At Zemper Restorative Therapy, experience has shown us that we all accumulate traumatic and⁄or repetitive injuries as we age…especially those of us who are more active. As our bodies heal from these injuries, there is inflammation and restricted blood flow in our muscles, which causes the formation of scar tissue. This scar tissue has a strong tendency to continue growing even after the initial healing process is complete. This tissue can act like a ”spot weld“ between the fascial tissues of neighboring muscles, causing stiffness, pain and reduced function. This is where myofascial release can be very effective.
Also, at Zemper Restorative Therapy, we define myofascial release as the activity of breaking up excess scar tissue adhesions found within the fascial tissues, which surround the muscle (myo) tissues. Once “released”, the muscle is able to be “retrained” for improved flexibility, range of motion and full function. This applies to the often-related nerve entrapments and problems as well. Once pain is alleviated and motion and function are restored, you can get back to enjoying the activities you love…faster than you may have thought possible!
Active Release Technique (ART) is a particular method of myofascial release developed by P. Michael Leahy DC; a renowned chiropractor and chiropractic sports physician. Dr. Leahy worked with elite athletes and developed ART as a way to treat soft tissue disorders so they could get back to peak performance as quickly as possible. ART uniquely incorporates elements of engineering (which Dr. Leahy studied in the Air Force), anatomy and biomechanics.
Today, we combine elements of several proven methods to deliver customized treatment based on each individual’s need and issue.
To learn more about ART, visit www.activerelease.com.
When an injury occurs, inflammation happens as part of the healing process. The problem is that inflammation; along with triggering the healing responses of the body, restricts blood flow to the affected area. With that, the muscle is not supplied with enough oxygen and nutrients. It also restricts the ability of the muscle to clear waste products. This creates what is called “hypoxia”, basically meaning that the muscle is polluted and dysfunctional. This injury state has stages varying from a fresh injury with fluid surrounded “lumpy” tissues, to the advanced stages of a muscle being leathery, tight and dysfunctional. The latter stages perpetuate the hypoxia in large part due to the muscular tension and dysfunction. The muscles become unable to contract and relax, therefore losing the “pumping action”. It's this pumping that drives the blood flow most effectively in the first place.
Scar tissue may form within the muscle itself. Very often it forms within the fascia surrounding the muscles that have been injured. Some is fine, too much is the problem. Once there is too much scar tissue, it tends to bond more and more tissues together. This leads to less movement and more problems. The hypoxia actually perpetuates the growth of scar tissue, so that over time a minor issue gradually becomes worse. Because of all of this, breaking up this excess scar tissue is the primary focus of what we do at Zemper Restorative Therapy.
The basic idea is to use particular methods of tensioning the muscle as it is moved through its range of motion. As the muscle is tensioned, it is also lengthened. This releases much of the “pollution”, or hypoxia, in the tissues, immediately allowing for better function. Scar tissue is not as flexible as muscle tissue, and whether it happens immediately, or after several sessions, the excess scar tissue adhesions are broken apart. Once the muscles are “released”, following the prescribed stretching program will keep the muscles moving freely past each other. The body then recognizes the damaged scar tissue as waste material, and clears it from the body. This then leaves only the amount necessary to take care of the original injury.