Active Release Technique Therapy

A.R.T is somewhat similar to massage therapy in that a therapist will use their hands to manipulate soft tissues. During A.R.T, however, the patient or the therapist will actively flex and extend different muscle groups during manual therapy. This active motion improves circulation and helps to break down scar tissue. A.R.T can help people with:

  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Tennis elbow
  • Shin splints
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Neck pain
  • Back pain

One study found that A.R.T was helpful for people with neck pain as it improved range of motion and the pressure pain threshold score.

Graston and Astym Therapy

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, there is a therapy called Gua sha, which is where a therapist uses a tool, such as a smooth stone, to scrape the skin. Gua sha improves circulation and helps to break down scar tissue. Many therapists have taken the gua sha concept and applied it to different physical therapy techniques, such as the Graston technique and the Astym technique.

Therapists that follow Graston and Astym protocols use plastic and/or metal tools to rub down soft tissues instead of their hands. If you have deeper areas of scar tissue that can’t be resolved by manual therapy, then these types of tools can be beneficial since the therapist can apply deeper pressure. These tools also come in a variety of shapes, which can help therapists pinpoint difficult-to-reach muscle groups, like the iliopsoas. Lastly, these tools help stimulate new cell growth in soft tissues and help the body resorb scar tissue.

Dry Needling

Dry needling is a therapy where practitioners use thin needles to break up scar tissue and reduce inflammation in trigger points. Trigger points are tight muscle fibers that can form from soft tissue trauma, muscle imbalances, and repetitive motions.

Some people may confuse dry needling with acupuncture treatments. While dry needling looks like acupuncture, Healthline points out some distinct differences.

For example, acupuncture is rooted in T.C.M and is meant to improve energy flow in the body; dry needling’s main focus is on correcting overly tight muscles with scar tissue. If your soft tissue injury has caused muscle spasms, then dry needling may be a good option. Some people’s soft tissue injuries may cause extreme sensitivity to touch, so dry needling may be a better option for these patients instead of A.R.T or Graston/Astym therapy. 

I’m glad to know this because I only have a Tissue Viability Nurse and none of these techniques were suggested to me. I intend on trying out these new techniques soon.

About Daniella-Jade Lowe

Hello, My name is Daniella Jade Lowe. I am a PURSUN researcher and I am working on marketing myself as an Accessibility Consultant. Journalism and Politics are my passion. I have a BA degree in History and Politics. What type of disability do you have? At birth, I was diagnosed with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus which are neurological conditions. As a result, I use a wheelchair for mobility. What is disability to you? The only disability is a bad attitude. I have a disability. It doesn’t completely define me; it just enhances me in a way which differentiates and strengthens me. My disability should be viewed as an ability: to see the world in a different way. I don’t really like the term because sometimes it indirectly implies someone is dysfunctional or helpless. The most important thing is to never make assumptions. Someone with a disability can be very, physically, fit and strong, highly intelligent and articulate. What has been your experience from the time you remember till now? - positive and negative experiences. My life as a wheelchair user has been generally okay. Wheelchair Accessibility is frustrating. I was teased a little in school. Other than that, life is great. How do you cope with: -daily activities - your disability, do you have times when you are down - people's reactions towards you. I have carers, a Social worker, District Nurses, a GP, and extended family in this country. I am also in contact with a local disability charity in Yorkshire. I also have a friendly landlord. How do you keep yourself motivated? I must stay organised and practice good time management. I also prioritise my plans. What is your word or advice - to those with disabilities? - to the society Don’t let people put you in a box. You have a voice, use it. 10. Tell us about your platforms if you have any- Blog: The View from Where I Sit Facebook: Daniella Jade Lowe Instagram: @daniellajadelowe/@theviewfromwheresitblog Thank you!