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ART pixWhat is Active Release Technique?

ART is a collection of soft tissue techniques for examination, diagnosis and treatment of soft tissue disorders.It is a non-invasive healing procedure that locates and brakes down scar tissue and adhesion that case soft tissue injuries. ART targets very specific problem ares and heals through a unique combination of pressure, tension, and motion. This method releases, stretches, and loosens connective tissue adhesion or scar tissue, allowing the restoration of circulation, range of motion, and strength.

Through the assessment of tissue texture, tension, movement and function, ART provides a way to diagnosis and treat the underlying causes of a variety of conditions collectively called Cumulative Trauma Disorders (CTD’s)

Active Release has proven itself to be a fast effective non-invasive way to heal a wide range of soft tissue injuries and movement based muscular problems allowing people to get moving again comfortably and without pain.

The Active Release Treatment

Restoring tissue elasticity and longitudinal freedom of motion is the goal.  In an ART treatment, the tissue is placed in a shortened position then drawn under specific type of contact while the problem sp0t is manipulated.  The patient motion is active whenever practicable.

Poor Tissue Gliding

Tissue must glide properly to function well.  When this sliding is defective, soft tissue symptoms appear.  In most every area of the body there are many layers of tissue.  In the back alone there are 5 layers of muscles, each muscle surrounded by fascia, the ligaments underneath them and the connective tissue over them.  The structures all have to be able to glide independently without adhesion.  Immobility any part of the body in a short period of time starts the process of adhesion.  Movement is critical.  ART allows us to eliminate these adhesions.

Understanding Soft Tissue Injuries

There are three common mechanisms that produce soft tissue injuries 1) Acute trauma like a tear of bruise.  2) constant pressure usually found in overuse problems and 3) Repetitive motion which prevents the tissue from resting and repairing.

Symptoms of Soft Tissue Injury

Most commonly numbness, tingling, burning, aching, and weakness are noticed.  Soft tissue dysfunction can often lead to loss of flexibility, strength and range of motion in absence of other symptoms.

Adhesion and Scar Tissue Formation

When a muscle, tendon, ligament or nerve is damaged it will repair the area with scar tissue in a predictable and palpable way.  Scar tissue feels like the “sticky” side of a piece of tape, one tissue literally pulls on another or pulls on a structure next to it, or going through it, like a nerve for example.  Friction, pressure or tension causes a decrease in circulation. The tissue responds with fibrosis and adhesion in and between the tissues.

What are “Cumulative” Injuries?

Cumulative injury is a group of injuries to the muscles, tendons, bones, blood vessels, fascia and nerves.  Cumulative injuries are self perpetuating unless the pattern is corrected.  CTD’s are also know a Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSI’s or “Overuse Syndromes”.

Familiar Cumulative Injuries

You know them as Tendinitis, Rotator Cuff Syndrome, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Plantar Fascitis, Poor Posture, Shin splints, Tennis Elbow, Golfers Elbow, Bursitis, and Chronic Back Pain.

What to expect for ART

Significant results should be seen within 2-3 visits.  Muscle strength typically begins to return on the first or second visit.   Treatments can be uncomfortable patient reports that it “hurts good” or is reproducing the symptoms.  Both are temporary and stop after the treatment, a good sign that ART is solving a problem and healing an injury.  Patients report a freed -up, expansive, or blood flowing feeling with better movement.

How often is the treatment and is it permanent?

Typically treatments are done 1-2 days apart, in some cases an even longer period is needed. Full resolution in 4-6 visits is common though it could take 10 or more in some cases.

Active Release vs. Other Therapies

Much confusion exists with the term Myofascial Release. The term can mean anything from massage to aggressive deep tissue work aimed at releasing certain tissues.   ART is NOT massage, physiotherapy, or chiropractic manipulation.  While those procedures relieve muscle and motion dysfunction they do not necessarily address the problems caused by scar tissue or adhesion formation.

Becoming an ART Provider

Only specially trained and accredited practitioners may perform ART.  To be accredited, one must posses advanced knowledge of Anatomy, Neurology, and Muscle Physiology prior to attending the intensive hands on training program.  Becoming proficient in ART is comparable to learning to read Braille. It is very difficult skill to master, so practitioners are carefully trained.

They may say they do but Do they?

Great Technique and great results require great effort.  Some people say they do ART whey they really don’t or they have just read about it and think they do it.  Poor results are inevitable if they are not accredited.

Why ART is in Demand

ART has become the treatment of choice for Muscular and Tendinitis type injuries because it corrects the cause.  It’s fast effective and often only requires a few treatments for long lasting results.  For athletes, fast and complete recover from long standing muscular and repetitive strain injuries is common.

Performance Enhancement for All

College, professional and amateur elite athletes know ART to be an excellent tool for rehab and performance enhancement.  Top pro’s to weekend warriors all benefit form ART.

 Dr. Burton and Burton Chiropractic has been trained and accredited in this technique since 2001 with continuous training and certification in this approach.


For more info on Active Release Technique click on the link below:

 Active Release Technique