Posted by: ensomabodyworks | May 15, 2013

The Myth of ART or “Active Release Tecnique”

I am writing to educate the uninformed and clarify for those readers who know what ART is and is not.  The quick version is ART is massage for chiropractors.   ART is touted on the official ART website as “patented state of the art therapy.”  Its not.  It’s pinning and stretching muscle. Something Massage and Physical  Therapists and Osteopathic physicians have been doing long before ART was “invented” by a very business savvy and GOOD chiropractor back in the 80’s or 90’s.  He has stated that he created ART since most health care professionals do not address muscle injuries but focus on joint and tendon ad was filling a need for consumers.  I fully agree with him but want you the reader to know that any well trained Massage therapist with training in medical or sports or orthopedic massage  already does what he describes as “patented state of the art therapy.”

For the full story please read on:   Below is my email reply to the editor at a mens magazine which highlighted ART as the thing to do for muscle injuries.
I am writing to reply to the information concerning muscle injury treatment with “ART” in the article on “Optimizing Mark Teixeira.” The end of the article describes the various modalities Mark uses to stay healthy and recover faster from injuries. One such modality is “ART” or Active Release Technique.
I am happy to see that you are promoting soft tissue therapy for muscle injuries, since muscle is widely overlooked  by doctors, while being a major source of pain and dysfunction in muscles and joints.

I would like to see you promote Massage Therapy as a more comprehensive soft-tissue system than ART, for these reasons:

1. Massage Therapy has a growing body of knowledge validating its effectiveness, while ART does not. 

2. More importantly,  when it comes to muscle therapy, ART is the “sizzle” and Massage Therapy is the “steak.”   A competent massage therapist with training in deep tissue, sports, trigger point, medical, myofascial or orthopedic massage therapy will provide a much more comprehensive session in addressing the injured and dysfunctional muscle and muscle groups.

What is ART? ART is limited to using your hand, finger or thumb to pin a muscle down while putting the muscle and associated joint through a series of range of motion movements.  Massage Therapists have been going far beyond “pinning and stretching” muscles long before there was a “patented and state of the art soft tissue system/movement based massage technique” as described on the ART official website. ART is easily mastered by chiropractors with limited experience with massage. However, good Massage Therapists utilize a much wider arsenal of techniques as part of a therapeutic progression to address muscle injuries, while an ART-trained chiropractor has a very limited toolbox of  soft tissue therapies.   I think the combination of ART and spine and extremity adjustments for athletes is a good start, but when you have a muscle injury and dysfunction why not go to the muscle expert?  This is where a trained Massage expert shines.

In addition to taking a broader and more comprehensive approach to muscle inquiries, a well-trained Massage expert will look for and treat trigger points (a.k.a. myofascial pain and dysfunction), another ignored cause of muscle pain and dysfunction that is discounted by most medical professionals. Many massage and physical therapists and most chiropractors know of trigger points, but most do not know how to effectively treat them.

If you already covered Massage Therapy in your magazine, I may have missed those articles as a new reader. Your readers will appreciate information on sport and muscle injury focused Massage Therapy to address and prevent injuries. Explaining to them in simple terms what a Massage Therapist can do for them (just like the ART piece) will allow them to make better informed decisions and receive the best possible care from the ART-trained chiropractor or / and a well-trained Massage Therapist.

Massage Therapy is growing as one of the most widely used CAM (complementary and alternative medicine) therapies today. I am honored to be an educator and professional in its ranks, and would love to share some of my knowledge with your readers.  Would you be open to a discussion on how I might contribute via an article, quick fact chart or blurb? You can reach me via email or phone number below.

If you have any articles on massage therapy can you please direct me to them.? I look forward to sharing more should this interest you.

Thank you for your time,


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