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Active Release Technique

Active Release Technique being performed by a chiropractor on a patient.

What is ART?

Active Release Technique, commonly called ART is a non-invasive manual therapy technique. Its aim is to correct soft tissue restrictions that cause pain and restriction. The primary goal of ART is to break down scar tissue and adhesions in order to optimize function. This is accomplished using hands on techniques that isolate and target the area, manipulating it to break up the scar tissue and restoring blood flow allowing the area to heal. This soft tissue treatment is ideal for both acute and chronic conditions involving the muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves and fascia. 

Scar tissue is often present after an injury or overuse. It is a fibrous type of tissue that can be very tough and dense. It is often restricting, especially when occurring in muscle and fascia and can inhibit proper movement of healthy tissue. Furthermore, muscles become shortened, tight, and weak, leading to tendinitis and nerve entrapments. Symptoms associated with scar tissue can include limited range of motion, pain and stiffness, decreased strength, and numbness.

Active Release Technique is primarily performed by chiropractors, and some RMT’s and physiotherapists. There are certifications for different modules; the most common being the spine, upper limbs, lower limbs and nerve entrapment.

 What is ART used for?

  • Patients who have muscle, nerve, joint, or circulation complaints 
  • Injury prevention for athletes.
  • Treating overuse conditions, such as various tendinitis injuries.

The top benefits of ART:

  • increased flexibility and improved range of motion
  • decreased lower back pain, including the treatment of Sciatica
  • improved chronic neck pain
  • relief of tension headaches
  • management of overuse and repetitive strain injurie

What an ART treatment looks like: 

Treatments take place on a treatment table wearing comfortable clothing. Depending on the affected area, you may be in a seated position or lying down. Your practitioner will contact various points of restriction and position the tissue so it’s active or in a contracted or shortened position while applying specific tension to the adhesions. The limb is then moved into a stretched or lengthened position and through its range of motion while the tension is maintained. This leads to an increase in circulation, helping bring new blood to the area to heal while breaking up the scar tissue adhesions. Certain areas can be more sensitive than others. To ensure comfort its important to communicate with your practitioner during the session.

Feedback from patients is pain relief, greater flexibility, and regaining function (return to activities).  Chronic, persistent injuries respond quite well to ART.

Common Conditions treated with Active Release Technique: 

  • Lower back pain
  • Sciatica
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Neck pain
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Tennis or golfer’s elbow
  • Runner’s knee
  • Shin splints
  • Shoulder pain
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Tendinitis
  • Other sports injuries
  • Post-operative scarring and adhesions

Both chiropractors at Ohana Wellness Clinic, Dr. Serena Granzotto and Dr. Natalie Leib, are certified in ART.

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