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Active Release Technique to enhance movement and athletic peformance

I use Active Release Technique or A.R.T. as a modality for functional rehabilitation to restore normal movement and glide between muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves.

It is used for specific conditions that cause pain and restriction in movement which can limit the sports performance in those who wish to optimize their athletic performance.

ART or Active Release Technique involves movement of the immediate specific joint, in the direction that causes pain. During this movement, as an experienced chiropractor, I am able to see the order in which specific muscles come to play their role, scanning the functionally related muscles and seeing where the limitations occur.

Bear in mind that in many instances, the limitation of the joint may be in a specific area but the culprit muscle group(s) may be in a different area. This means that not every area of pain is necessarily the area of the problem!

In my practice, being the biomechanics expert that Chiropractors are helps me address every single soft tissue limitation that contributes to the patient’s presenting problem during the examination. I then am able to map an action plan to proceed with the primary, secondary, tertiary, etc. muscles that need to come into the picture at the right order in order for the PROPER movement to take place.

Let’s say you are not able to bring your arm up to your mouth to feed yourself, you bring the mouth closer to the hand to feed yourself!!!

While there are cases where this takes place, it is a drastic example of the body ‘tip toeing’ around to get the task done. Imagine, similar shifts in the order of muscles to help perform a task taking place and what type of impact the long term shift has on the body!

ART is used on any joint including the jaw and is applied for treatment of almost all joint dysfunctions, including the spine. I use it in conjunction with chiropractic adjustments and brain-based neurology and posture as a preliminary step necessary to get to the root of the problem. This helps me guide patients on the do’s and don’ts specific to their problems. In the video below I use ART to work on the Pectoralis muscle. To show the range of conditions that this specific treatment is used, I can easily name conditions such as forward head carriage, tingling down the arm, headaches, mid back pain, knee pain, Plantar Fasciitis, pain and restriction of the arm and shoulder joint in all or a specific direction. This modality is highly effective in conditioning athletes for better performance and to address athletic injuries so it is not just used for pain only. 

An interesting observation I have made is the ‘disconnection’ between the brain and muscles involved in a movement as a result of a long term imbalance in the order of muscles coming in to the picture. Let me explain. Every muscle has a primary function and may have multiple side functions. When the main function is impaired (for whatever reason, injury or life style) that task still needs to be performed; many times another muscle whose job is something else pitches in to pick up the load. Imagine, now that muscle does its job and the original impaired muscle’s job.

Before long the person ends up with many exhausted muscles that simply perform the overall task at a mediocre at best level. This means the joints involved are now impacted by the lack of proper movement. By the way, this ends up causing osteoarthritis (OA). OA is not a by product of aging but improper alignment.

A door can be hanging on its frame for 100 years; as long as it is sitting on the frame properly aligned, there is no wear and tear at the edges of it. The same door, maybe 6 months old but sitting on its frame improperly and in a matter of a few months of use, you can see the wear and tear at the edge of the door where it hits the frame. THAT is osteroarthritis. The type of wear and tear we used to see in elderly not because it was an old age issue but because typically they were discovered in older people.

Back to Active Release Technique… it helps bring back the proper and the correct order of muscles in a specific movement. This is how we prevent bony and structural damage and assure proper health of joints and muscles.

In preparation for Active Release Technique session, you are asked to drink plenty of water before and after the session; while the session is not long and typically is 15-30 minutes, the intensity of the session ranks high on the scale.