Dr. Michael Francis, DC is the Wilmington DE Chiropractor for Peak Performance, with a focus on both Sports and Auto Injuries.

What is the Active Release Technique in Chiropractic?

August 3, 2020

HomeBlogWhat is the Active Release Technique in Chiropractic?

The History

Over 30 years ago, Doctor Michael P. Leahy thought up a method to help athletes get on their feet and moving with a very speedy recovery. The technique he came up with is known as an Active Release Technique (ART). Dr.Leahy was working with elite athletes at the time to find a way to treat soft tissue disorders so the athletes could get back to their peak performance as fast as possible. Dr.Leahy found a method to get these athletes back on track, and this method has remained a popular technique to relieving any tissue or joint issues. 

At first, Dr. Leahy studied and worked in engineering for the Air Force before deciding on his new career as a chiropractor in 1984. When the doctor was just getting started, he enjoyed watching athletes perform, as well as their movements. While he was examining them, however, he thought of a way to combine his skills in engineering and his knowledge of chiropractic care, anatomy, and biomechanics to create a method of chiropractic care that would heal patients’ soft tissue disorders quickly to get them back out there as fast as possible. In the year 1988, soon after the doctor discovered this technique, his colleague convinced him to hold a training seminar to anyone interested in learning his newly forming idea. To Leahy’s surprise, the room they held the event inside was full of medical professionals interested in what he had to say, and if his new idea could make an impact in the world of athlete care. 

As a result, Dr. Leahy quickly began to formalize a teaching method for ART and the method has now been patented with over 10,000 providers of ART and ART has changed the lives of over 10 million people worldwide.

What is it?

ART is a form of chiropractic care that aims to treat your body’s soft tissue by combining manipulation and movement. For someone to conduct ART on a patient, they need to first identify the problem, isolate it, then target and manipulate the area to break up scar tissues. The breaking up of scar tissues promotes better blood flow and faster healing. ART can be used to heal a variety of problems in several parts of your body such as your

  • Muscles
  • Ligaments
  • Tendons
  • Nerves

At first, ART was just used by Dr. Leahy to treat his patients with chiropractic care but has since helped millions of people and has been used by a variety of different specialists and experts such as

  • Chiropractors
  • Physical Therapists
  • Massage Therapists 
  • Physicians

These ART providers use this technique to treat back pain, headaches, and other symptoms and conditions by soft tissue disorders and injuries. 

Our Wilmington Physical Therapists are skilled in this technique.

How does it work?

ART functions by breaking up dense clumps of scar tissues, or “adhesions”. These adhesions are formed when muscles and connective tissues are injured. When scar tissues bind between muscles, they may experience less flexibility, pain, and stiffness in both the muscles and the joints. 

At times, scar tissues are able to entrap entire nerves, but the manipulation of soft tissues through ART break up adhesions in your muscles, joints, and nerves, allowing them to move freely once again. During your ART session, your health provider will assess and isolate the area of trouble to identify the location of the scar tissues. They’ll use the Active Release Technique to isolate then manipulate the area to break up the scar tissues to restore proper blood flow and allow the area to properly heal. 

Active Release Technique or ART was thought of by a chiropractor by the name of Michael P. Leahy but is now used by a variety of healthcare providers and has served millions of people.

Need a physical therapist near Wilmington DE? Call Dr. Mike Francis!

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