Active release techniques is a patented soft-tissue system that treats muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and nerves. It is common through repetitive daily tasks and athletic events that we develop restrictions within our soft-tissue structures which limit blood flow/circulation, cause pain, limit range of motion, and cause compensatory motion. ART is a specific system that allows the provider to use his hands to identify restriction and adhesions within the tissues and treat using specific protocols. These protocols consist of identifying the structure involved, placing that structure in a shortened position, apply a specific contact tension along the tissue, and then actively or passively lengthening the tissue. By doing so, the dysfunctional tissue slides under the contact of the provider causing any restriction or adhesions within the tissue to be broken up resulting in the restoration of normal functional tissue.
Several factors are taken in consideration when it comes to ART and they are: tissue tension, tissue texture, tissue movement, and tissue function. When a tissue doesn’t function properly, pain is often the result within that specific tissue or others, as a compensatory mechanism. Why do some of those factors change within tissue you may wonder? It is usually a result of the everyday stressors we expose our bodies to. For example: An office worker who types for 7 hours a day and reaches in the same direction to pick up the phone. This may not seem like much, but imagine how the body adapts to the same small movements day in and day out for years. It is also common for the athletic population to have some type of soft-tissue dysfunction from the normal wear and tear of the activity.
This past weekend, I had the chance to become a certified ART provider for the upper extremity. This 4-day certification educational program is only offered to healthcare providers such as doctors, chiropractors, physical/occupational therapists, massage therapists, and athletic trainers. It was an amazing educational experience which provided me an additional set of skills in evaluating and treating soft-tissue injuries. It is common for many soft-tissue injuries to be labeled as tendonitis when it is nothing more then adhesions within the tissue that need to be appropriately treated using ART. It can also be used for many postural issues such as forward rounded shoulders and the loss of normal joint range of motion from tissue tightness. I feel ART can have a great impact on not only someone who is injured, but the regular gym-goer or athlete who wants to prevent injury and maintain healthy bodily function.
Garrett McLaughlin is an Athletic Trainer and Personal Trainer in Nashville, TN. He creates personal training and injury rehabilitation programs for the general population and athletes. Garrett is passionate about not only working one-on-one with clients, but educating them on health & wellness so they can continue making positive choices throughout their lives. Contact Garrett with questions or to schedule a session.