What is Active Therapy?

by Tim Hines-
Elite Performance Chiropractic located in McKinney, Tx.

ART is a patented, soft-tissue mobilization technique preferred by many of today’s top athletes. The goal of ART is similar to sports massage, in that it aims to remove scar tissue from the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Chronic and repetitive injury causes scar tissue to form in the body. Over time this scar tissue becomes adhesion that limits function and can became very painful — even leading to more injury.

Active Release is a very focused approach to aiding the body in recovering from the effects of these chronic injuries. Most often practiced by chiropractors, some have likened ART to a chiropractor’s approach to sports massage. While the end goals may be similar, the techniques are quite different. Swedish massage treats the body with a broad, full-body approach. Sports and therapeutic massage are more focused approaches, treating problem areas. ART is even more focused. Certified practitioners of ART are trained to find the source of the problem, go right to it and treat it directly.

How does it work? A simple way to describe it would be a pin-and-stretch. The ART practitioner finds the adhesion that is limiting the function of the muscle, joint, etc. Pressure is applied to the problem spot, and the muscle, or ligament, or tendon, is stretched while pressure is increased. The effect breaks up the adhesion and frees the surrounding soft-tissue. As a massage therapist who is certified in ART, I look at it as another tool in the tool-box of therapies.

Sometimes, all it takes is a screw-driver to fix something — other times, you might need a hammer — often, both a hammer, screw-driver, and even a wrench are needed. ART is great because it can treat injuries quickly, and creates a faster recovery. It can be a crucial part of your overall care. I find that combining ART with chiropractic adjustments and massage, along with proper conditioning and important things like the right fit of shoes, or a properly balanced bike, all work in conjunction to help you perform at a top level.

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