What is Active Release Technique?

Active Release Technique, also known as ART, has been around for over three decades. This technique targets the soft tissues of the body, treating both acute and chronic pain issues or injuries. 

Developed by Dr. P. Michael Leahy, ART was created to address the symptoms that patients reported having within their soft tissues. It was first used to help elite athletes. Today, this technique is available to anyone with accessibility to manual therapy (such as physiotherapy, massage therapy or chiropractic care) and who is experiencing pain and muscle tension. 

In this article, we’ll dig into this technique a little further. What should you know? Does your pain potentially require Active Release Technique? Let’s find out!

What is ART?

So, what is Active Release Technique, exactly? What does it involve?

Essentially, ART is a non-invasive form of manual therapy that works to release soft tissue adhesions and restriction for improved mobility and reduced pain. It combines both manipulation techniques and movement. Ultimately, it aims to release or break down scar tissue — which often inhibits mobility and causes pain. 

During this technique, your manual therapist will place your limb or affected body part into an active position. This means positioning your body so that the muscle they are working on is shortened. 

When this muscle is shortened, your manual therapist will then apply tension to the area. Next, they’ll instruct you to lengthen the muscle by moving a certain way. Afterward, you should feel a release. 

In a way, this technique works very similar to massage techniques. In fact, many massage therapists use this technique in their practice for a more targeted release.

Which Body Parts Can Be Treated?

Active Release Technique (ART) is great for all kinds of injuries or conditions — whether they be acute or chronic. 

Some common conditions that ART can help treat include:

  • Lower Back Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Sciatica
  • Headaches
  • Tennis and Golfer’s Elbow
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Shin Splints
  • Runner’s Knee
  • Frozen Shoulder
  • Post-Surgery Scars or Adhesions
  • Tendonitis
  • Sports Injuries
  • And More

ART can treat most issues involving your muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves. Specifically, it targets the myofascial, major muscle groups and connective tissues.

The Benefits

ART further comes with an array of benefits. By releasing the adhesion that is causing soft tissues to become ‘stuck,’ you can expect to experience reduced pain and increased range of motion after receiving this treatment. 

When an adhesion is causing tissues to stick together, this limits the movement of muscles nearby and increases tension, which may cause varying degrees of pain or pain in certain positions. On top of addressing these issues, ART also improves circulation — which can be very beneficial for overall healing after an injury and for management of chronic conditions.

While receiving this treatment, you may feel some pain followed by relief. In truth, many individuals find this technique to be uncomfortable during it, but also find it to be completely worthwhile afterwards. As with any technique, you want to ensure you are receiving treatment from a trained and experienced professional who is also a ART certified provider.

Contact My Physio Sports Today

And if you’re on the hunt for an ART certified provider, look no further! At My Physio Sports and Rehab Centre in Vaughan, Ontario, we’re here to help you overcome pain and get back to the activities you know and love. 

Call us today at 905-850-6683 or fill out our online contact form. Let us help guide you toward a better life, without pain standing in your way!

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