T Nation

Your Experience with A.R.T.


No, I’m not talking about THIS type of art but rather Active Release Technique (ART).

I intend for this thread to be a way for everyone who has been treated with A.R.T. to discuss their experiences. I haven’t found a thread concerning specific stories so here it goes . . .

I just started going to a great guy for A.R.T. since I heard about too many benefits not to try it. I’m not old (22) but I said why not give it a go since it can only help and I’m in this game for the long haul. Every bit helps.

It’s of course hard to see its effects directly in the workout but I do feel more comfortable with my mobility and it gives peace of mind knowing that my body appreciates the treatment.

My first session I got done I had my chest, shoulders, and upper back looked at which took about 35-40 minutes. It was cool to really feel the knots being worked out at times and I left relaxed. I can’t help but feel that getting these done once in awhile can really aid in my lifting.

That’s all I got for now.

So, what were your treatments like and how do you feel it has affected you?

I’ve seen this acronym mentioned here and other places and was interested but since no one ever explained what the acronym stood for I had trouble googling it.

I gather from your post it is a form of massage? I will google it now :slight_smile:

[quote]debraD wrote:
I’ve seen this acronym mentioned here and other places and was interested but since no one ever explained what the acronym stood for I had trouble googling it.

I gather from your post it is a form of massage? I will google it now :)[/quote]

Haha yea I forgot to mention what it is. In a nutshell it is a deep tissue massage and I explain it to others as the athlete form of chiropractics. It pretty much is supposed to release the knots that build up over time from all the stress placed on the muscles.

Not only does it help mobility and injury prevention and all that ‘boring’ stuff, but it also allows a tight muscle to have some release so that there is more room for muscle to grow into (awesome for bodybuilders). This will in turn allow for bigger weights to be used and larger muscles.

I rate it ineffective. Self-applied trigger point therapy is much more effective and a ton cheaper.

[quote]PRCalDude wrote:
I rate it ineffective. Self-applied trigger point therapy is much more effective and a ton cheaper. [/quote]

LOL Great argument for your stance. And based on the amount of pressure needed to massage my knots out, I don’t think my few fingers can really do much nor do I have the knowledge to make it truly more effective. And I spend $20/session (with insurance) with about every three weeks between sessions . . . not alot of money spent on a lifestyle important to me.

[quote]debraD wrote:
I’ve seen this acronym mentioned here and other places and was interested but since no one ever explained what the acronym stood for I had trouble googling it.

I gather from your post it is a form of massage? I will google it now :)[/quote]

It stands for Active Release Technique. It’s basically working your trouble areas through a range of motion while (painfully) digging in trouble spots. An example would be the therapist digging into your trap while moving your head in a certain direction.

BTW your avatar is super distracting :stuck_out_tongue:

I just went through 3 sessions around my rotator cuff. I hadn’t benched for 2 years because of shoulder pain and decided to do something about it.

Best money I’ve spent in a long, long time. The chiro I go to is sports/weight-training specific and does a lot of work with local area athletes.

I’m going again next week.

Additionally, I do a lot of trigger point work (as PRCalD mentioned) with tennis and lacrosse balls + foam roller. It all goes hand in hand. The doc does stretches and uses implements that I can’t do on my own.

This is my guy: http://www.raymondchiropractic.com/index.html

(shameless plug)

I can definitely justify the cost.

I’ve had a shoulder problem for 2 years. I’ve tried stretching, strengthening, taking a break and nothing worked.

I tried ART and started pressing again without pain. Now there is still something going on with it and I have an apt with a surgeon to take all the pics.

I mean, I haven’t pressed heavy in two years!

So this little step is huge for me.

Definitely worth it if you get a good guy.

The guy I go to is a prof bodybuilder btw.

My left shoulder had been pretty bad for quite some time. Very poor range of motion for both internal and external rotation, and frequent pain in ordinary daily movement. Some shoulder training movements remained doable but many were out of the question.

Weekly deep tissue massage did not fix this.

I decided to resume ART (I had been doing it more than a year ago) and just ONE session thus far has given remarkable improvement. Much better range of motion, considerably less pain during the day and night.

[quote]PRCalDude wrote:
Self-applied trigger point therapy is much more effective and a ton cheaper. [/quote]

More effective for what?

Trigger point therapy has it’s place, but to claim it’s more effective than competently preformed Active Release Techniques is crazy.

I’m not a practitioner, but I’ve had ART enough to know there’s a big difference, and I’ve worked in a clinic where I’ve seen it make a huge difference in many patients.

Of course, it’s not a miracle cure for everything. I think this is where get off track with it.

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
My left shoulder had been pretty bad for quite some time. Very poor range of motion for both internal and external rotation, and frequent pain in ordinary daily movement. Some shoulder training movements remained doable but many were out of the question.

Weekly deep tissue massage did not fix this.

I decided to resume ART (I had been doing it more than a year ago) and just ONE session thus far has given remarkable improvement. Much better range of motion, considerably less pain during the day and night.[/quote]

I wouldn’t have guessed that ART was that much more effective than your run-of-the-mill deep tissue massage. Good to know!

How much does something like this typically run without insurance?

I pay $40 for a half-hour session but have no idea whether that is typical or not.

ART fixed elbow injuries I’d had for about about 5 years in about 4 sessions and there was some immediate improvement after the first session.

I’d previously had various other treatments that did very little such as sports massage, standard physio, electro-laser gadgets, various rehab training protocols etc…

Can’t recommend it enough, one of the few treatments i’ve encountered that lives up to the hype.

If your budget allows a monthly session is a huge boost to training.

Also FWIW I recommend doing lots of light stretching and very gentle self massage on the treated areas immediately after the session

I have had excelent experiences with it for pect/shoulder, ITB, and lower back/hips injury recovery.

It’s a great part of a multi-modal treatment approach to injury recovery and prevention.

There should be quite a few threads about it in the archives though. I know that it has been discussed here quite a bit, and a few members here are either certified or in the process of becomming certified practitioners.

[quote]PRCalDude wrote:
I rate it ineffective. Self-applied trigger point therapy is much more effective and a ton cheaper. [/quote]

Wrong, trigger point work is not as effective because 1. you are going cross fiber and it’s not as effective of a way to break down adhesions and 2. You can’t get at most things. Try using some self trigger point work on your subscapularis when it’s adhering to the neurovascular sleeve.

Certain providers are not very effective, but also remember ART is brutal on a provider. You need tremendous hand and finger strength to really get out the tough stuff on a big muscular individual, contrary to what the ART people say.

I’ve been through all the courses, did 6 Ironman races as a volunteer treating doc and have had tremendous results from ART. But at times the providers really brought it tension wise.

Missing the spot, not getting all the spots, and lack of tension are the top reason for ineffective treatment.

As for the cost aspect With the time it might take and the beating the provider takes, be prepared to pay. I paid 140$ for a good sports massage at Sandals resort in the Bahamas. You want me to treat you for an hour, it will cost you. But in reality , most won’t want an hour of tough aRT work.

after you get the major crap taken care of tune ups if needed shoudl be easier, quicker and cheaper.

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
I pay $40 for a half-hour session but have no idea whether that is typical or not.[/quote]

Not bad at all. I’m a chiropractor and ART is covered under myofascial release. I bill 40 $ for that procedure code for a 15 minute block. if you’re paying cash at a massage therapists, it’s in the ballpark, depending on your area.

I go to an awesome ART provider in Ridley, PA, Dr. Mike Collins. This guy used to be the team chiro for the Philadelphia Eagles, and he worked for several other sports teams. The cool part is that he really understands athletes, and even more so he fully understands strength athletes.

I had severe pain in my right forearm to the point that I couldn’t grip at all, my bicep power was gone, and I was losing feeling in 3 fingers. I was still trying to bench competitively, and I could compete ok. But having 900 pounds over your face when you can’t feel your fingers and your arm feels like its going to fall off anytime is not fun.

Doc Collins killed me 2 days a week for 3 months, but he cured the problem. Now I go back for tune-ups or whenever I injure myself.

I have had 4 or 5 serious injuries over the years that sort of accumulated and never healed properly. ART has fixed all of them so far.

For the guy who says its ineffective—tell that to my forearms.

My insurance covers ART under the same part as chiro care, so I pay $20 a session for up to 30 sessions a year (combined chiro and ART). I have no clue what it costs if I had to pay cash.

Some things I didn’t add before . . .

I knew about ART for about a year or so but didn’t go because I heard it hurt immensely and also that it’s a problem if you get a bad practitioner. So I solved the problem by ignoring the idea.

I only went to my guy because of a friend’s great experience and he looked more than legit on his site. I’m glad I trusted that.

As for the pain, I was expected some torture based on what is available to read as far as testimonials go but man it felt good to have pressure. Most of the time all of his pressure is being applied and pushing into me or whatever so I know it’s hitting the right spot. Once in awhile I may feel a little spook with something not so comfortable like a hot spot but that’s about it.

just out of curiosity, has anyone after many ART sessions been able to visually tell that their muscle has more room to grow into (fuller look)?

Also, what have the treatments been in order for all of you? Like, my first session was upper back, traps, shoulders, chest. Second was forearms. My next will be glutes/hamstrings. But I don’t have a specific issue to treat so this is based on what’s most important to bodybuilders I guess.

[quote]IronDude17 wrote:
Some things I didn’t add before . . .

I knew about ART for about a year or so but didn’t go because I heard it hurt immensely and also that it’s a problem if you get a bad practitioner. So I solved the problem by ignoring the idea.[/quote]

So how do you tell a good practitioner from a bad one? From what I can see there are only 2 in my area so I might not be able to be that choosy.