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Active Release Techniques London | FAQs

Active Release London

Q. Who Provides ART Services?

A: Like its founder, most ART practitioners are fully trained doctors of chiropractic, who after their five year undergraduate degree, have undertaken further specialist training in ART.

This means that underpinning this advanced soft tissue technique is the ability to assess and diagnose patients, order further imaging or investigations and refer to other specialists if necessary.

Q. Does it matter who treats me? Why?

A: As a testament to the safety of ART, personal trainers and massage therapists can become certified in the technique.

It is however important to note that only primary healthcare practitioners who are regulated by their respective professional councils, such as chiropractors, osteopaths, physiotherapists, GPs or other GMC registered consultants, have the appropriate training to diagnose pathology and related conditions.

Q. Do I need a referral?

A: As primary healthcare practitioners, at ActiveBacks you can see us without the need for a referral from your GP.

If you have healthcare insurance and would like to claim some of your treatment costs back, some health insurance companies require that you get a referral from your GP before starting treatment, however, it’s best to check your individual policy as it relates to you.

Q. Who refers patients to us for ART?

A. At ActiveBacks we receive over 80% of our new patients from word of mouth referral from existing patients.

Happy patients make for happy practitioners and reception staff, so we are always very grateful and appreciative to our patients and practice members that give us the opportunity to share the benefits of ActiveBacks and ART with their friends, family and throughout all of the communities they are involved in.

We also enjoy working with interested GPs and consultants who will often refer their family and friends to us as well as their patients.

To help develop ART within the UK we encourage GPs and consultants to find out more about what we do and are happy to arrange a time to introduce them to the practice so please spread the word.

Q. Will it hurt?

A. Many people believe that because ART releases the collagen fibres that causes scar tissue, which tend to be quite tough, that the treatment has to hurt, this isn’t true. Often times an Active Release treatment can be sore or uncomfortable, but it is often described as a ‘good hurt’, like releasing an area you’ve always wanted to get to but have never quite managed to.

Other times you may not feel any discomfort at all, which is also normal. Some types of tissue changes have been so ingrained that the level of scar tissue change has even made the area almost numb or insensitive to touch or pressure, then once the tissues begin to regain a normal texture the tissue also regains its sensitivity.

Either way, because many of the ART protocols are ‘active’ in action it means that you as the patient are in control and can slow down or stop the movement whenever you want and we always recommended that you give constant feedback to your practitioner if the release becomes more uncomfortable than you would like.

If you do have any post treatment soreness your ActiveBacks practitioner will be able to advise you on things you can do to help relieve it, and it may be a lot like the soreness you can get after the first game of the season or first visit back to the gym.

Q. How long will it take?

A. Because the nature of ART is one of being very specific and accurate regarding the tissues being treated, one of the benefits is that your treatments will be based specifically on what you need. Our appointment lengths can typically vary from 15 minutes to 30 minutes and anything in between and is based on what needs to be done for treatment as opposed to a set time period.

Also, because each case is different and has it’s own set of variables and contributing factors we will need to assess your situation in detail during our longer initial consultation and from there we will be able to collate all of your information with our examination findings and give you clear guidance as to an expected time frame related to your condition and recovery time during your second visit at your report of findings appointment.

The variety of cases that we see is such that some conditions can be resolved in one or two treatments, whilst others may require various stages of care taking three months or longer with a view to getting you back to a state that you may have previously believed was impossible.

Because each individual is an individual and neither they or us have a crystal ball to predict how they in particular will respond to treatment, we make sure we do regular re-exams to measure your progress to ensure our type of treatment is right for you and if it isn’t we will happily refer you on or make other recommendations that may be more appropriate given the conditions of your case.

Q. Will I be treated on my first visit?

A. If we can treat you on your first visit we may do, but often times we may need to collate your information first, which may include MRI, x-ray or physical exam results to formulate a clear diagnosis so that we can commence treatment on your second visit to the practice.

That way both you and your practitioner can have the right information to help you best.

Q. What are the costs?

A. Our initial consultation costs is £75, and treatment is £70.

We will let you know what you will need once we have assessed your case. This will usually be at your second visit to the practice during your report of findings appointment at which time you will usually get treated as well if you are happy to get started.

Q. Can I be seen outside of your normal clinic hours?

A. If you would like an out of hours appointment to better fit with your schedule simply check with our clinic assistant when you call. An additional surcharge applies and is subject to the Practitioner’s availability.

Q. Are you covered by my insurance?

A. Great news! We are covered by most of the major health insurance companies. The amount of the treatment fee or total amount you will be able to claim will vary from policy to policy. Because insurance policy coverage varies so much, if you are claiming from an insurance policy it is your responsibility to know what you are covered for and to claim this back from your insurance provider.

We recommend that you check with your Insurance provider regarding your individual policy to ensure your particular practitioner is covered within your policy. If you have any other questions our support staff can also help you, so call today to find out!

Q. What is scar tissue?

A. Scar tissue is the tougher type of collagen that the body lays down in response to injury. It is a normal part of the healing process, but sometimes the body is unable to remove it by itself and it starts to cause problems such as pain or dysfunction.

This can persist for years or until the dysfunction in the tissue is dealt with. ART is specifically designed to remove scar tissue from unresolved injuries enabling the tissue to get back to it’s healthier state and to help you, get your active back.

Q. Do you teach courses?

A. Being the home of the first Active Release Techniques instructor from Europe, ActiveBacks gets a lot of enquiries from practitioners looking to learn the technique without wanting the hassle of traveling to the States to do so.

Please fill out our Professional Development form and once submitted we can know your interests and keep you informed of any up and coming courses where you can learn the technique. Dr Andrew Martin D.C. teaches in both America and Europe and is proud to be part of a small team here in Europe that works together to make it easier for European practitioners to learn the technique.

Please get in touch and Andrew will hopefully see you at a course soon.

Q. How long does ART take to learn?

A. ART is a skill as opposed to just a series of protocols that you learn. For this reason it is a skill that as a practitioner you are always working to develop and to get better at. There are 3 primary courses called Spine, Upper Extremity and Lower Extremity, which once you have studied the course material you can do as quickly or as slowly as you like, for most practitioners this will be between two to three years.

Then there are 5 other advanced courses called Nerve Entrapment, Active Palpation, Complex Protocols, Biomechanics and Masters. These again can be completed at your own pace and will usually take between 3 to 5 years to complete.

Once you become ART certified it is then compulsory for you to maintain your certification by rectifying each year so you are able to keep up with developments within the field and to ensure you are able to continuously work on developing the skill of ART and continuously improve your treatment success rate.

Q. What make ART so different from other techniques?

A. One of the main differences of active release techniques to other techniques is that it is based on the simple principles of how soft tissue injuries occur in a way that can be applied to any patient with any type of problem that involves tissue that has unsuccessfully healed or is still in the healing phase of repair.

In large part this is because Dr Leahy, its founder, has used his combined aeronautical engineering and chiropractic background to formulate specific protocols for each muscle and potential nerve entrapment site around the body.

Dr Leahy is then very particular about how the practitioner should develop the right touch in order to successfully remove this scar tissue from the right place at the right depth and with the right tension. In this way ART has developed a standard of care the like very few techniques have ever achieved.


Call today to get your queries answered about leading a healthy life, free from stress and pain the ActiveBacks way.

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