From Our Editors
Active Release Techniques: The Battle Against Scar Tissue
Practitioners here use Active Release Techniques to treat muscular pain. Find out how it’s different from traditional therapeutic massage with Groupon's study of the modality.
There are more than 500 different movements used in the practice of Active Release Techniques (ART), but they all strive to accomplish the same thing: alleviate pain and enhance mobility by breaking down scar tissue in muscles, tendons, and ligaments. ART practitioners wield the same penetrating, kneading strokes as deep-tissue massage, with one key difference. While most massage patients usually just lie there and let themselves be transported to a tranquil pool filled with lavender-scented clouds, ART therapists instruct them to perform prescribed movements as they apply pressure manually to the same area. This is the active component, and it has two key benefits. First, it allows therapists to feel how the muscles and soft tissues move as a unit and adjust the treatment strategy accordingly. It also adds muscular tension, which they find makes it easier to detect and break down scar tissue.
Like deep-tissue massage, active-release therapy can cause some discomfort to patients during the treatment. So, depending on the pain involved, therapists may move the affected areas themselves in early treatments until patients are capable of performing the motion themselves.