What is Active Release Therapy?

Active Release Therapy, commonly called Active Release Technique or ART® helps break up dense scar tissue and adhesions that are causing pain and limiting range of motion. Adhesions are fibrous bands that form between tissues and organs, often as a result of injury or surgery. They may be thought of as internal scar tissue that connects tissues not normally connected.Active Release Therapy not only breaks up scar tissue, but it increases blood flow and oxygen to the injured area to aid in healing.

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How Does Active Release Therapy Work?

Active Release Therapy works by targeting the area where pain and dysfunction is coming from. After an injury, the body heals itself and often there is scar tissue and adhesions that cause pain and limit range of motion. Chiropractors or sports therapists will do active release therapy to break up the scar tissue and adhesions. Most people state they feel immediate relief with one session.

A case study from the Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association followed a 51-year old male who played recreational tennis. The patient was initially treated with physical therapy, an elbow strap and corticosteroid injections. In about a months’ time, the patient returned; and described a return of the pain as the worst pain he has ever felt. The patient was later diagnosed with lateral epicondylosis (Tennis Elbow) with a myofasciopathy (muscle weakness) of the extensor carpi radialis brevis (forearm muscle). He was treated six times over two weeks with Active Release Technique® (ART) to the affected muscles. After the first treatment the patient reported to feel 80% better, and at the time of discharge there was complete resolution of his symptoms (VAS 0/10 with no pain provocation on examination). The patient returned to playing tennis and at one- and two-month follow-ups he had no pain.

Active Release Therapy not only breaks up scar tissue and adhesions, but it also assists with the lymphatic system. When an area of the body becomes injured, the body naturally builds up fluid around the injury to protect it. This natural swelling can lead to increased pain and discomfort. The treatments used to break up the tissue, also assist to move the lymphatic fluid throughout the body. The treatment engages the lymphatic system which removes the liquid causing the inflammation within the tissue. The lymphatic system is a network of tissues and organs that help rid the body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials.