Active Release Therapy

Get the same ultimate care as pro athletes: Active Release Therapy, SFMA biomechanical analysis, Red Light Therapy therapy, and Customized treatment plans. Improve performance, reduce pain, and preven

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

A.R.T. is a patented, state-of-the-art soft tissue system that treats problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves. Some of the conditions that can be resolved quickly and permanently with A.R.T. include: headaches, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, shin splints, shoulder pain, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, knee problems, and tennis elbow.

These conditions all have one important thing in common: they often result from adhesions.

What are adhesions?

Due to muscle stress and compression, tissues suffer from decreased blood supply, they feel tight and full, and respond by producing scar tissue to protect them from further damage. This effect of decreased circulation and scar tissue adhesions alters the function of the structures involved and results in pain, poor mobility of the muscle joint or area of function, decreased athletic performance and most importantly, a continuation of the cumulative injury cycle.

Adhesions cause the motion of muscles and joints to be altered and the compression of nerves, resulting in a wide variety of symptoms that characterize the cumulative injury cycle and reduction in biomechanical performance

How do adhesions form?

Adhesions in soft tissues are caused by:

  • Acute injury: a blow, collision, tear, pull, or strain of the muscle, tendon or ligament
  • Repetitive over-use: accumulation of small tears (micro-trauma) from improper posture, faulty biomechanics, compensation injuries, and repeated motions
  • Hypoxia: not getting enough oxygen

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 cause tendonitis, and nerves can become trapped. This can cause reduced ranges of motion, loss of strength, and pain. If a nerve is trapped you may also feel tingling, numbness, and weakness.

What is an A.R.T. treatment like?

A.R.T. treatment is very different from any other soft tissue technique in that it is a complete system. Every A.R.T. session is actually a combination of examination and treatment.

  1. Definition: The provider defines the problem.
  2. Evaluation: The provider performs an evaluation involving observation of movement, gait, and performance (Biomechanical Motion Analysis) and hands-on palpitation. During this portion the provider is searching for abnormalities in tissue texture, movement and function, and he is seeing if he can reproduce the symptoms. The A.R.T. provider uses his or her hands to evaluate the texture, tightness and movement of muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and nerves.
  3. Treatment: Once the cause of the pain is found then the provider follows a series of hands on treatment protocols to break up the scar tissue, which has caused muscles to adhere together and/or to entrap a nerve. The treatments involve a unique hands-on touch (tension to tissue). The provider physically works the soft tissues back to their normal texture, tension, and length. These treatment protocols (over 500 of them) are unique to A.R.T..

How can athletes benefit from A.R.T.?

Athletes suffer from a broad range of repetitive strain and stress related injuries. Intense training causes muscle restrictions due to adhesion formation, and results in numerous types of injuries. Repetitive motion, constant tension, and pressure often result in inflammation and swelling of soft tissue. The body responds to this inflammation by laying down scar tissue (cross fibers across the tissue) in an attempt to stabilize the affected area, which causes the following problems:

  • Restricted motion, requiring increased effort and placing stress on the rest of the body
  • Reduced circulation, overworking muscles
  • Inhibited nerve function, reducing response time and performance
  • Ongoing friction and pressure, resulting in future injury

Even though physical training factors can be modified, the biomechanical restrictions that have been created in the athlete’s body are seldom addressed. These factors lead to future injuries and inhibit the athlete from reaching his or her full performance potential.

A.R.T. can improve an athlete's performance in the following ways:

  • Substantially decreases healing time
  • Treats the root cause of the injury
  • Prevents future injuries
  • Improves athletic performance

A.R.T. is not a cookbook approach to treating a non-specific diagnosis. Treatments are specific and based upon the individual needs of each athlete.

Who uses A.R.T.?

If you know where to look, you see A.R.T. everywhere, including on the sidelines of the Super Bowl. The world champion Denver Broncos have been glad to have A.R.T. founder Dr. Michael Leahy on their side for the last 14 seasons treating players and keeping them in the game. If you look on the sidelines of nearly every NFL team, and a majority of other professional sports teams, you'll see an A.R.T. provider. In fact, Dr. Leahy developed A.R.T. while working with elite athletes. He noticed that traditional soft tissue treatment methods didn't resolve injuries quickly enough to help athletes in upcoming competitions, so he started devising the A.R.T. protocols to solve those issues. Today, A.R.T. is used not only in most professional sports teams, but also partners with IRONMAN®, and treats many elite athletes.

Combine with Red Light Therapy for rapid recovery

Red Light Therapy is the perfect compliment to Active Release Therapy. It decrease muscle inflammation, while promoting blood circulation and oxygen flow to the treatment area. For the best results, we offer combination sessions with ART followed by Red Light Therapy. Learn more about Red Light Therapy.

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