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Active Release Techniques (A.R.T.)

Soft Tissue Therapy

Active Release is a highly effective and sought after soft-tissue therapy that is geared towards rehabilitating injured muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves. When these tissues are injured, your body will attempt to repair the damage by laying down myofascial adhesions and fibrosis in attempt to heal and prevent further damage.

However, these adhesive “scar” tissues can and will:

  • Inhibit proper range of motion by causing soft tissue and nerves to be get “stuck” and causing tissues to “catch”
  • Cause pain and limited function as well as repeated injury
  • Prevent proper blood flow which can create further damage and repeated inflammation
  • Create abnormal biomechanics which can lead to injury of other areas
  • Cause muscle weakness and instability

Active Release

Hands-on & Movement Based Approach

Active Release is designed to treat these adhesions directly with a hands-on and movement based approach. The goal of ART is to break apart the adhesions and in essence line up the tissue in a more organized and functional manner. First the practitioner has to find the adhesions by assessing the tissue through palpation (touch), muscle testing, and measuring movement and flexibility. Soft tissue structures in the body change or adapt with time; these changes are predictable and can be felt by the doctor. Chronic or “older” injuries actually feel and move differently from acute or recent ones.

How it Works

Once the adhesions are found, Active Release treatment is performed as the practitioner applies a specific contact tension by hand (for example, the trapezius muscle in the neck/shoulder region), and directs the tissue from a shortened to a lengthened position by having the patient perform a specific movement (such as reaching an outstretched arm across the body). Active Release works by applying friction, tension, and movement with precise contact points to break apart the adhesion and restore proper soft tissue health and mechanics.

Provides Relief from Repetitive Strain & Soft-tissue Injuries


ART is widely accepted as one of the most effective treatments for soft tissue and repetitive stress/motion injuries and often helps resolve chronic injuries that have not responded to other forms of treatment. Active Release has proven to be especially valuable for athletes, from the professional to the beginner. Ninety percent of the time athletes with acute or long-standing muscular strain/sprain injuries experience complete recovery — in a short period of time. However, ART isn’t just for athletes, it provides relief from many common repetitive strain and soft-tissue injuries, including carpal tunnel syndrome, TMJ, shoulder/rotator cuff injuries, tennis and golfers elbow, hip/IT band/knee pain, shin splints, plantar fasciatis, and automobile injuries.