Does It Work: ART

>> Wednesday, February 03, 2010

June 5th, 2008.

That was the day I first went to Dr. Folske for ART.

Here’s an excerpt from a post of mine on Friday, June 6th, 2008 as I described that first appointment:

...And then he dug into my hammy and heel. He would bend part of my body in one direction (let’s say my foot), then press his fingers along that muscle or tendon, and then force that body part in the other direction so the muscle moves across his dug-in fingers. Yummers.

It wasn’t too painful, except for a few moments. Those moments snuck up on me during our conversation: “ when I was on the 17.5 mile RUN, MY HEEL STARTED flaring up around mile 10...” Yes, the loud talking indicates a sudden and unexpected jump in pain while the doc was doing his thang. But that really only happened twice.

I went on to write that he told me to go on a 4 miler just a day after working on me. Two days before, I was in pain 1 mile into my run. But my heel held up for the first 3.5 miles of that post-ART run, only to start to hurt a little as I was climbing the final hill towards home. Later, in that same post quoted above, I said this:

I’m pretty sure Dr. Folske is the second coming of Jesus Christ (in a completely non-blasphemous way)! He’s gotta be related to Jesus at least. Maybe he’s the second coming of Jesus’s long-lost chiropractor cousin.

Ha! I’d forgotten that I’d said that!

So what’s ART? Here’s what Dr. Folske’s website says about it:

Active Release Techniques (ART) is a patented soft tissue treatment that requires intensive training and dedication by the health care professional providing the treatment. Only a handful of practitioners in the world are certified in this procedure. For a list of providers trained in ART visit ART is designed to locate and break down scar tissue and adhesions which cause pain, numbness, weakness, stiffness and biomechanical dysfunction associated with repetitive strain injuries (RSI).

Since June 2008, I’ve been to Dr. Folske probably about a dozen times. I saw him a lot in 2008 when I was really working through some heel issues. I only saw him a few times last year, and it’s probably been nearly 6 months since I’ve had to go in.

The thing that struck me when I first met with Dr. Folske was how fast he told me to get back out there. If you make an appointment with a “regular” medical doctor (or maybe even a PT), the first recommendation might be to take 2-4 weeks off. Dr. Folske told me to run the next day. That was surprising. He also DIDN’T say “You should make 2 appointments a week with me for the next 14 years.” Sometimes when I have an appointment, he’ll say “Go on your long run tomorrow. Let’s make an appointment for you for 3 days from now IN CASE you need it, but you can call and cancel - only come back if you think you need to.” And he also gave me special stretches and a few exercises to strengthen the weak areas that cause my problems.

ART: Grade of A. It really helps me, but I’m too cheap to always want to pay that co-pay. So the only thing keeping from being an "A+" is the price. (It’s still only $25 on our insurance, but that adds up.)

If you’re in the Twin Cities somewhere, check out Dr. Folske for all your ART needs. (I should mention that Dr. Folske is a triathlete and an Ironman himself, so he “gets it.” He knows you want to get back out there for a swim / bike / run.)

Have you had ART done to you? Was your experience as “raving” as mine? And don't forget to check back at 2 am and 2 pm every day this week for more “Does It Work” posts. Click on the “Does It Work” tag to see all posts in this mini-series.

(BTW, the next post at 2 am is going to be a very extensive review of a few different free websites where you can track your mileage, workouts, and races. Check back tomorrow morning for that!)


Anonymous,  2:39 PM, February 03, 2010  

ART absolutely works. I've gone on and off over the last 2 years and never had a bad experience. It hurts, but it's worth it.

Molly 3:37 PM, February 03, 2010  

ART saved my Ironman last year. Something about the high bike and running mileage led to tight calves which led to knots in my shins akin to shin splints. A few weeks of ART - while still training and running distance - and I was all better for the peak weeks of my training and feeling fabulous on race day. For me, it was really a lifesaver to prevent a serious ache from turning into a real injury. And my doc was like yours, not overly aggressive on multiple appointments but eager to get me healed and on my way.

Maggs 3:37 PM, February 03, 2010  

Yes. Yes. Yes. I live by it. At the first little annoyance I call up my therapist. It hurts when she digs in there, but usually I'm good to go with just 1-2 sessions.

teacherwoman 4:12 PM, February 03, 2010  

I sometimes wonder if I would benefit from ART. I don't know of any ART specialists in the area, though.

carrieacampbell 5:09 PM, February 03, 2010  

ART is awesome! Since I discovered it at a finish festival last May, I've been going to an ART practitioner about twice per month. So helpful - I haven't seen a PT since.

John Yopp 5:13 PM, February 03, 2010  

ART absolutely works wonders for me. I've saved a marathon and an Ironman while still continuing to train. I also use Folske, and am amazed at what he can accomplish in so short a time.

D 6:39 PM, February 03, 2010  

ART is the key to my lower leg health. Too bad I can't afford it. Explains a lot about my training lately...

Anonymous,  6:45 PM, February 03, 2010  

I heart ART; he never tells me to take time off; plus he talks about porn and penises when im in compromising positions and he's "getting comfortable" in my piriformis region.

oh yeah; it keeps me running too!

nwgdc 9:48 PM, February 03, 2010  

I'm an ART Chiropractor, and the possibilities that technique has provided for me and the people I've treated with it is endless. I recently ran 10 "success stories" in our local paper, all on ART-related treatments.
It's the real deal.

drdaven 7:27 AM, February 04, 2010  

ART is a terrific technique. Dr. Leahy instructs his students that if you have to 'do it' more than three times, then you must be doing something wrong.
I am not a certified ART Chiro, but I use a bastardized version on my patients (with Dr. Leahy's personal permission) Just never made my way out to CO to take his classes.

Kim 7:43 AM, February 04, 2010  

A+ for ART - i think Grace is my "saving Grace" for helping me work out my issues with my IT band over the past 1.5 years.

Kim 7:44 AM, February 04, 2010  

(i must say though it's a bummer that it costs so much - and only covered minimally by insurance)

KayVee 7:58 AM, February 04, 2010  

ART is magic. I fussed with plantar fasciitis for a while...never getting worse, but never getting better. 4 treatments later, I ran a marathon pain free. We're done with that now and working on my adductor, which seems to be well on the way to being "fixed" too. Amazing. For me, worth the co-pay!

Lady Em 8:19 AM, February 04, 2010  

I have used Rob Green in Richmond, VA for ART. It has saved me many times. But the Co-pay's do add up! As long as you listen and do your exercises it works wonders!

Emily W 8:54 AM, February 04, 2010  

Dr. Folske is great! I went to him after reading your blog, actually. He helped me with a non-ART issue and also my PF. I still use the stretches he gave me. He did prescribe a short break from running for me, but it was necessary. I liked him so much that I was rather bummed when he sent me on my way the last time :)But, of course, this is a good thing and I was grateful that I wasn't stuck going there forever. I definitely credit the ART in addition to his advice for keeping my PF under control.

I know your blog is about ART, but I also wanted to add that visiting Dr. Folske was a much better chiropractor experience as well. I had first tried an office near my work and it was creepy and New Age-y. Dr. Folske provided a much more sane and professional experience.

Steve Stenzel 8:59 AM, February 04, 2010  

Emily, I forgot to mention that Dr. Folske is one of the "good" chiropractors out there. Many people have been burned by a bad one. So thanks for pointing that out!

Oh, and I know that feeling of saying good-bye: it's always like "nice talking with you, but I hope I don't have to see you for a while!" Bittersweet! ;)

Unknown 4:09 PM, June 08, 2010  

I saw Dr. Folske in 2008 for a painful SI joint. In just one session, he completely "fixed" my problem, and he didn't ask me to come back - ever! I was so happy with his work that I vowed I'd go back to him again if I ever needed to. Now I'm seeing him again for a lower back issue, but that sense of trust is irreplaceable.

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