Active Release Technique (ART) is a state of the art, hands-on soft tissue technique used at Sioux Center Chiropractic Wellness Clinic which is designed specifically to find scar tissue in damaged tissues and release the adhesions that are resulting.  This technique was developed by Dr. Michael Leahy, a Colorado based chiropractor and aeronautical engineer in the mid 1980’s and is currently utitlized by athletes ranging from runners and triathletes to professional sports teams, Olympic weightlifters, and over 278 corporate partners.

What is ART?

ART begins by the doctor using his hands to feel for tight or tender muscles. These sore muscles cause pain in the body due to their excessive tightness. When a muscle becomes tight it becomes weak, and when a weak muscle is present it gets even tighter, creating a never ending loop of tightness and weakness (see figure below). As the muscles become more dysfunctional they experience pain, fatigue, or decreased range of motion. Once this cycle has started it will require the intervention of a doctor in order to restore the quality of the muscles and improve biomechanics. This way the pain will be less likely to return.

 Once the cause of the problem is determined, the doctor will then cover the muscle with his hands and apply both compression and tension while the muscle is moved through a specific range of motion. The compression and tension that is applied will loosen up the muscle and allow blood flow and oxygen to help break the cycle of pain and begin to heal the tissue. The most beneficial part of the technique is creating tension, but it is also the hardest component to achieve. Patients often times come into our office having tried massage therapy, foam rolling, or using lacrosse balls to loosen up muscles without getting their tightness to fully resolve. This is because the proper amount of tension is not being applied to the muscle!

How Else Can ART Help?

This technique also works with irritated nerves and nerve pain such as carpal tunnel syndrome or sciatica. As the muscle becomes tight it will compress on the nerve. When the nerve is compressed it becomes irritated and causes numbness, tingling, burning, or electric like pain. Relieving the tightness in the muscles using ART will remove the nerve irritation and allow the nerve to move freely again.

Who is Qualified to Perform ART?

ART is a highly sought after therapy and is only allowed to be performed by specifically trained Chiropractors, Physical Therapists, Massage Therapists, Certified Athletic Trainers, and Medical Doctors. There are over 500 protocols specific to the treatment of nearly every muscle, ligament, and nerve in the human body. Training is geared specifically towards the evaluation and treatment of soft tissue injuries. Currently it takes 69 hours of hands-on education from trained instructors and clinicians followed with successfully passing a practical examination to become full-body certified in the technique. Yearly coursework providing the most up to date information is also required to retain certification.


Dr. Tyler’s Approach

Dr. Tyler is full body certified in ART and a variety of other soft tissue therapies. Combining these treatment methods with corrective exercises and joint mobility protocols allows him to attain the best results in the shortest time frame. Other techniques Dr. Tyler utilizes include Graston/FAKTR, Rock Tape, Class IV laser therapy, and Chiropractic adjustments.

If you are interested in ART, or any of our other services, please contact us today. New patients are always welcome at Sioux Center Chiropractic Wellness Clinic!

Dr. Tyler Armstrong

Dr. Tyler Armstrong

Doctor of Chiropractic

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