Why I stopped doing A.R.T. (Active Release Technique)- Part 1

This was originally going to be a one-part post, but I had way too much to write and we all know that most of us have a 3-minute attention span. So this first part will focus on my journey with getting into ART and the pitfalls I had with it.  For the rest of the post I am just going to refer to Active Release Technique as ART to help save my fingers from having to type it all out.

ART is the self-proclaimed “gold standard in soft tissue treatment.”  In all honesty, I used to believe that as well.  But as I have evolved in my understanding of the musculoskeletal system and treating patients, I believe that statement to be completely false.

I haven’t done a blog in a while where I went into full bashing mode, so I will try my best to keep this one strictly fact based and not come across as being an asshole (as I can do from time to time.)  Let’s begin with my journey into ART.

It all started back when I was still in school  trying to keep my head above water and slowly beginning to realize that there had to be more to “fixing” people that were hurt than simply “correcting” their subluxations.

Luckily, I stumbled upon the book, “The 4 hour body” by Tim Ferris, where he dedicated 5 pages to the “awesomeness” that was ART.  Finally, I had some hope for my education and really thought this could be a good way to separate me from the drones of chiropractors that were just focusing on adjustments.

Now I had my niche!

I signed up for the lower extremity seminar in Orlando, Florida and flew down with a few other classmates. We stayed in the worst hotel you could ever imagine, as we had little money left over after paying tuition for the class of 1500 bucks.

Needless to say I was eager, excited, and downright petrified before my first seminar. I got in the packed room, and suddenly felt I was in the right place, among other people who flat out “get it.”  I was in awe of people in the room that were team doctors for professional teams and had gotten to work directly with the best in the world!

My faith had been restored and I was rejuvenated getting back to school. I was going to be the go-to guy for ART in clinic and would bust my ass to master all 300 plus protocols.  I began seeing results with my ART and, before I knew it, I was getting faculty members who wanted to get treated by me in clinic.

Before I finished school, I was full body certified and really felt like I was quite the badass!  All in all, I ended up shelling out about 10k to get fully certified, including travel costs.  In my mind, this was an amazing investment and I was going to “crush” it when I got out of school.

Then the real world got real.

I had a diploma, a ton of student loan debt and no money.  But I did have one tool in my pocket: the gold standard in soft tissue treatment!

Unfortunately the real world has a way of kicking you in the nuts — several times.

I found myself becoming extremely frustrated with my results for treating patients.  I would get them a lot better, but the results never lasted.  I was busting my ass and doing all the protocols that were “needed” and found myself exhausted after a 20 minute session.  Needless to say, I was pretty frustrated and found myself questioning what to do.

I decided that I just need to do more training, so I borrowed some money from my mom and signed up for the masters course in ART – this was the cream of the crop in the ART world.

During the course, I was among people who had been doing ART for years and who really had no clue as to what they were doing. The simple diagnosis of adhesion was completely lacking and we were just there to get a taste of how much more the system could give us.

The founder of the system led the class and was there to get you to take some more of their “complex” courses to better improve your skill-set.  He made us want to be better and to always search for that “elusive” pea-sized adhesion that we were missing in our own clinics.  Unfortunately, the course did not live up to the hype and left me feeling like 1000 bucks was just “stolen” from me.

So on that day I decided that I was done with ART for good.  I removed everything from my website, took down my certificates and removed it from all advertising.  This “process” of ART is what ended up being the breaking point for me in my ART journey. Notice that nowhere in there is the word “diagnosis” present.

Part 2 of this blog is going to focus solely on what is fundamentally wrong with ART and how finding integrative diagnosis literally saved my career.