What is an ART?
An ART is someone who specializes in Active Release Techniques. They are usually licensed as a Chiropractic Doctor or Physical Therapist, but take many additional courses/classes to become certified in ART. These doctors use soft tissue movements based on specialized massage techniques and stretching to treat problems with the muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and nerves.
What is a Typical Treatment Like?
A typical appointment with your ART should be about 20 – 30 minutes. You will talk about what is bothering you and how you are feeling. Then they will get to work. They will begin massaging and stretching out certain areas of your body to get to the root of the problem. This is not a nice calming massage – this is a teeth clenched, trying not to scream out curse works, hurts so good massage. Your body may even be a little sore that day, but you should start to see improvements and benefits quickly.
Then, after the hands-on time, your ART should talk to you a bit about what is the root cause of your problem. For example: tight, inflexible ankles are what is causing your calves to knot up. After that, they should give you some tips, and even model some stretching and strengthening activities you can do on your own at home.
Beware: If you go to an ART and they only talk to you for a minute or two and then just toss you onto a laser machine this is not the ART for you. The goal is hands-on manipulation and help.
Why can Runners Benefit from ART?
1. They Keep you Up and Running – While many doctors solution to fixing the pain and injury from running is, “Stop Running!” ART providers are different. ART focuses on helping you improve while keeping you up and running.
2. They Help with Overuse Injuries – In many cases the pain that comes from overuse is par for the course for people training hard for half and full marathons. It’s your body’s way of telling you to slow down, but instead we keep on training. ART breaks up the scare tissue and muscle tightness/tension that comes with overuse injuries.
3. It is Preventative – Runners preform the same repetitive motion over and over again so any small biomechanical flaw (let’s be real – very few people have perfect mechanics) can create a muscle imbalance. If this muscle imbalance is left untreated it can trigger a much more serious injury. However, by seeing an ART regularly for preventative care (I personally go every other week) you can treat and focus on these smaller imbalances before they become major problems.
Find Your Own ART
Use the ART provider finder to locate all the certified ARTs near you. Then, call around to find out which ones accept your insurance. After that, talk to them a bit by phone or email to find out their experience treating runners and what a typical appointment with them is like. Finally, pick the one that sounds best and try it out. If you do not find your perfect fit the first time you can always select a different ART.
Let me know –
Have you ever had an appointment with someone who practices ART?
Would you be willing to try it out?