Active Release Techniques (ART) is a soft tissue method that focuses on relieving tissue tension via the removal of fibrosis/adhesion that can develop in tissues from overload due to repetitive use. It is both diagnostic and treating techniques for the disorders which may lead to weakness, numbness, tingling, burning, aching etc.
Active release technique is designed to accomplish three things:
1. to restore free and unimpeded motion of all soft tissues
2. to release entrapped nerves, vasculature and lymphatics
3. to re-establish optimal texture, resilience and function of soft tissues.
Sports Massage Techniques:
Sports medicine A Western massage that addresses specific needs of athletes Components Swedish massage, cross-fiber friction massage, deep compression massage, trigger point therapy Timing During training, before or after events, to enhance performance, or promote healing postinjury.
Trigger Point Therapy:
Trigger point myotherapy also known as neuromuscular therapy or sometimes massage therapy consists of alternating levels of concentrated pressure on the areas of muscle spasm. Pressure is applied with the fingers, knuckles, and/or elbow in ten to thirty second intervals to effectively alleviate the muscle spasm. Neuromuscular therapy works by relaxing the muscle in order to release stored lactic acid and encourage blood and oxygen circulation to the muscle to avoid the production of more lactic acid. The therapeutic pressure and massage typically produces initial soreness and “good pain” in muscle tissue.
The purpose of Swedish massage is to relax the entire body, but it also has a number of other health benefits. Swedish massage improves blood circulation, increases the level of oxygen in the blood, helps the body removes toxins, improves flexibility, eases tension and helps with pain management. This is accomplished by using a variety of techniques, primarily rubbing the muscles with long gliding strokes in the direction of blood returning to the heart.
A technique in mind/body medicine for coping with stress, anxiety and pain, which is based on the belief that fuller breathing supplies the body with more energy for improved healing.
The goal of myofascial therapy is to stretch and loosen the fascia so that it and other contiguous structures can move more freely, and the patient’s motion is restored. For this reason, myofascial therapy is sometimes referred to as ‘myofascial release’ therapy. It may also be referred to as ‘myofascial trigger point therapy’ by others.
Deep Tissue Therapy:
“Deep Tissue” implies that the therapist will be penetrating into your muscle tissue, working IN BETWEEN your muscle tissue fibers – something that is impossible to accomplish with broad, gliding massage strokes over relaxed muscles. In fact, a thorough, full-body “deep tissue” massage would take several hours to several days to accomplish, regardless of the technique being used, and is not recommended for beginner massage recipients due to the large volume of toxins released during such a lengthy, aggressive process.
Many will argue that true Deep Tissue techniqes aren’t really “massage” at all because the client doesn’t get to relax until after the treatment is finished. In many cases, the treatment more resembles Physical Therapy than Massage Therapy, as the client is often required to participate by doing a good deal of the work.
There are five primary techniques for accomplishing “deep tissue” between-the-muscle-fibers massage:
Active Motion: In this technique, the client is working with the therapist in order to flex and stretch the muscle being worked as the therapist is applying firm pressure on it. When the client flexes a muscle, the fibers spread and the therapist can wiggle in between the muscle fibers; when the client stretches or relaxes the muscle, it softens to allow the therapist to work in a little deeper. The continuation of this alternating flex and relax/stretch allows for the most effective and painless penetration of the muscle tissue possible. Each muscle pair (the same muscle on both sides of the body) may take as long as 15-20 minutes to work efficiently, but can be adequatly worked in as little as 5-10 minutes if worked lightly. Rolfing and Active Release are two examples of this type of deep tissue manipulation.
Passive Motion: This technique is similar to the Active Motion technique, except that the therapist is working the muscle with one hand and moving the body part being worked with the other hand. This technique is much more relaxing for the recipient, but is much more taxing for the therapist. A full-body treatment using this technique by a single therapist is nearly impossible, unless your therapist looks something like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Some specialized forms of Myofascial Release are good examples of this type of deep tissue manipulation.
Static Pressure: In this technique, the therapist is using thumbs, fingertips and even elbows to apply firm pressure to individual points on a muscle. In order to encourage the muscle to relax and allow penetration in this technique, it is necessary for the therapist to move very, VERY slowly. One individual muscle may take as long as 20 minutes to cover sufficiently, and this technique often causes bruising and slight discomfort. Trigger Point Therapy is one example of this type of deep tissue manipulation.
Muscle Stripping: There are at least two variations of Muscle Stripping: Rapid and Slow. Rapid Muscle Stripping is the most aggressive and painful of the techniques discussed here, but may also be the most effective in extreme cases such as chronic pain conditions caused by incorrectly-healed or untreated past injury. In this technique, the therapist is using knuckles or elbows to firmly and rapidly “strip” the muscle while the client is breathing deeply and performing a rapid stretching movement with the body part being treated. It is recommended only in extreme cases, or when a rapid result is desired. In Slow Muscle Stripping, the therapist is using thumbs or elbows with very slow, firm, deep movements. The goal of muscle stripping is to actually reinjure the muscle tissue in order to allow for proper healing to occur. (In bone, this is done when a broken bone has healed in an improper alignment, and must be re-broken and realigned in order to heal properly.)
*Negative Pressure: This technique involves the use of suction cups applied to the body, which causes the muscle fibers to expand and separate, as opposed to traditional pressure-strokes used in mainstream massage which compress the fibers together. By expanding the muscle tissue, it allows for additional space within the muscle for lactic acid and other toxins to flow and be released from the tissue more completely and more rapidly than with traditional massage techniques. The suction that occurs also forces body fluid to flow through the tissue, which further encourages toxins to be “flushed” from the area. It also allows the therapist to more effectively re-align tight muscle tissue fibers, which relieves the proverbial “knot” that is created by tension and excess lactic acid buildup. The down-side of this technique is the potential for “hickeys” to occur, which can be very alarming to a massage recipient who hasn’t been fore-warned about their potential for occurence. This technique is also known as Cupping Therapy or Massage Cupping. Using less pressure and gliding strokes with the suction cups, Negative Pressure may also be used as a relaxing “feel-good” massage technique.
*This type of therapy is not done in my office