As growing numbers of professional athletes use ARPwave (Accelerated Recovery Performance) to recover from injury, the system is becoming more and more popular. Still, there is some hesitation among the medical community at large to accept the benefits that ARPwave can offer. To help people understand how ARPwave can help them overcome injury and reverse chronic pain, I would like to simply offer a description of the system and how it works.
The first phase in the three-step progression is called In-Balance. Developed by Dr. John Pietila (Dr. J), this technique combines Applied Kinesiology with advanced Neurology to lay the foundation for the healing that will take place in the next two phases. This foundation comes in the form of restoring the body's ability to absorb force.
During every activity that we do, whether it is playing sports, carrying our kids, or just sitting and standing, force enters the body. When the nervous system is activating the muscles properly, the muscles absorb the force that enters the body and everything works as it should. We can then do our activities over and over again without pain. When the nervous system does not turn the muscles on properly, then force gets diverted into other areas like tendons, ligaments, cartilage, vertebral discs, etc. that cannot handle it. Force entering these other areas is the cause of pain and injury.
Application of In-Balance allows us to find where in the nervous system that signal to the muscles is being obstructed and get rid of that block. The process is similar to opening a highway with lanes blocked off for construction -- the In-Balance therapies open up those additional lanes of traffic, so that more information can be sent to the muscles. With the appropriate neurological signal reaching the muscles, they can turn on and keep force away from the injured area. At this point we have laid the foundation for healing, and are ready to move on to step two: eliminating the charge of injury.
For this step, we use a unique electric modality called the ARP. The ARP is an amazing machine, but the machine alone will not achieve results. To maximize the benefit of the machine, we must use it with the ARPwave protocols. These protocols involve movements and exercises designed to rid the body of compensation patterns and restore proper function.
First, we begin by using the ARP to pinpoint the origin of the injury. We'll start by placing a pad on the area where the patient feels the most pain, and move the ARP around to find the "hot spot," which is the spot that causes the most intense sensation and is the real source of the problem. More often than not, we find the real problem to actually be in a different area than the pain. The symptom that one feels is where the problem ended up, not where it began.
Next, we begin treatment with the ARP on the hot spots. Remember that the reason the injury happened in the first place was the inability of muscles to absorb force. We have now found those muscles that could not absorb the force that entered our client's body, and will have our injured client move while the ARP is properly activating those muscles. Most importantly, this combination rapidly reprograms compensation patterns. During this phase the ARP is also helping us achieve joint mobility and build strength, which allows us to compress into one phase what traditional physical therapy will break into several, much longer steps.
As we continue through the ARP treatments, the muscles that could not absorb force rapidly learn to do so. They are able to keep more and more force out of the injured area, sparing it from the further aggravation that can slow the healing process. At the same time our treatments are drawing massive amounts of blood to the area and flushing inflammation out, which allows the body's innate healing mechanisms to work at their highest potential. The end result is that the true origin of the problem is repaired, and we are ready to progress to step three: strength rehabilitation.
Now that our patient has gotten over the injury, we want to prevent the injury from coming back. Think of the injury this way: the problem resulted from a long period of time spent building up improper ways of using the muscles. The ARP treatments laid a new foundation by teaching the muscles to work correctly. From that foundation, you can move forward in two possible directions. One is to go back and start using the muscles improperly again until they once more forget how to absorb force and cause another injury. The second is to continually reinforce the proper ways of using the muscles so that they can support a healthy and active life.
Surprisingly, one of the most effective ways to teach the muscles to move properly involves no movement at all, a variation on isometrics. When holding an isometric position, one is not moving and can train without risk of re-injury. Our isometrics are performed in a very unique way to accomplish several major objectives.
First, by actively pulling into position we are causing the muscles to contract eccentrically. Eccentric contraction is the key to injury prevention, because a longer muscle can absorb more force.
Second, the active pulling induces contractions at very high velocity. So even though we aren't moving, the muscles are turning on in the same manner they would be during a max effort sprint. This allows us to improve strength and performance dramatically and in a shorter period of time than traditional training.
One final benefit is that holding these positions trains the body's energy systems. During the hold, the body has to cycle through its anaerobic energy stores and then progress to the aerobic system, which it uses to recharge the exhausted anaerobic stores. Such a stimulus improves the efficiency of the body's energy delivery and is just one more way in which this type of training can benefit everyone who uses his or her body for any activity.
It is my belief in writing this article that the description of the system will resonate with people. It is so simple, so fundamental, that it is on the verge of triggering a paradigm shift among therapists. The more people become involved and interested in their care, and the more they demand the best results-producing therapies, the closer ARPwave can move to the mainstream.
Garrett Salpeter has been involved with the ARPwave system since he used it to heal from an injury suffered while playing hockey at Middlebury College in Vermont, and became a licensed ARP Trainer in 2006. After receiving his Bachelor’s degree in Physics, he moved to Austin to pursue his Doctorate at the University of Texas. In 2009 he opened ARPwave Austin, and is grateful for the opportunity to heal and train others at this flourishing clinic.