Posts Categorized: ART

July 2017
Hand Massage - Active Release Technique San Diego CA

Various conditions can result from repetitive use, muscle strain or acute trauma, ranging from shoulder pain to carpal tunnel syndrome. For instance, muscle overuse leads to the appearance of adhesions/fibrosis in the soft tissue, causing acute conditions such as pulls and tears, micro-trauma (the accumulation of small tears), or hypoxia (lack of oxygen). As a result, dense scar tissue is formed in the affected area, ‘’binding up’’ the tissues and causing muscles to shorten and become weaker, reducing the range of motion and causing pain.


Active Release Techniques (ART) is regarded as a gold standard for treating soft tissue injuries. This treatment focuses primarily on relieving the tension built-up in the soft tissue through the removal of adhesions/fibrosis. In essence, ART is a soft tissue movement-based technique. It is used both in diagnostics and treatment.


Active Release Technique is gaining ground in San Diego CA due to its proven efficiency and long-term benefits. Read on to find out more about this state-of-the-art treatment!

Read more »

April 2015
Active Release Technique (ART)


A lot of runners swear by this sometimes painful form of bodywork. What is it, and do you need it? Call FIX Body group today to set up a consultation with one of our ART practitioners and see if it can help you!


Think of Active Release Techniques (ART) as massage’s crazy cousin that works harder, faster, and more efficiently. It helps athletes ranging from runners and triathletes to NFL players and Olympic weightlifters.


ART began in the ’80s with Colorado’s Dr. Michael Leahy and is now a gold-standard treatment. “In the beginning, the idea was to train 10,000 medical professionals and therapists at a skill level that had never been done before,” said Leahy. “We wanted to cut soft-tissue treatment costs in half. We’ve done that.” The ART provider network now includes 14,000 certified providers, mostly based in North America, but it’s quickly growing on an international level.


ART involves intense active movement-based massage treatments, which sets it apart from passive massage techniques. Injured or not, Leahy said that athletes in training are a candidate for ART. There’s ample evidence to show that ART promotes faster recovery, restoration of normal tissue function and prevents injury. “We fix things before the athlete even knows there’s an issue. ART is how you keep yourself in the game,” said Leahy. “The most limiting factor to race-day performance is how well and consistently you train, but certain issues can hold you back. That’s where ART comes in—you can train better.”


There are more than 500 established treatment protocols for the entire body; however, ART is anything but standard. It’s an art. Instead of treating a general area, the provider uses his hands to feel for abnormal or damaged tissue in muscle, fascia, tendons, ligaments or nerves. Abnormalities include scar tissue, adhesions, and dense tissue. These aren’t always easy things to find


“It takes time to get the feel of what different tissues feel like and knowing what’s healthy versus abnormal tissue,” said Dr. Vince DiSaia, a certified ART provider and chiropractor located in Orange County, Calif. “But knowing the feel of tissue and correct muscle-movement patterns is what allows us to be very specific with diagnosis and treatment.”


Damaged tissue, namely scar tissue, has two causes: acute trauma, such as a tear or pull, and overuse or chronic injury, which is an accumulation of microtraumas, or small tears that occur repeatedly.


Abnormal tissue can go unnoticed by an athlete or it may manifest into injury. Symptoms of damaged tissue are tightening and shortening of the muscle. This impairs performance due to a loss of mobility, restricted range of motion and loss of strength. Other side effects include poor biomechanics, overcompensation in other body parts, nerve entrapment, tendonitis, and lack of oxygen supply to an affected muscle.


“Often a patient doesn’t know scar tissue is building up until it’s too late and the pain begins,” said DiSaia. “That’s where my job gets unique. I have to unravel the body and trace larger issues back to potentially smaller ‘insulting’ issues. For example, a patient comes in with IT Band Syndrome, but I find ITBS is caused by a dysfunctional hip. You can’t always just look at the part that hurts. I also check for proper functioning, strength deficiencies and what movements need improvement. This is where knowledge of biomechanics, anatomy, strength and sport all come into play.”


Added Leahy: “The most common issues I see in endurance athletes and runners occur between the knee and the hip. Every person we see at Ironman Hawaii, for example, has something going on in the hip.”


Once the problem areas are exposed, the pain— or is it fun?—begins. The ART provider applies intense and repetitive movement-based massage techniques to release buildup of dense scar tissue, restore normal function and decrease bad pain. Incorporating movement allows tissue to heal in the correct patterns.


“It’s aggressive, but each treatment is significant. In my experience, ART is the fastest road to recovery out there,” said DiSaia, who’s been practicing ART for nearly a decade.


Leahy agrees, saying it’s typical to have positive results after just one session. “ART is very direct. You have a better chance of getting over something fast or simply being able to feel better running, even if you didn’t think you had an issue,” he said.


Still, every patient responds differently to ART. Some heal faster, while some are more sore after treatments. Some can handle intense treatments on multiple body parts in one session, while some can only handle treatment on one issue at a time.


It’s the provider’s job to talk to his patients thoroughly at the beginning of every session—not just the initial consultation—to find out how they feel and how they’re responding. “Treatment is catered to patient tolerance,” said DiSaia. “I won’t go above someone’s pain threshold.”


For the active in-training athlete, it’s suggested to get at least one or two ART sessions a month, especially when it’s getting close to competition.


Injured athletes are a slightly different case. “I’ll see them throughout the healing process and advise them to slowly reintroduce the activity,” said DiSaia. “Often their body is now functioning differently than it was in the injured state or they have to change their biomechanics. Checkups are vital.”



March 2015

Having a workout buddy to cheer you on is a well-known prescription for success. Even better is if that buddy is your spouse or partner.

New research shows if you improve your workout regimen, your loved one may be more likely to do the same. “When it comes to physical fitness, the best peer pressure to get moving could be coming from the person who sits across from you at the breakfast table,” said Laura Cobb, a doctoral student and co-author of the research, in a statement.

Work out together!The study, by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, followed the physical activity of 15,792 middle-aged adults between two doctor’s visits. In the first visit, the couples were asked if they met the American Heart Association’s exercise recommendations: 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity exercise, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous intensity exercise. Forty-five percent of the husbands and 33% of the wives reported exercising at this level.

On the second visit, the question was repeated. Researchers discovered that when wives met exercise goals first, husbands were 70% more likely to step up their game. It worked the other way around too, but not as well: only 40% of wives were likely to meet exercise goals after their husbands did.

These results mirror those from a recent study that followed more than 3,700 couples who were married or living together over a 13 year span. All participants in that University College London study were over age 50. Researchers found almost 70% of couples who exercised together were still doing so two years later, while only a quarter of couples who exercised separately were still working out.

Cobb would like to see the Bloomberg School of Public Health research applied to exercise intervention programs by counseling married couples together, not separately.

“We all know how important exercise is to staying healthy,” Cobb says. “This study tells us that one spouse could have a really positive impact on the other when it comes to staying fit and healthy for the long haul.”

Sharing stimulating activities has also been shown to improve marital satisfaction and reduce boredom. Add to that the endorphins — or feelings of pleasure — that exercise creates in the brain, and you’ve got a recipe for a better love life.

The type of exercise is up to you but couples activities such as tennis, ballroom dancing, couples yoga, or running and biking might be good choices for extra bonding.


October 2013

At Fix Body Group we are bombarded weekly by injuries and trauma to the shoulder, especially the rotator cuff muscles. Most people have heard of injuries and tears to the rotator cuff. Whether you are a Crossfit athlete, baseball fan, desk jockey or weekend warrior in a local gym, everyone fears the rotator cuff and the pain and suffering an injury there is supposed to coincide with. However, as we will describe below, often these injuries are extremely treatable and have a very high success rate, if the proper approach is taken.

While by nature, especially compared to the hip or other joints, the shoulder in naturally less stable, these type of injuries are often very preventable and can also be healed very successfully with conservative physical and manual therapy methods. We employ a mix of sports therapies, A.R.T. , massage, and chiropractic work to help re-balance the shoulder by strengthening weak muscles and relieving tightness and scar tissue buildup in tight muscles, ligaments and tendons.

Lately, we’ve encountered a number of problems that have to do with one rotator cuff muscle in particular, the subscapularis. The subscapularis, or “subscap” as it’s often called in short, is extremely important for both normal function of the shoulder joint, and also the healing of an injured shoulder. Because it lies beneath the scapula (and thus derives it’s name), and posterior to the rib cage it is very hard to access and treat, except by the most skilled and knowledgeable of therapists. Many doctors, massage therapists and PT’s don’t really know how to access it for manual therapy, and there are few ways to really create a positive response in this muscle otherwise.

The subscapularis will become very tight in swimmers, ballplayers, surfers, boxers, Crossfit athletes, and anyone who uses a mouse, keyboard, or steering wheel for long duration. You might know this muscle is affected if you have trouble bringing your arm up overhead and rotating externally, as if winding up to throw a baseball. If you have trouble with these motions please consider getting an assessment to find out if this muscle, or another rotator are compromised. This muscle is not easily stretched or lengthened at home, and is best treated using an advanced manual therapy technique such as Active Release Technique as we do here at Fix Body Group. Many of our desk jockies, Crossfitters, and professional fighters can attest to the powerful change that can be made on this muscle, and ultimately the entire shoulder joint.

October 2013

A recent review on research of shin splints (or medial tibial stress syndrome) in the journal Sports Medicine has given many athletes suffering from the condition little hope. Dutch researchers concluded that, “no intervention has been proven to be effective for medial tibial stress syndrome.” In the study, groups of people received various common treatments for the injury in contrast with those who did not.

Examples of the treatments used were leg braces, ice massage, ultrasound, extracorporeal shockwave therapy, and iontophoresis. The study concluded by recommending short periods of rest from weight bearing activity to allow the bone to heal. This is standard advice in the medical community, and the treatments studied in the article are also typical, if conservative methods for sports medicine practitioners.

The problem with approaching this sort of injury with conservative, standard treatments and rest, is that it fails to decipher how the injury occurred, and if it will return once the activity is resumed. Most injuries don’t just come about in one location independent of everything else going on in the body. An injury like shin splints is the final product, which is the painful conclusion, but usually a progressive buildup of other developments in the body lead to it.

This project also neglected to study whether other treatments such as A.R.T., Myofascial release techniques, massage, and changing of running mechanics, and corrective exercise would help heal the injury quicker. In my experience, this sort of injury when treated holistically and by addressing biomechanics, can be resolved very quickly. Weekly, we see runners in our clinic with shin splints that are resolved in a few treatments, and often can continue to train through the injury and treatment process.

Here’s my standard approach to treating shin splints:
1. Look at the patient’s biomechanics: Often there is too much pronation, or external rotation of the legs. At what angle does their lower leg contact the ground? Often it will be an angle greater than 90 degrees. Often there is glute weakness and some tightness in the anterior hip.
2. Corrective exercises and strength training for the weak muscles done daily at home. Stretching and foam rolling for the tibialis anterior and posterior, soleus, and peroneals and quadriceps.
3. Myofascial release and A.R.T. for the lower leg and quadriceps, TFL, and psoas.
4. Running on soft surfaces only, depending on severity and treatment frequency
5. Address shoe choices and recommend changes depending on the type of runner, mileage, training surface, and biomechanics
6. Ice cup massage for the shin, compression socks if travelling or sitting a lot.

September 2013

A recent topic in the athletic world is the role of inflammation in healing and adaptation to training. This is particularly of note to our running, cycling, and triathlete patient base that train many hours per week and are constantly at war with inflammation, pain, soreness, and fatigue. This topic is fleshed out in greater detail in an excellent blog linked here:

If you don’t have time to read the article (which you really should take the time) I will outline some of the main points.

1. Inflammation is often a desired, and necessary response to injury or training. Without it, adaptation can be less effective.
2. NSAID’s (or Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs) inhibit training adaptations in muscle according to research.
3. Recent studies show that anti-inflammatory drugs don’t always reduce pain. This flies in the face of what is commonly believed and thus brings into questions of placebo with NSAID’s.
4. Use of NSAIDs sparingly and in the acute injury phase is recommended.

At Fix Body Group we often recommend the use of NSAID’s but the timing and types of issues always are brought into play in making these decisions. While this must always be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, we generally approve of the suggestions in this blog. Using NSAID’s (and let’s not forget ICE!) in the acute but not chronic phase of injury is recommended. Icing as done by many runners and endurance athletes such as ice baths, along with use of NSAID’s to treat general training soreness is not recommended.

This goes hand in hand with what the elite athletes I’ve worked with for years are doing. Elite athletes often take doses of NSAID’s and use ice baths during competitions, so that they can prepare for the next round or day without care for training response from the event. In training they typically limit or avoid these practices to allow their body maximum adaptation to the training stimulus.

Remember, soreness is a good thing in training, it means you have taxed the fibers and musculoskeletal system. Soreness can also be thought of as a governor, forcing your body to slow down for a few days until both the metabolic, nervous, and musculoskeletal systems are recovered and ready for more. If you acquire a simple ache, tendon injury or something that is more than general soreness consult with your health care professional and generally some advil for about three days would be a good idea. If you have questions about different kinds of soreness or what you should do in these scenarios please leave comments below or call to speak to one of our providers. Happy training!

August 2013

The Fix team will be out in force at the Pacific Beach Movin’ Shoes store to provide injury screening and diagnostics this Saturday 8/31, from 9-11:30am. Our team of chiropractors, therapists, and trainers will analyze your imbalances and deficiencies and suggest action steps for improvement.

Movin’ Shoes will also hold a labor day sale so if you need some shoes or would like to get recommendations for shoe choices make sure to come by also. Knowing your physical risks and limitations through our injury screen will be helpful when you go to purchase shoes.

Thanks to Movin’ Shoes and we’ll see you all out there!

Check out facebook here to get more information:

August 2013

We would like to thank San Diego’s Free to Breathe and race director Roger Drews of Challenger Productions for a great event this morning!!! This community race does great work to support Lung Cancer.  We were in Point Loma bright and early Saturday to donate a raffle prize and do some work on injured walkers and runners.  Special congrats to team member Jonathan Pierce for winning their 5K this morning! Proud of you Jon!


teamJ&S 2