Active Release Techniques (ART)
ART is a state of the art soft-tissue treatment system and movement based massage technique. Typically the patient, while standing, seated or lying down, lengthens a muscle. This is the “active” part of Active Release Techniques – the patient lengthening the muscle to be treated. While this is happening, the healthcare provider (such as a Chiropractor ) will be applying appropriate tension to the involved muscle. In this way the muscle treated by the Chiropractor becomes more elastic.
Active Release Techniques is a proprietary brand name. Andrew Hunter, once heard David Weinstock, founder of NeuroKinetic Therapy (NKT) (see neurokinetictherapy.com) describe ART in a lecture as a “pin & stretch” technique. This is quite a good informal descriptive name as it describes exactly what happens: a tissue is shortened, the Chiropractor pins it with his hands and the patient then stretches it. ART treats a whole range problems which have a muscle, tendon, ligament, fascial or neural component.
Many musculoskeletal conditions have one important thing in common: they are often a result of overused muscles. That is, if one muscle is inhibited and not doing its job properly, then another muscle will have to step up and do extra work. It is that “over-working muscle” which then becomes subject to over-use injury.
Over-use injuries can occur in many ways. For example, in acute conditions, as the result of pulls, tears, and collisions. Secondly, as a result of an accumulation of small tears. That is through micro-trauma. Thirdly, through not getting enough oxygen (hypoxia). Each of these factors can cause your body to produce tough, dense scar tissue in the affected area. This scar tissue binds up and ties down tissues that need to move freely. As scar tissue builds up, muscles become shorter and weaker, tension on tendons causes tendonitis, and nerves can become trapped. This can cause reduced range of motion, loss of strength, and pain. If a nerve is trapped you may also feel tingling, numbness, and weakness.
What is an ART treatment like?
Every ART session is actually a combination of examination and treatment. The Chiropractor, or other ART provider, uses his or her hands to evaluate the texture, tightness and movement of muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and nerves. Abnormal tissues are treated by combining precisely directed tension with very specific patient movements.
These treatment protocols – over 500 specific moves – are unique to ART. They allow providers to identify and correct the specific problems that are affecting each individual patient. ART is not a cookie-cutter approach – which means that every patient does not get the same treatment.
What is the history of Active Release Techniques?
ART has been developed and refined by Chiropractic Doctor Mr. Michael Leahy, DC, CCSP. Chiropractic Dr. Leahy noticed that his patients’ symptoms seemed to be related to changes in their soft tissue that could be felt by hand. After running a very successful practice, Chiropractic Dr. Leahy now teaches and certifies health care providers (including Chiropractors ) all over the world to use Active Release Techniques.
Because of Chiropractic Dr. Leahy’s background as a Chiropractor , the majority of practitioners of ART are also Chiropractors . ART is a very complementary system to use alongside any kind of Chiropractic skeletal adjustment. Chiropractor Andrew Hunter learned the Lower Extremity and Upper Extremity ART protocols from classes led by Chiropractic Dr. Leahy in 2005. Chiropractor Andrew Hunter also learned the Spine ART protocols from a class led Chiropractic Dr. Leahy in 2006.
Subsequently, Chiropractor Andrew Hunter also learned the Long Tract Nerve Entrapment protocols from Chiropractic Dr. Leahy. Chiropractor Andrew Hunter has been been using various of these protocols every clinic day since that time. Chiropractor Andrew Hunter regards ART as the most complete soft-tissue system currently available.