Today, I had a new client who was very, very sore from a weekend sporting event. Despite harsh conditions (most of it was uphill), terrible weather (it rained the whole time), and the nature of the event (100 miles on a bike), my client was thrilled that he finished. His body, however, was not. 

We discussed how he was feeling, and decided to work with a blend of Swedish and Deep Tissue techniques to reduce inflammation and soreness and speed up recovery time so he could get back on the bike as soon as possible. As I began the session, I realized that ordinary deep tissue techniques, stripping and cross-fiber friction with thumbs and elbows, were not going to get to the root of the problem quickly enough in the 60-minute session. I decided to employ various "pin and stretch," or Active Release Techniques, on the largest problem areas - the hamstrings, quadriceps and calves. And boy did it work! By the end of the session, I had significantly loosened the targeted muscles and the client felt much better. 

Sometimes, we massage therapists feel "guilty" for moving a client's limbs around, asking them to contract a muscle, or coaching them through a range of motion. We think that the client should sleep or drift away, and we shouldn't bother moving them from whatever position they feel most comfortable. Today's session proved that gentle movements and stretches are worth it - they can often accomplish more in less time than traditional deep tissue! 

Not sure what A.R.T is? Check out this sample video:

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