with Erin O'halloran
Certified A.R.T. Therapist
Licensed Massage Therapist
Certified Kinesio Tape Practicioner
Active Release Technique, or A.R.T.®, is a patented, state of the art soft tissue massage technique that treats problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves. Headaches, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, shin splints, shoulder pain, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, knee problems, and tennis elbow are just a few of the many conditions that can be resolved quickly with ART. These conditions all have one important thing in common: they are often a result of overused muscles.
How do overuse conditions occur?
Over-used muscles (and other soft tissues) change in three important ways:
- acute conditions = pulls, tears, collisions, etc
- accumulation of small tears = micro-trauma
- not getting enough oxygen = hypoxia
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 causes tendonitis, and nerves can become trapped. This can cause reduced range of motion, loss of strength, and pain. If a nerve is trapped you may also feel tingling, numbness, and weakness.
What is an ART treatment like?
Every A.R.T. session is actually a combination of examination and treatment. Our certified A.R.T. provider uses their hands to evaluate the texture, tightness and movement of muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and nerves. Abnormal tissues are treated by combining precise pressure with very specific movements. These treatment protocols - over 500 specific moves - are unique to A.R.T. and give this treatment the edge that accelerates your healing faster than other massage styles. The movements allow providers to identify and correct the specific problems that are affecting each individual patient.
What is the history of Active Release Techniques?
A.R.T. has been developed, refined, and patented by P. Michael Leahy, DC, CCSP. Dr. Leahy noticed that his patients' symptoms seemed to be related to changes in their soft tissue that could be felt by hand. By observing how muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and nerves responded to different types of work, Dr. Leahy was able to consistently resolve over 90% of his patients' problems. He now teaches and certifies health care providers all over the world to use A.R.T.
Is the Treatment Painful?
The first one or two treatments can be somewhat uncomfortable depending on the severity of the condition and the patient’s pain tolerance. However, even if the treatment is uncomfortable and reproduces their symptoms, this is only temporary and will stop a few seconds after the treatment.
How Long Does a Treatment Take?
The initial consultation, history, examination, and treatment will usually require 30 minutes to one hour. Subsequent treatments take ten to fifteen minutes.
How Soon Can I Expect Results?
In most cases, following the first treatment a patient will experience a positive result. This may be an increased range of motion, less pain, increased muscle strength, or decreased numbness and tingling.
Is This Similar to Other Soft Tissue Treatments?
(like trigger point therapy, ischemic compression, etc.)
NO. A.R.T. is very different than any other soft tissue, bodywork, massage, or other therapy. A.R.T. is very specific and the results achieved utilizing this technique are much more predictable because the movements and treatments are standardized. Other soft tissue work often emphasizes working the soft tissue to loosen it. While these treatments can help relieve symptoms, often the results do not last nearly as long as the treatments performed through A.R.T. A patented approach to holistic health, A.R.T. can provide immediate release of locked joints caused by soft tissue complications.
Once My Problem Has Been Corrected, What Are the Chances of the Problem Returning?
If the patient is advised as to any lifestyle modifications and follows through with the prescribed exercise/stretches, the likelihood of the condition recurring is very low. Dr. Leahy reported a recurrence rate of only 4% in his carpal tunnel study, of which half (2%), had not followed through with their exercises.
Can I Benefit from A.R.T. Even if I Have Already Been Evaluated and Treated by Other Doctors and Therapists?
Only a provider experienced and trained in A.R.T. can determine if you might benefit from this treatment. Most of the cases seen in my office are those patients whom have been treated by other health care providers unsuccessfully. Most of these patients are happily surprised when they experience an improvement in their condition after just one or two treatments.