Active Release Technique vs. Physical Therapy
If you’re weighing your rehabilitation options after an injury or surgery, you may come across the term “Active Release Technique.” How does this differ from traditional physical therapy? Are the two competing treatments options, or can they be used together? Find the answers to your questions here.
What is Physical Therapy?
Most people are familiar with physical therapy or have even gone through it themselves. Traditional physical therapy combines numerous modalities to treat injuries, reduce pain, build strength, and improve mobility after an injury, illness, or surgery. The goal is to offset or even eliminate the need for pain medication.
Physical therapy modalities include but are not limited to:
- Exercises and stretches
- Manual manipulation
- Ultrasonic wave technology
- Traction therapy
- Low-level laser therapy
- Ice and heat therapy
Physical therapists are highly trained and licensed practitioners. They typically operate in hospitals, sports rehab centers, senior care facilities, and orthopedic offices. The positive results of undergoing physical therapy are well-documented and reproducible.
What is Active Release Technique?
Active Release Technique, or ART, was developed by an aeronautical engineer turned chiropractor in the early 1980s. It’s an effective soft tissue massage technique for both treating and preventing injury in athletes and physically active people. Using Active Release Technique helps prevent dysfunctional changes in soft tissues, helping to improve athletic performance and reduce recovery time.
ART includes unique protocols for treating over 300 different muscles, ligaments, tendons, fascia, and nerves. It has proven effective for resolving the following ailments:
- Muscle strains
- Surgical scars
- Shoulder pain
- Tennis elbow
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Back pain
- Knee problems
- Shin splints
- Plantar fasciitis
- And much more
How Does Active Release Technique Work?
When soft tissues become aggravated or injured, the body attempts to heal itself by forming adhesions, or dense areas of scar tissue. Unfortunately, scar tissue reduces oxygen flow, limits mobility, and may increase the risk of future injury. Nerves may even become pinched and trapped within the adhesions, causing numbness, tingling, and burning sensations.
Active Release Therapy frees “stuck” tissues and nerves with specific hands-on techniques based on where the adhesions are located and what tissues they affect. This treatment could benefit you if you experience pain or stiffness when exercising, numbness in your limbs, limited range of motion, muscle weakness, or inflammation. For some, ART provides noticeable improvements after the very first session.
Combine Active Release Technique and Traditional Physical Therapy
While effective on its own, Active Release Technique easily incorporates into a more comprehensive training or physical therapy program. Effective Integrative Healthcare offers patients the best of both worlds by combining ART and traditional physical therapy into a single, personalized treatment plan!
To learn what combination of therapies may be right for you, please request a free consultation at our Crofton or Millersville, MD office today. We’ll demonstrate some basic treatment methods so you know what to expect.