Active Release Techniques

What is Active Release Technique (ART)?
Active Release Technique (ART) is a specialized massage-based treatment used by trained practitioners to diagnose and treat problems related to soft tissues. Soft tissues include muscles, nerves, ligaments, tendons, and the connective tissue that surrounds or contains them. Repetitive sprain strains, adhesions, tissue hypoxia and joint dysfunction are just some of the problems that can be addressed using Active Release Techniques.

ART providers use their hands to evaluate the texture, motion, and tightness of the soft tissue. Soft tissue adhesion can occur in two ways: through an acute injury, blow, pull or strain or from repetitive movement. Due to the compression, the affected tissues suffer from decreased blood supply, feel tighter, and respond by producing scar tissue for protection. As adhesion builds up, muscles can become shorter and weaker, motion is compromised, and nerve entrapment can occur. By using specific hands-on treatment, the ART provider’s goal is to remove the fibrosis adhesion and restore optimal performance to the tissue.

How does ART work?
In general, the following procedure is used by ART chiropractors to treat injured soft tissues:

  1. Determine the nature of the injury (tear, scar, an adhesion or inflammation) and which muscle, ligament, and/or tendon is affected
  2. Use specific body motions in conjunction with hands-on manipulation of the injured area to make the layers of soft tissue slide over one another
  3. This practice could break up the adhesion, force a layer of muscle to slide over another muscle or release any trapped nerves. Treatment may sometimes be uncomfortable but is always done to the patient’s tolerance.

What specific conditions and injuries can ART treat?
Active Release Techniques can treat a variety of conditions including:

  • Headaches and back pain
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome & other peripheral nerve entrapments
  • Spinal pain and dysfunction
  • Tendonitis & other soft tissue inflammatory disorders of the joints
  • Sciatica, shin splints, recurring sprains and strains
  • Muscle and ligament sprains and strains

Dr. Cris Barkmeier, DC – ART Practitioner
In addition to being a licensed Garden Grove chiropractor, Dr. Cris Barkmeier, is a full-body certified Active Release Technique provider. He uses both ART and chiropractic to effectively diagnose and treat soft tissue injuries in patients.