Active release therapy, also known as active release technique (ART), is a viable way to help people experiencing a variety of different kinds of pain. Learn about the administration and benefits of this treatment to see whether it could help you with the specific symptoms you have.

Overview of ART

This massage technique manipulates and moves soft tissues in focused areas, targeting pain. P. Michael Leahy, a chiropractor, developed and patented this treatment. Active release therapy is a viable option for treatment of an assortment of muscle, ligament, tendon, nerve, and fascia problems. Leahy estimates that he has had a success rate of over 90 percent with ART.

Who it Can Help

Numerous people are viable candidates for ART. Anyone experiencing recurring headaches, shoulder pain, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, knee issues, sciatica, shin splints, and plantar fasciitis may receive relief after treatments. Virtually anyone experiencing pain from misused or overused muscles is a candidate for this treatment.

Overused muscles can present in three main ways: muscle pulls and tears indicate acute conditions; a grouping of small tears indicating a micro-trauma injury; and sometimes, muscles do not receive enough oxygen, which could result in hypoxia.

When any of these situations occurs, the body responds with the production of strict and strong scar tissue at the site of the injury. The presence of scar tissue interferees with soft tissue and impedes range of motion. Over time, scar tissue increases and muscles grow smaller and weaker. This can result in tendonitis, which often interferes with nerves. Symptoms of these issues include a diminished range of motion, weakness, and pain. Nerve issues will also cause numbness and tingling in the affected areas.

The Treatment

A therapist or chiropractor will examine the area and prescribe the correct therapeutic course. Often, manual manipulation with the hands will provide important information about the amount of tightness in an area, the texture of the scar tissue, and how the muscles move. This manipulation will also provide clues about how tendons, ligaments, nerves, and fascia have been impacted by overuse. After examination, the therapist will direct specific patient movements, which will produce tension in targeted spots. By utilizing a wide variety of movements, the therapist can determine which ones have a positive impact and which ones are ineffective. Trial and error should produce beneficial results over time.

Therapy must address building flexibility and strength by lengthening muscles. Working on balance with specific exercises and building cardiovascular endurance will also help patients recover from injuries. Whether you are an athlete or anyone else experiencing pain, active release therapy may produce beneficial healing results.