Firstly, fascia is a thin sheath of fiberous tissue which surrounds organs and muscles. Like a massage, the purpose of this myofascial release is to relieve shortness and tightness from stiffened muscles. Generally, people seek out a chiropractor to help when an area of their body has lost full range of motion or flexibility resulting in discomfort. When fascia becomes ‘bound down’, pain can occur at certain trigger points. To reduce connective tissue inflammation and restriction, pressure can be applied by a chiropractor to the sensitive area to restore muscle movement. There are other techniques which have branched off from this basic principle and are generally employed in tandem to reduce pain and even reverse the negative affects of certain conditions.
In 1985, Dr. P. Michael Leahy, DC, CCSP, developed a new technique for treating his patients out of the necessity to find better recovery solutions to sports injuries. He patented his approach as Active Release Technique which combines deep tissue massage with patient movement to identify and reduce scar tissue. Though originally designed for athletes, it can be used as a treatments for a number of different conditions to improve motion while reducing pain or discomfort. ART works by manipulating soft tissue to determine what adhesions are preventing normal mobility between muscles, joints and nerves. Following an injury, scar tissue is formed as the body’s way of keeping the affected area stable, but once healed can actually pinch nerves or add strain to a particular area. This over-stressed area can lead to further issues, but preventing the scar tissue build up with ART can reduce inflammation, stiffness, trauma, pain, tissue degredation and hypoxia. Moreover, it can counteract the the negative lasting affects of an injury as well as actively decrease chronic symptoms of conditions a patient may be struggling with.
ART treatments can be used to address many issues including:
- Back Pain
- Shin splints
- Carpal Tunnel
- Frozen Shoulder
- Tennis elbow
- Plantar Fascittis
Finally, ART can be applied to those not necessarily facing an injury or problem such as athletes who generally employ these techniques to prevent injury in the future. When normal muscle and connective tissue function is either restored or maintained, future problems are less likely to occur. Patients will notice improvements to range of motion, muscle strength, flexibility and athletic performance through continued treatments.