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Active Release Techniques (ART)

What is Active Release Techniques?

ART® stands for Active Release Techniques. It is a state of the art, highly successful soft-tissue assessment and treatment technique that is quickly becoming the gold-standard for treatment of muscle, tendon, ligament, and nerve problems –  including sports injuries, back pain, shoulder, elbow, and hand problems, knee pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome, plantar fasciitis, and many more common conditions. Dr. Nick Stryniak is one of only a handful of clinicians that is certified to provide ART treatment in Halifax, Nova Scotia and the surrounding area.


What Makes ART So Successful

ART® is so successful because it is one of the only treatment approaches that can identify and treat scar tissue adhesions, which are now believed to be a primary component of virtually every type of soft tissue problem.  This is a big deal because when the soft tissues of the body (i.e. muscles, tendons, fascia, ligaments, and nerves) become damaged fibrous scar tissue, or adhesions, form in and around the damaged areas in an attempt to repair the injured tissue.  Unfortunately, these adhesions can bind up the tissues, interfering with their ability to stretch and move properly.  Over time these adhesions can build up and further compromise health and function by causing reduced range of motion, weakness, and pain.

Many traditional approaches to injury care and rehabilitation focus on passive modalities (ultrasound, e-stim), rest, ice, heat, or stretching and strengthening exercise, but fail to address the scar tissue adhesions that are causing the problem in the first place.  Although in some cases exercises may be needed to fully correct the problem, initiating these exercises without first addressing the true cause of the problem, the scar tissue adhesions, can result in slow and often incomplete resolution.   Since these fibrous adhesions are so common, and because they have such an impact on the health and function of the soft tissues, it is essential that these scar tissue adhesions are addressed to fully resolve soft tissue problems, which can be done with ART® treatment.


What Is An Active Release Techniques Treatment Like?

 You can think of an ART® treatment as a type of active massage.  The practitioner will first shorten the muscle, tendon, ligament, or nerve, and then apply a very specific tension with their hands as you actively stretch and lengthen the tissues.  As the tissue lengthens the practitioner is able to assess the texture and tension of the tissue to determine if it is healthy or contains scar tissue that needs further treatment.  When scar tissue adhesions are felt the amount and direction of tension can be modified to treat the problematic area. In this sense, each ART® session is actually a combination of assessment and treatment, allowing the practitioner to continually assess the health of the tissues and the progress of treatment.


Related Articles


Resolving Piriformis Syndrome with Active Release Techniques

Piriformis syndrome is a common cause of posterior hip and leg pain that occurs when the sciatic nerve is compressed or irritated by the piriformis muscle – a muscle located deep in the back of the hip.  Fortunately, Active Release Techniques (ART) – a specialized, hands-on soft tissue treatment technique – has emerged as one of the most effective therapies for Piriformis Syndrome……Read More

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