How is ART therapy different from sports massage?

This article originally appeared in 220triathlon magazine. 

We ask a practitioner of Active Release Techniques about the injuries it can treat, what it involves and where to find a provider  

Do you have a niggle that stubbornly refuses to be fixed by traditional sports massage? Heard about the popularity of Active Release Techniques with elite athletes and wondering what’s the dealio? We asked ART practitioner Thomas Feeney for the lowdown…

220: What is active release and what does it involve? How does it differ from traditional massage?

Active Release Techniques (ART) is a hands-on treatment in which a muscle, ligament or capsule is held with a tension while the structure is moved from under the tension. ART differs from massage in the use of movement of the limb (or spine) under tension, and the attention to anatomical detail.

What type of injuries can be treated? Is it solely for muscular injuries? What are some of the most common injuries you deal with?

Most soft tissue injuries: ITB syndrome, hamstring pulls, shoulder rotator cuff issues, hip flexor strains, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, Achilles tendinosis. ART is also effective in treating many issues that cause back, neck, and knee pain.

Can it be used as part of an injury prevention program as well as for treatment?

ART has been used on a preventative basis by elite triathletes in North America for a couple of decades, as well as every NFL team. Injury prevention is best achieved by movement screening which detects mobility problems (ART fixes these) and stability problems (motor control exercises fix these).

Articles I wrote or contributed to:

Telegraph  Athletics Weekly  220 Triathlon  Vigour Magazine

Podcasts I was on:

Ben Coomber Radio    Propane Fitness

I have treated the public and professional athletes for 19 years, using soft tissue work, Chiropractic, and prescribing the latest research based rehabilitation. I teach workshops in the North East of England to health professionals.