronautical engineer and chiropractor Dr. Michael Leahy in the 1980's and 90's, ART® has revolutionized the treatment of problematic soft-tissue injuries- those that elude cure with the traditional means of medications, rest and surgery.
The goal of ART® is to restore optimal tissue texture, tension and motion by removing adhesions and scar tissue from tissues and tissue layers. This, in turn, decreases the mechanical stresses on irritated or inflamed structures allowing for quicker recovery and fewer reoccurrences of injury. Removing adhesions and scar tissue from problematic areas is the key difference between ART® and most traditional forms of soft tissue treatment such as medications, massage, ultrasound and surgical repair. Whereas most conventional therapies require extended periods of time, rest and time off work before clear signs of improvement are seen, treatments with Active Release Techniques® are usually relatively fast-acting.
Significant improvements at the site of pain and injury can usually be seen within 2-5 treatments which makes this treatment impressive compared to traditional methods. In our experience at Bliss Clinic, we find that, yes, changes in levels of pain and tissue functioning can indeed happen rather quickly with this method, which is always encouraging. Still, ART® must be used intelligently as a part of an overall treatment plan to correct not only the malfunctioning, painful part but also the various causes that have contributed to the problem in the first place. These underlying causes are often located elsewhere in the body and in problematic lifestyle factors. (eg. poor posture, suboptimal tissue nutrition, overuse, sleep disturbances, negative emotions such as anger/frustration plus stress.) Successful treatment restores health not only to the diseased part but also to the whole. This itself may take time, although the impressive changes, with the help of ART® techniques, can speed the process along nicely saving valuable time, money and personal resources.
Known as an effective and inexpensive treatment method, ART® has been found to significantly reduce the costs resulting from repetitve/overstrain injuries. For example, in North America many large corporations have integrated ART® as part of their occupational healthcare.
ART® can be very effective in reducing the need for surgery. In addition, it often has good success in post-surgical cases where surgery has failed. When surgery is required, ART® treatment before and/or after the operation can usually provide added value in maximizing the healing of the injured area. In any case, ART® stands alone in its ability to free adhesions and scar tissue which have formed as a result of chronic repetitive strain (microtrauma), chronic inflammation and surgical interventions.
Typical conditions treated with Active Release Techniques (ART®):
- Nerve entrapments (carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica)
- Golf-/tennis elbow
- Shoulder tendinitis
- Achilles tendinitis
- Plantar fasciitis
- Runner's knee
- Patellofemoral syndrome
- Shin splints
- Low back pain
- Neck pain and headaches