What is Active Release Technique (ART)?

It’s a patented soft tissue management procedure for treating problems that relate to the following areas:

  • Muscles

  • Tendons

  • Ligaments

  • Fascia

  • Nerves


ART can permanently correct a number of conditions: neck pain, back pain, shoulder pain, shin splints, carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica, tennis elbow, knee problems, plantar fasciitis, and more. These conditions share one characteristic: They often result from injuries caused by overused muscles.

How do overuse injuries occur?

Soft tissues that have sustained trauma can cause various kinds of physical damage:

  • Small tears (micro-trauma)

  • Hypoxia (reduced oxygen flow to cells)

  • Acute injuries (e.g., tears, pulls, collisions, etc.)

Any of these events can lead to the development of tough, thick scar tissue in the afflicted area. This may restrict the movement of tissues that should move freely. It can also trigger several other problems:

  • Shorter, weaker muscles

  • Trapped nerves

  • Tendonitis due to tension on tendons

This can lead to pain, loss of muscle strength, and restricted range of motion. Trapped nerves may also cause numbness, tingling, shooting pains, muscle atrophy, weakness, burning sensation, and circulatory problems.

What happens during an ART treatment?
Every ART session combines physical examination with treatment procedures. The ART provider uses his or her own hands to assess the movement, tension, function, and texture of the patient’s muscles, tendons, fascia, nerves, and ligaments. The provider treats the abnormal tissues with a combination of specific movements and carefully directed tension.

Active Release therapy is not a cookie-cutter approach. There are 500 treatment protocols, all of them unique to ART. These allow ART providers to identify and treat the specific problems of each patient.

During the procedure, each afflicted area takes about 8 to 15 minutes to treat. In some cases, up to ten visits may be required before full functionality is restored to a particular area.

When possible, patients should perform active movements during the treatment. This helps to stimulate neurological pathways found in the spinal cord, which in turn helps lessen pain during the process. In addition, this motion helps reproduce the stresses of normal active motions.

Ensuring you get the right touch!
Within the first few visits, the patient can expect to see improvements in speed, strength, and endurance. Often, we ask patients to test themselves to see if these improvements are noticeable. If there is no such improvement, then we will conclude that we have not yet found the source of the patient’s problem, or that more work must be done on the afflicted area.

After the patient’s soft tissue problem has been successfully resolved, the symptoms should not return, barring another injury. To avoid a future injury, we teach our patients about specific exercises and correct posture. We also inform them about the mechanisms of injury, which helps them avoid future problems.

Active Release Technique is a very safe, non-invasive procedure that comes with almost no side effects.

How does an ART treatment feel?
Patients sometimes report discomfort during the movement phases of the procedure as the scar tissue “breaks up.” However, this is only temporary and can be expected to subside right after the treatment. In many cases, the treatment causes the same kind of pain symptoms that led the patient to seek help. This is actually a reliable indication that we have located the source of the problem. Patients often report that “it hurts good.”

Active Release Technique