ART Stands for Active Release Techniques. It is a new and highly successful hands-on treatment method to address problems in the soft tissue of the body, including the muscles, ligaments, fascia, and nerves. ART treatment is highly successful in dealing with hip injuries because it is specially designed to locate and treat scar tissue adhesions that accumulate in the muscles and surrounding soft tissues. By locating and treating the soft- tissue adhesions with ART, it allows the practitioner to, 1) break –up restrictive adhesions, 2) reinstate normal tissue flexibility and movement, and 3) more completely restore flexibility, balance and stability to the injured area and to the entire hip. As a side note, it is not uncommon for practitioners to misdiagnose hip pain as a low back condition and the problematic area being the hip goes completely untreated.
You can think of ART treatment as a type of active massage. The practitioner will first shorten the muscle, tendon, or ligament, and then apply a very specific pressure with their hands as you actively stretch and lengthen the tissue. As the tissue lengthens the practitioner is able to assess the texture and tension of the muscle to determine if the tissue is healthy or contains scare tissue that needs further treatment. When scare tissue adhesions are felt the amount and direction of tension can be modified to treat the problematic area. In this sense, each treatment is also an assessment of the health of the area as we are able to feel specifically where the problem is occurring.
An additional benefit of ART is it allows us to further assess and correct problems not only at the site of pain itself, but also in other areas of the kinetic chain, which are associated with movement compensations and are often contributing factors to the problem. This ensures that all the soft tissue that have become dysfunctional and are contributing to the specific injury are addressed, even if they have not yet all developed pain.
One of the best things about ART is how fast it can get results. From my experience, the majority of hip injuries respond very well to ART treatment, especially when combined with home stretching and strengthening exercises. Although each case is unique and there are several factors that determine the length of time required to fully resolve each condition, we usually find a significant improvement can be gained in just 4-6 treatments. These results are the main reason that many elite athletes and professional sport teams have ART practitioners on staff, and why ART is an integral part of the Ironman triathlon series.