The ART of Pain Relief

What is ART? What is ART? Active Release Techniques (ART) is a safe, quick, and effective way to treat almost all types of muscle injuries, aches and pains. This is a patented hands-on, non-invasive technique that has completely changed the way soft tissue injuries are treated. Many mixed martial arts competitors have already sung the praises of ART, attributing their increases in performance and rehabilitation from injuries to this technique. This revolutionary approach to treating muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and nerves has been gaining a lot of attention from the media nationwide, fueled by raving reviews from professional and elite athletes in every sport. Neck pain, back pain, shoulder problems, hand and wrist injuries, repetitive strain injuries, tendonitis, sciatica, knee problems, ankle injuries, and muscle strains are just a few of the many conditions that can be resolved quickly and permanently with ART.

Active Release Techniques was developed by Dr. Michael Leahy, which he trademarked as ART in 1988. It quickly became popular among Olympic and professional athletes due to its effectiveness and rapid recovery time, and has since been widely published, cited in hundreds of journal, magazine, and newspaper articles. As the name suggests, ART is a manual therapy that uses motion (with over 400 specific treatment protocols) that allow providers to identify and correct the specific problems that are affecting each individual patient. It works by breaking up scar tissue and adhesions that form within and between muscles. Scar tissue is typically thought of as something that occurs at the point of an injury. However, scar tissue can also form in muscles and soft tissues by excessive and forceful movements, repetitive motions, or accelerated movements from lifting, sprawling, striking, or throwing which is common in MMA training and competition.

We can think of adhesions as scar tissue that forms from a lack of oxygen to injured soft tissues that develop from repetitive use or traumatic injuries. Scar tissue is comparable to glue in between the muscles which restricts normal ranges of motion and binds up and ties down muscle fibers and other connective tissues. As scar tissue builds up, we see that muscles become shorter and weaker, the tension on tendons can develop into tendonitis, and sometimes nerves may even become trapped. This cycle leads to a reduced range of motion, loss of strength, stiffness, and pain. If a nerve is entrapped it is also common to experience tingling, numbness, and weakness. When any of these conditions occur in an athlete who relies upon speed and strength, it will most definitely affect his or her performance on the mat or in the ring.

How Does ART work?Each ART session is actually a combination of examination and treatment. A trained ART provider uses their hands as tools to locate adhesions by evaluating 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. Once the adhesions are located and contact on the injured structure is made, the muscle will slide underneath the provider’s contact as the patient brings his body through an active range of motion. As the adhesions break up, the muscles begin to lengthen and become more elastic. This allows for increased blood flow to the injured area which stimulates repair and proper functioning of the muscles.

Each course of therapy is individually designed to resolve the patient’s problems without surgery, and it allows patients to return to their normal activities as soon as possible. Since most injuries usually involve weakness and flexibility deficits in the surrounding muscles, we almost always give our patients a specific program of stretching and strength building to help prevent future problems.

Sidebars“I’ve used ART successfully to treat acute and chronic neck pain, back pain, tendonitis in the shoulders, muscle strains, ankle sprains, and a host of other injuries from training and competing in martial arts. The great thing about ART is that it is very effective and the results are pretty fast which is critical for my patients who train and compete in MMA.”- Dr. John H. Park, C.S.C.S.

Dr. Park is a Certified ART Provider and BJJ blue belt under Master Mike Moses of Evolve Academy in MD. For more information you can visit or to find a certified provider near you.

What conditions can be fixed by ART?The following are just a few of the many conditions that can be resolved quickly and permanently with ART. These conditions all have one thing in common: they result from injury due to overused muscles.

* Repetitive strain injuries * Ankle injuries* Back pain/ injuries * Bunions/ bursitis* Carpal Tunnel Syndrome * Compartment Syndrome* Foot pain/ injury * Impingement Syndrome* Joint Dysfunction * Knee Meniscus injuries* Knee pain * Muscle pulls or strains * Neck pain * Nerve Entrapment Syndromes* Running Injuries * Sciatica* Shin splints * Shoulder pain * Tendonitis * Thoracic Outlet Syndrome* Hand injuries * Hip pain* Iliotibial Band Syndrome * Plantar Fascitis* Post Surgical Pain * Rib pain* Rotator Cuff Syndrome * TMJ* Weight Lifting Injuries * Whiplash* Wrist injuries * Myofascitis

TechGasp Comments Master

About the author

Dr. John H. Park