Dr. P. Michael Leahy started Active Release Techniques® over 30 years ago. ART® began when Dr. Leahy was working with elite athletes as a way to treat soft tissue disorders so they could get back to peak performance as quickly as possible.
Dr. Leahy studied engineering in the Air Force before becoming a chiropractor in 1984. As he watched athletes perform, and studied their movement he realized he could combine what he knew about engineering with his chiropractic knowledge of anatomy and biomechanics to treat their soft tissue disorders quickly and get them back in their competition.
In 1988 some of Dr. Leahy’s chiropractor colleagues convinced him to hold a seminar to teach his method of treatment. The room they reserved for the event overflowed with doctors interested in learning this new technique, and afterward Dr. Leahy quickly began formalizing a training method for ART®.
Since then, the method has been patented and over 10,000 ART® providers have been trained. ART® has treated and transformed the lives of over 100 million people worldwide.
ART® is a patented, state of the art soft tissue system/movement based massage technique that treats problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves. Headaches, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, shin splints, shoulder pain, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, knee problems, and tennis elbow are just a few of the many conditions that can be resolved quickly and permanently with ART. These conditions all have one important thing in common: they are often a result of overused muscles.
HOW DO OVERUSE CONDITIONS OCCUR?
Over-used muscles (and other soft tissues) change in three important ways:
- acute conditions (pulls, tears, collisions, etc)
- accumulation of small tears (micro-trauma)
- not getting enough oxygen (hypoxia)
Each of these factors can cause your body to produce tough, dense scar tissue in the affected area. This scar tissue binds up and ties down tissues that need to move freely. As scar tissue builds up, muscles become shorter and weaker, tension on tendons causes tendonitis, and nerves can become trapped. This can cause reduced range of motion, loss of strength, and pain. If a nerve is trapped you may also feel tingling, numbness, and weakness.
Every ART® session is actually a combination of examination and treatment. The ART® provider uses his or her hands to evaluate the texture, tightness and movement of muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and nerves. Abnormal tissues are treated by combining precisely directed tension with very specific patient movements.
These treatment protocols – over 500 specific moves – are unique to ART®. They allow providers to identify and correct the specific problems that are affecting each individual patient. ART® is not a cookie-cutter approach.