Saturday, November 19, 2011

Active Release Technique

Have you ever heard of ART or Active Release Technique? Roy suggested that I look into it- I have not been having pain, but I do have a anterior pelvic tilt because my hip flexors are really tight, and I cannot dorsiflex very well. Even SC used to tell me "your dorsiflexion sucks!" It's pretty hard to get into a good deep squat if you cannot dorsiflex. 

Here is an explanation from Dr. Leahy's website, it explains much more concisely than I can. Dr. Leahy is the physician that I worked with recently.

Most healthcare providers use techniques of massage, trigger point, electrical modalities and ultrasound with varying degrees of specificity to treat soft tissue problems. These all provide reasonable results but there is a much better way.

ART is patented because it is different than anything else. This protects the public from healthcare providers who are willing to do it half way. To learn ART you must be serious enough to invest a great deal of time and effort to learn over 500 treatment moves or "protocols." More important than that, you must be able to develop a very advanced "feel" for the tissues and their texture, tension and movement. You must come to understand and evaluate the movement of each tissue relative to the one next to it and as an absolute value unto itself. This is an anatomy class like no other.

The basic premise is simple, just not easy. Shorten the tissue, apply a contact tension and lengthen the tissue or make it slide relative to the adjacent tissue. It's as simple as playing a piano and just as difficult. 

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 ART session is actually a combination of examination and treatment. The ART provider uses his or her hands to evaluate the texture, tightness and movement of muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and nerves. Abnormal tissues are treated by combining precisely directed tension with very specific patient movements.

These treatment protocols - over 500 specific moves - are unique to ART. They allow providers to identify and correct the specific problems that are affecting each individual patient. ART is not a cookie-cutter approach.

ART has been developed, refined, and patented by P. Michael Leahy, DC, CCSP. and I am lucky enough that his brother, Dr. Joseph Leahy has his practice just a few miles from my home! If I need to see someone, I want to go to the best of the best!

I had three ART sessions now, and have noticed incredible results already. I will write about my experience in the next few days.