Active Release Technique or simply ART has been steadily gaining a name for itself in the area of pain management, particularly when it involves overused muscles. This technique has already benefited countless athletes who may have become exposed to injuries due to repeated actions or the sheer number of times muscles and other body parts are used. But as many patients may attest — who may not actually be called athletes or sports persons — they have experienced relief and recovery from various other medical conditions with the use of ART.
What is ART?
ART is a pain management system that was developed by Dr. P. Michael Leahy in the early 1990’s for the treatment of various medical conditions that involve the muscles, ligaments, nerves, tendons, and fascia. The objective of ART is to bring back optimum motion, texture, and function of the soft tissue and the release of any nerves or blood vessels that have been entrapped as a result of the injury.
These are achieved by eliminating adhesions or scar tissues (fibrosis) in the soft tissue through specific patented techniques. The appearance of these adhesions may be due to acute injury, continuous tension or pressure, and repetitive movements. This may cause the muscles to become shorter and weaker, may limit the motions of joints and the muscles, and exert pressure on the nearby nerves. Once these adhesions are removed, a patient may feel great relief from pain and may regain his or her previous condition.
What conditions are treated with ART?
ART has become a favored option for many who require therapy that involves injuries resulting from overused muscles such as back pains, shoulder pains, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, shin splints, tennis elbow, sprains and strains, nerve damages, joint disorders, and even headaches. There is also a rapid growth in the number of clients that require therapy after surgical procedures. This is due to the development of scar tissues that requires healing after such operations.
How effective is ART?
Not much research works have been done on the effectiveness of ART, but the few that have been conducted have all shown very positive results. One study in 2006 reported that all 26 subjects with hamstring injuries experienced huge improvements after undergoing ART treatment. Other similar studies focusing on various medical conditions also yielded the same favorable results. Perhaps a better indication would be the numerous testimonies of noted athletes as well as from ordinary people who have sustained traumas or injuries from sports activities or performing daily chores.