FAQs

WHAT IS ACTIVE RELEASE TECHNIQUE (ART)?

ART is a patented, state-of-the-art soft tissue system that treats problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves. Headaches, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, shin splints, shoulder pain, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, knee problems, and tennis elbow are just a few of the many conditions that can be resolved quickly and permanently with ART. These conditions all have one important thing in common: they are often a result of overused muscles.


WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ACTIVE RELEASE TECHNIQUES (ART) AND MASSAGE?

They may look and sound similar, but the procedures are actually very different and the results they produce are very different. There are many styles of massage and generally massage promotes relaxation and increased circulation. Neuromuscular and Myofascial Release Massage gets more specific but it does not fix the soft tissue and make it work properly. ART is protocol specific for the correction of adhesions & scar tissues. Anyone who has had ART can tell you, it’s NOT massage! Does ART help pain referral from trigger points? Yes, trigger points are tender spots in muscles that cause you to feel referred pain. For example, a trigger point in your piriformis muscle, a deep muscle in your glutes, will tell your brain that there is a problem in your glute that runs down the back of your leg into your foot. “Where it hurts isn’t where it is!” By correcting the muscle function, the trigger point goes away and so does the pain referral. For this reason we are sometimes asked why we are working on an area that normally doesn’t hurt. Working on just pain specific areas is what we call “Chasing Pain.” This is something we do not do and for this reason you get results.


WHAT ARE ADHESIONS?

Our bodies contain special protein structures called connective tissue, also known as Fascia. This substance connects each part to other parts and the whole, very much like a flexible skeleton. When this tissue is healthy it is smooth and slippery, allowing the muscles, nerves, blood vessels or organs to move freely and function properly. Imagine a piece of scotch tape, the smooth side is healthy fascia; the sticky side is scar tissue or unhealthy fascia. Rub the tape along your skin, both sides, to “feel” what an adhesion is like. The drag that you feel, the “pulling” sensation, is what an adhesion is like. These adhesions attach to muscles, nerves and lymph decreasing their ability to work properly. You really know when you have an adhesion on a nerve; you get many abnormal sensations like numbness, tingling or pain.


DOESN’T STRETCHING GET RID OF ADHESIONS?

Stretching plays a very important role in the treatment and prevention of injuries but it will not break down adhesions. Adhesions, or scar tissue, are much stronger than normal healthy tissue. Muscle groups can often adhere/bind to one another preventing the normal sliding necessary for full mobility. When an individual performs a stretch, the tissue that lengthens is not the adhered tissue but the healthy tissue. This can actually cause more damage to healthy tissue resulting in the increase of adhesions. Stretching correctly is still essential, but it will never release the restrictions that are already present.


HOW WILL EXERCISES AND STRETCHING THAT DID NOT WORK BEFORE, WORK AFTER ART TREATMENTS?

Stretching and exercises are only effective after the dysfunction within the soft-tissue structures have been correctly released. Stretching and exercising dysfunctional tissues will only lead to a dysfunctional result. The combination of finding the origin of the problem, ART treatments, functional training, stretching and behavioral modifications will result in long lasting results.


IS TREATMENT INCLUDED IN MY INITIAL CONSULTATION FOR THERAPY?

Yes, your initial consultation takes up to 15 minutes so the Therapist is able to take a history, and assess and treat your concerns. The Therapist will also discuss with you treatment options and an idea how long it will take for your problem to subside.


WHAT SHOULD I WEAR TO MY TREATMENTS?

It is best to wear loose, comfortable clothing. If you have a lower body injury, please bring a pair of shorts, if possible.


HOW DO OVERUSE CONDITIONS OCCUR?

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.


WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF ACTIVE RELEASE TECHNIQUES?

ART has been developed, refined, and patented by P. Michael Leahy, DC, CCSP. Dr. Leahy noticed that his patients’ symptoms seemed to be related to changes in their soft tissue that could be felt by hand. By observing how muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and nerves responded to different types of work, Dr. Leahy was able to consistently resolve over 90% of his patients’ problems. He now teaches and certifies health care providers all over the world to use ART.


WHAT IS PHYSICAL THERAPY?

Physical Therapy is a medical profession and method of healthcare centered on treatment of problems restricting a person’s ability to move and function. Physical Therapists treat a variety of conditions that can affect different systems of the body, including musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, and cardiovascular/pulmonary. A variety of treatment methods, exercises, and modalities are used to restore physical function, prevent disability, and improve strength and movement. Physical Therapists also educate patients to take care of themselves and to perform certain exercises on their own. Physical Therapy is a licensed profession and can only be provided by qualified individuals.


HOW WILL PHYSICAL THERAPY HELP ME?

The longer your quality of life is compromised, the more it impacts your life, your relationships, your finances, and your emotional well being.  Effective physical therapy may prevent more costly procedures, like surgery, and prevent prescription medication costs.  Efficient, effective care also means less time away from work and less time spent in a doctor’s waiting room or Emergency Room.  We use the best medical evidence in our treatment plans, which normally involve a combination of manual therapy to correct mechanical joint dysfunctions and therapeutic exercise to correct muscle and joint imbalance or weakness.


HOW MANY VISITS WILL I NEED?

This depends on your diagnosis, whether or not you have had surgery, your level of injury, and compliance with your home exercises.  We respect your time, financial resources, and your physical well being.  We want you to restore your quality of life as quickly as possible.


SHOULD I NEED TO BRING MY X-RAYS OR MRI’S WITH ME?

Please bring any diagnostic reports from when your X-Ray or MRI was read by a Physician. You do not need to bring the films. Because X-Rays and MRIs do not reveal everything your Physical Therapist needs to know in order to properly treat you, he or she will focus on taking your medical history, conducting a systems review, and performing physical tests and measures which identify potential and existing problems.


WHAT DIFFERENTIATES A THERAPEUTIC EXERCISE PROGRAM FROM OTHER EXERCISE PROGRAMS?

With therapeutic exercise, the physical therapist must use his or her specialized expertise and experience, combined with the latest evidence-based research in rehabilitation, to design an individualized program that includes exercises that are specific to each person’s injury, ability, and stage of recovery.