What is A.R.T. Active Release Technique?


Specially certified healthcare professionals utilize the active release techniques, A.R.T., to diagnose and treat soft tissue injuries created by scar tissue. This manual, hands on treatment divides adhesions which limit normal range of motion causing strain and painful symptoms.


What is Active Release Technique (ART)?


Active Release Techniques (ART) is a guide treatment administered by trained healthcare practitioners to particular soft tissue structures of the human body. The ART soft tissue control process relies on scientific proof that muscles, nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue develop adhesions inside and between them as a result of various injuries that include: acute, or sudden injury, cumulative, or chronic injury, and pressure because of poor posture. These adhesions cause the motion of joints or muscles to be altered, leading to a vast array of signs and symptoms, including fatigue, pain and reduced range of movement, as well as tingling sensations and numbness.


What is the History of A.R.T.?


Michael Leahy, D.C., now practicing in Colorado Springs, Colorado, began developing A.R.T. in 1984. Prior to practicing chiropractic care, Dr. Leahy was an aeronautical engineer with the US Air Force. This technology background enabled Dr. Leahy to strategize soft tissue injuries in a new perspective, turning into the active release technique. Dr. Leahy is now widely considered a top rated soft tissue authority in the United States and the entire world.


What is ART Treatment Like?


After a diagnosis has been achieved according to a medical history and evaluation, treatment can be rendered by the appropriate healthcare professional with experience and certification in the active release technique, ART. Since soft tissue injuries made by scar tissue cannot be detected by a machine, for instance, X-ray or MRI, or by any orthopedic tests, A.R.T. is itself a diagnostic tool. The healthcare practitioner can determine where the adhesions are and also how intense the soft tissue injury is, only by touch.


ART is usually performed using direct contact from the doctor to the patient’s skin. The practitioner will locate the area to be worked on and either have the individual actively move a body part or they will passively move the body part for the individual.


The active release technique (ART) is a hands on treatment in which muscle, fascia, ligament, tendon, nerve, or capsule is held with pressure and tension on the tissue involved (not the skin) in a shortened position, while the arrangement is lengthened through a full, comfortable range of active movement and force is maintained throughout the movement. There is no skin tension or slipping on the epidermis.


Active release technique differs from massage in the use of movement of the limb, or spine under pressure and tension, along with the attention to anatomical detail and potential nerve entrapments in the area. Instead of treating a general region, an active release technique healthcare provider uses their hands to feel damaged or abnormal tissues in muscle, fascia, tendons, ligaments or nerves. Abnormalities present as having a different feel and affect the motion and operation in which a patient can perform.


The qualified and experienced healthcare professional’s contact, coupled with the motion of the patient, allows the adhesions to separate. The therapy protocols, currently amounting to over 500 specific moves, are unique to ART or active release techniques. They allow healthcare practitioners to identify and correct the specific health issues which are impacting each patient.


What is Active Release Techniques (A.R.T)? | Video



Does A.R.T. Hurt?


Active release techniques, or ART, goes right after the adhesion in order to break up the scar tissues producing the painful symptoms and malfunction. Considering these sites are extremely sensitive to begin with, A.R.T. might cause some discomfort described by many patients as a “good hurt”. However, pressure or tension is never applied beyond the patient’s tolerance.


How Long Does ART Treatment Last?


Each individual’s active release technique differs. On average, between 2 to 6 visits, each lasting about 15 to 30 minutes, are needed for correction of soft tissue problems. Factors that affect this range include the intensity of the health issue, the individual’s willingness to take part in their treatment and the patient’s overall health status. Patients need to have an active part in their recovery to help lower the chances of reoccurrence. This may entail strengthening a certain tissue or altering certain physical activities.


ART is considered one of the best and most successful treatments for soft tissue injuries. However, like any other therapy, ART can not fix everything. If significant improvement isn’t seen throughout the course of treatment, other treatments options will be considered to fully resolve the patients injuries or conditions. Healthcare professionals generally will not encourage ongoing sessions if no improvement is observed within a specific number of visits.


Who Can Benefit from A.R.T.?


Anybody who is in pain due to a soft tissue injury can benefit from the active release technique. ART is utilized in a clinical setting on professional and olympic athletes, office workers, laborers, housewives, young athletes, in addition to many others. These individuals all have in common their altered movement patterns, but their mechanism or trigger often differs. A.R.T. effectively heals muscles, tendons and ligaments throughout the body that are very congested with scar tissue by freeing up their ability to function and thereby decreasing pain and other painful symptoms.


Active release techniques can also be effective in treating plantar nerve entrapments in which a nerve is entangled by scar tissue and has pressure or tension exerted during specific positions or movements. Through a healthcare provider’s extensive training, they’re taught where the nerves are likely entrapped and how best to reduce the adhesions. This provides individuals who suffer from sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome and other peripheral nerve entrapments a fast and effortless solution for their complaints. Palliative therapies such as ART ought to be researched before a person has decided they cannot be properly treated due to their current health and wellness. If it is a soft tissue structure that is causing your pain, it could most likely be fixed.




How Does ART Help?


Active release technique promotes faster healing, recovery of normal tissue function, and may also prevent future injuries. For the athlete, it is going to make it possible for them to train better and more frequently. For the employee, it can keep them injury free, if used as a preventative therapy.


Abnormal tissue, or scar tissue, can go unnoticed by an athlete as well as for the office employee and it may manifest into an injury. Symptoms of damaged tissue include tightening and shortening of the muscle. What was once simple could become a chore, for instance, stiffer golf swing rotation, or fighting to reach your seatbelt. A reduction of mobility, limited range of motion, poor biomechanics, overcompensation along other body parts, and loss of strength could all be identified and adjusted with ART. Many times, a patient will not understand why scar tissue is building up until it is too late. No apparent injury is necessary for this to happen.


Possibly an IT band pain can be traced back to some dysfunctional hip. Tingling sensations or numbness in the hand may be from constant insult to the nerve from poor computer desk setup along with the shoulder, neck, forearm posture causing the nerve to be entrapped up the arm or neck; it doesn’t even have to develop in your hand.


How Does ART Improve Performance?


Performance of almost any activity, such as golfing, typing, walking or running could be improved considerably with the active release technique, or ART, by restoring proper muscle function and motion to permit the entire body to perform at its most efficient level. Adhesions create drag and tension which requires additional energy and effort to accomplish a desired movement. Reaction times may also be enhanced as muscle function is improved.


Who Can Provide Active Release Technique?


Only certified healthcare professionals in active release techniques, such as chiropractors or physical therapists, can efficiently render treatment. Regrettably, there are a number of people who claim they provide ART but don’t really get the true training needed to provide safe and efficient therapy. It’s essential to find a qualified and experienced healthcare practitioner in A.R.T..


Dr. Alex Jimenez’s Insight

Active release technique is a type of soft tissue therapy which helps relieve tight muscles and nerve trigger points, tremendously reducing joint stress and muscular pains. Relieving muscle stiffness and trigger points can make a big difference towards improving overall health and wellness. Furthermore, the active release technique, or A.R.T., can help turn on muscles which may have been turned off due to trauma from an injury or an aggravated condition. ART is primarily used to treat health issues which affect muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and even nerves, which contribute to the formation of scar tissue, strains and sprains as well as pain and inflammation.


The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic as well as to spinal injuries and conditions. To discuss the subject matter, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .


Curated by Dr. Alex Jimenez



Additional Topics: Sciatica

Sciatica is medically referred to as a collection of symptoms, rather than a single injury and/or condition. Symptoms of sciatic nerve pain, or sciatica, can vary in frequency and intensity, however, it is most commonly described as a sudden, sharp (knife-like) or electrical pain that radiates from the low back down the buttocks, hips, thighs and legs into the foot. Other symptoms of sciatica may include, tingling or burning sensations, numbness and weakness along the length of the sciatic nerve. Sciatica most frequently affects individuals between the ages of 30 and 50 years. It may often develop as a result of the degeneration of the spine due to age, however, the compression and irritation of the sciatic nerve caused by a bulging or herniated disc, among other spinal health issues, may also cause sciatic nerve pain.





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Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "What is A.R.T. Active Release Technique?" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

Blog Information & Scope Discussions

Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, acupuncture, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from various disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and directly or indirectly support our clinical scope of practice.*

Our office has reasonably attempted to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.

We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez, DC, or contact us at 915-850-0900.

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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN*, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*

email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com

Licensed as a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) in Texas & New Mexico*
Texas DC License # TX5807, New Mexico DC License # NM-DC2182

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