What is Active Release Techniques?
Active Release Techniques is a patented hands-on treatment approach to injuries to a muscle, tendon, ligament, nerve and the surrounding soft tissue. This treatment was developed by Dr. Michael Leahy, a chiropractor. Although similar to some massage techniques, Active Release Techniques is more specific. Registered Active Release Techniques Providers are specialized at knowing where to look for adhesions, how to feel for them and how to use the active motion of the body part to break them up.
Health conditions Active Release Techniques is recommended for
Active Release Techniques is extremely effective in treating many conditions, including:
- Back Pain
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Shin splints
- Shoulder Pain
- Knee injuries
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Tennis Elbow
These conditions all have one important thing in common: they often result from injuries to over-used muscles. And those injuries can be caused in three different ways:
- acute injuries (pulls, tears, collisions)
- accumulation of small tears from over-use (micro-trauma)
- lack of oxygen (hypoxia)
Each of these factors can cause your body to produce tough, dense, scar tissue in the affected area. This scar tissue binds up and ties down other tissues that need to move freely. As scar tissue builds up, muscles become shorter and weaker, tension on tendons can cause tendonitis, and nerves can become entrapped. This can cause reduced ranges of motion, loss of strength and pain. If a nerve is trapped, you may also feel tingling, numbness and weakness.
For those reasons, prompt and proper treatment is essential for healing and rehabilitation.
Frequently Asked Questions
A referral is not necessary to be assessed or treated at Back & Body Health. However, we welcome patients who have been referred by their family doctor, OB/GYN, or other health care specialists.
The initial assessment consists of a thorough health history and examination that helps identify factors that are influencing your health. At that point, we review the therapies that may be used in your treatment plan, the alternatives available including appropriate referral to other health care providers if necessary and any risks relevant to your treatment. We then address any questions that you may have. Treatment is then performed at that time or in a minority of patients, further diagnostic tests are ordered (i.e. x-rays) and treatment is continued at a later time. The typical initial assessment takes anywhere from 40 to 60 minutes, depending on each patient’s condition(s).
We suggest that patients bring comfortable clothing that they would typically wear as if they were going on a run or to the gym. This ensures that your concerns can be assessed properly.
Every Active Release Techniques session involves a combination of examinations and treatments. Active Release Techniques providers use their hands to evaluate the texture, tightness and movement of muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and nerves. Any abnormal tissues are then treated by applying a very specific tension to the muscle involved while moving the muscle underneath the contact (thumb or fingers of doctor’s hand).
This method softens and stretches the scar tissue, resulting in increased range of motion, increased strength and improved circulation, which all optimize healing. These treatment protocols – over 500 of them – are unique to Active Release Techniques, and allow Active Release Techniques providers to identify and correct the specific problems that are affecting each individual patient.
It has been our experience that the vast majority of patients who come into Back & Body Health do not require x-rays (diagnostic imaging) to have their conditions treated effectively. Sometimes, however, x-rays are recommended in order to rule out serious conditions or if a patient does not respond to treatment as expected. It is our policy to refer you to radiology centres outside of the clinic to have any diagnostic imaging performed.
Every case is different; however, you should notice an improvement after the first few treatments. We never tell patients that they need to come 3 times a week for months on end before they see any change. Never. We assess progress and review the treatment plan during every patient appointment. Once your condition is resolved or we feel that the maximal improvement has been attained, you then have the choice regarding future treatment. For some people treatment is like a regular physical tune-up to help deal with the daily wear and tear of life. For others, it’s simply an effective treatment when pain or other health issues occur. Back & Body Health’s policy is to keep the patient fully informed and ensure that you play an active role in managing your health issues.