Sports injuries are about as common as clowns in a carnival. They are just a lot less amusing and much more painful. Recovery after an injury can be a long and painful process, with sometimes continuing after-effects that create problems in the future. In order to properly recover, the individual with the injury will most likely need to go through some form of physical therapy. While many different types are still being debated as to which is the most effective, one type has started to gain some attention.This particular type is called Active Release Techniques and requires more specialized training than that of a chiropractor, doctor, massage therapist, or any individual with prior soft tissue training. Even though it is still being argued on its effectiveness, many patients who have gone through this therapy have come out with some pretty tremendous results.
How Active Release Techniques Works
Active Release Techniques is a form of therapy that uses a combination of movement and massage to treat injuries in nerves, tendons, ligaments, muscles, and other connective tissue in the body. It was introduced and patented by Dr. P. Michael Leahy in 1990. Dr. Leahy is the head of the ART treatment team for North American Ironman Triathlons and also is the Denver Broncos soft-tissue specialist. He along with his team believe that the Active Release Techniques is more beneficial than other types of therapy because it better identifies and treats the scar tissue on and in between the patients muscles. It’s this scar tissue that can shorten muscles causing weakness, damage, pain, and compressed nerves. Once this scar tissue has been built up, it can be difficult to get it to release and go away. Enter the Active Release Techniques therapy.
ART therapists are able to break up the scar tissue by using their hands to apply pressure and lengthen the tissue. Essentially, they are removing muscle off of muscle, or even nerves off of muscle, as they break up the scar tissue. Unlike massage, this practice is not exactly relaxing. In fact, many therapists and patients say it can be rather painful because it focuses on specific muscles rather than the whole body. As said earlier, this type of therapy requires more schooling than just a normal chiropractic, massage therapy, or even doctorate degree. In order to receive schooling in ART you must first be licensed to treat-soft tissue. Because of this extra schooling, it is argued that ART is by far more safe and effective than other therapy types. It ensures that the practitioner “knows their stuff” and leaves room for little error when treating the injury.
One-reason patients like ART is because it is self involved. During the treatment process ART goes through 3 levels. The therapist carries out the first 3 levels. However, in level 4, ART requires the patient to become actively involved by moving the injured tissue in set ways while the therapist applies tension. Studies have shown that because ART uses this technique, it is have provided better outcomes for the patients. Active Release Techniques is still an up and coming therapy and is not practiced as frequently as other therapies. Its popularity, however, is growing and is being used more often among professional athletes. ART is a safe and effective way to treat injuries and will more than likely see a spike in popularity in the coming years.
Have you ever had ART, or Active Release Techniques, therapy done on you? What did you think?