You may have heard the term ‘ART’ or ‘ART massage’, particularly if you are involved in sport. Active Release Technique is a soft tissue release that focuses on finding where a muscle is restricted, in which direction, and using active movement (eg the patient moving their own arm) while the therapist works on clearing that restriction.
Active release is a great tool to have in the bag of tricks, as muscle, connective tissue and nerves all move together in unison (or at least they should!). Never do you use a single muscle to accomplish a task – grabbing something from a cupboard? Shoulder, elbow, wrist and multiple finger joints are involved – an incredible amount of coordination and synergy is required from the soft tissues to achieve even these simple tasks.
ART is particularly useful for athletes or those who enjoy keeping active, as it can be common for pain only to present on certain activities. ART assesses patient movement and treats with patient movement – making it easier to find and clear problem areas that may not be as clear to basic ‘lay there and let the therapist do the work’ massage.
Our physiotherapist Chris has recently completed the ART Upper Limb course, and is seeing great results with his clients. In combination with movement correction and dry needling, ART might be just what you need to get and stay pain free!