Monday, August 26, 2013

Active Release Techniques (A.R.T.)

In case you've wondered where I've disappeared to, I just finished finals and then almost immediately went to Boston for the lower extremity Active Release Techniques seminar. In case you're not familiar with A.R.T., it is a soft tissue technique that treats problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and nerves by applying tension and getting them moving relative to each other. Many of you have probably heard the term "scar tissue adhesion" being thrown around by your friends who have had body work done. These adherences can limit range of motion, cause muscles to shorten and weaken, cause pain, and entrap nerves. Breaking down these adhesions is a large part of A.R.T. But Dr. Leahy explains it better than I, so check the site for a full explanation.

The class consisted of three days of 8 hours of class, followed by a practical exam to test competency. There are 96 different protocol for lower extremity, which meant that it is a rather accelerated class, with a hefty text and plenty of outside practice. The class itself involved demonstrations, practice on and feedback from instructors, and practice with other students. And coffee...lots and lots of coffee for long days (I was out the door and running by 4:30am, on the train into Boston proper well before 7am, didn't get back to the house until after 6pm, and then it was time for my second run, dinner, and studying the material before bed. Props to you city people who live this schedule all the time!) Most other people taking the class were already licensed medical professionals (mostly chiropractors and physical therapists, with a few massage therapists, athletic trainers, and so on mixed in), but I figure it doesn't hurt to get a headstart as a student so I have A.R.T. in my toolbox for clinic, and so I have practice with it by the time I am treating real patients. I believe there were about seven of us from New York Chiropractic College. All I can say is I'm glad I had already completed lower extremity anatomy and had a pretty good working knowedge of how those muscles work, because otherwise I'd have had no chance of learning a semester's worth of techniques in three days. I do, however, wish I was still rock climbing, because I definitely need to build hand strength up again.

I'm sure someone is curious how running in Boston went, so here you go. Running sucked and I couldn't figure out why Boston was such a popular running destination (well, the marathon, but still) until the last day, when I finished my exam and found a path that paralleled the river that was really nice (though really crowded, but still nice). Lesson learned...even if you're running somewhere with great places to run, you won't find it on your own by trying to explore an unfamiliar city at 4:30am.


  1. If we have strong and healthy muscles, these can resist against many disease. So we need to concentrate upon the getting the strong muscles.
    physical therapy Bergen County

    1. Definitely, absolutely agree that strength (and functional flexibility, which goes hand in hand with strength) is crucial. They're all just components of a well-rounded treatment plan.


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