Active Release Technique Therapy
ART is a soft tissue therapy for the treatment of skeletal muscle pain. Muscle pain can be generated from the skeletal muscle or connective tissues that are ‘knotted’ by tight fascia. In addition, pain can also be generated from damaged myofascial tissue itself, sometimes at a ‘trigger point’ where a contraction of muscle fibers has occurred. In either case, the restriction or contraction inhibits blood flow to the affected structures, thus accentuating the contraction process further unless the area is treated.
Fascia is the soft tissue component of the connective tissue that provides support and protection for most structures within the human body. Osteopathic theory proposes that this soft tissue can become restricted due to psychogenic disease, overuse, trauma, infectious agents, or inactivity, often resulting in pain, muscle tension, and corresponding diminished blood flow. Although fascia and its corresponding muscle are the main targets of myofascial release, other tissue may be addressed as well, including other connective tissue.
Many different types of health professionals can provide ART, including appropriately trained osteopathic physicians, chiropractors, physical or occupational therapists, massage therapists, or sports medicine/injury specialists. Specific training and courses in ART are generally necessary and can be extensive to attain a high level of competency.