T Nation

Self Adminstered ART?


From my limited knowledge foam rolling is like a poor mans Active Release Technique that breaks down scar tissues (hard knots in the muscle tissue). So I suddenly got the idea to self administer something similar, basically on the muscle groups I can reach (shoulders/chest/thighs/calf) I dig my fingers in and look for hard spots. I then use my thumbs or the first joint or even my knuckle to really dig into the spot. Sure as hell did it hurt, but afterward I felt great.

Is there a possible drawback to this? I think I might be oversimplifying ART and might be hurting myself. Any input?


Try foam rolling with a tennis ball. Over in the authors locker room, Mike Robertson posting a free ebook “Self Myofascial Release” It’s quite good.


There is no VooDoo to ART, however just digging your fingers into a sore muscle and making it hurt is not the same thing as ART, neither is foam-rolling. ART combines pressure along with ACTIVE participation from the patient, hence the A in ART. For example when performing ART on the Tensor Fascia Latae (TFL) the ART therapist will lay the patient on their left side and have them lift there right knee to there chest.

The therapist will then apply pressure at the TFL insertion point and have the patient slowly extend their leg until it is straight, they repeat this several times and then do the other side.

I am not an ART therapist nor do I claim to know half of what goes into the technique, the information I am providing is based only upon my experience as an ART patient.


I am kind of dubious that the “Active” is intended to refer to the patient necessarily being the one causing movement. Certainly my practitioner in the great majority of movements causes and controls the movement himself.

As for do-it-yourself, though I’ve had at least 50 treatments and thus had good opportunity to try to learn from observation, my own efforts to try to give some improvement inbetween treatments by mimicking what he does, has never worked for me nearly as well as the practitioner doing.

I suppose all the schooling and experience does make a difference.

Lastly, simply pressing on a painful spot for a while, until there is a release, is a different technique than ART. It can be very helpful for many. And yes, it can be self-administered.


Hey Bill Glad you’re posting. It’s cool to have real time comments
by a true ledgend. Thanks


Well, I don’t know about true legend, but thanks! :slight_smile: