At the beginning of my experience working with patients, I had the opportunity to work with many chronic patients. Most patients with chronic pain become inactive, as a way of avoiding the pain mechanism. However, collegiate athletes at the University of Colorado were a whole new ball game. Rest is not a definition they are familiar with. Pain is a feeling they’ve been dealing with for so long, that they become numb to it. For the first time, while doing my internship at the University of Colorado training room, I was working with the most chronically acute patients I had ever treated. Some track athletes had been dealing with Achilles tendonitis with severe bursitis for years. The first soft tissue treatment I learned was Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization. This involves using an instrument to break up adhesions, with the purpose of causing re-inflammation to trigger the healing cascade and increase collagen deposition to the area. While this technique works great for tendons and ligaments that have a decreased blood supply, I found it to be counterproductive on areas that are already inflammed, such as in a bursitis. My love for IASTM diminished slightly as I realized that I didn’t want to create more inflammation in order to resolve some of the soft tissue adhesions I was seeing.
This guided me towards my new passion for Active Release Technique. I realized that adhesions occur as a result of acute injury, repetitive motion, and constant pressure or tension. ART® is a more comprehensive way of eliminating the pain and dysfunction associated with these adhesions. The goal of ART® is to restore optimal texture, motion, and function of the soft tissue and release any entrapped nerves or blood vessels. This is accomplished through the removal of adhesions via the application of over 500 specific protocols. I have used ART® to treat conditions in the training room including plantar fascitis, iliotibial band syndrome, hamstring strain, and lateral epicondylitis. It is the gold standard for any soft tissue injury.