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An Introduction to Active Release Technique

Brought to you by Active Body Chiropractic

Active Release Technique (ART) is a hands-on soft tissue injury treatment that focuses on breaking up scar tissue that may develop from overuse, chronic, hypoxic, or older acute injuries.  Such injuries will cause shortening of the muscles which lead to joint compression, nerve entrapment, tendonitis, and restriction in range of motion.  Providers of ART must have a mastery of anatomy and biomechanics combined with a highly acute ability to feel abnormal tissues and treat them effectively.

With training for endurance sports, most often, the constant breakdown and repair of the muscles is the cause of the athlete’s problem.  Injuries do not have to be traumatic. With triathletes, they most often are not. These problems tend to start gradually and tend to lack any major traumatic event. 

It’s not much different from putting a small rock in your shoe.  You might be able to run for the first mile with no pain at all.  Then at mile 2 and 3 you begin to feel the pain and start altering your stride to avoid the pain.  By mile 4 you are limping and bleeding and your shin is now hurting.  Does this mean the rock was not problematic at mile 1 and only started causing trauma at mile 4? Obviously not.  The rock in the shoe never changed the entire run but the pain levels and mechanics did.  This is similar to a repetitive stress injury except the “rock” may be a short calf muscle, an old hamstring injury or an adhesion to a nerve.  The following graphic show the cyclical nature of these types of injuries:


Overview of ART

Active Release is exceptionally effective in both breaking the cycle of injury and preventing new injuries.  In terms of performance, ART is also used by athletes to increase range of motion and decrease restriction.  Improving the mechanics of a joint will improve the performance of a joint.

As your training continues and the continual breakdown and repair of the muscles continues,  treatments like ART can be invaluable in keeping you on your training schedule.