Active Release Techniques

What are Active Release Techniques?

Active Release Techniques (ART®) is a new approach in diagnosing and treating injuries to muscles, tendons, nerves and surrounding soft tissues. It is a soft tissue stretch-movement-based massage technique used to treat problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves.

ART is a highly successful treatment not only for athletes, but also for industrial workers or anyone who sits at a computer all day. Many daily activities cause repetitive stress and the formation of scar tissue; this creates symptoms of pain, stiffness, decreased range of motion, numbness and weakness.

Headaches, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, shin splints, shoulder pain, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, knee problems, and tennis elbow are just a few of the many conditions that can be resolved quickly and permanently with ART.

The goal of ART is to restore the smooth movement of muscles and ligaments or to release entrapments of myofascial, ligamentous and or neurological tissues.

Cumulative Trauma Disorders

Cumulative trauma disorders, also known as repetitive motion injuries or overuse syndromes, are major problems in the workforce and the general population. They are injuries to the muscles, tendons, bones, blood vessels, fascia and nerves.

Healthy tissues in the body normally glide over each other smoothly. When tissues are injured either by an acute trauma or repetitive microtrauma over time, the tissues experience tiny tears, and these tears fill in with scar tissue from inflammation. This scar tissue is the body's way to heal itself, but very often, the scar tissue does more harm than good.

Scar tissue build-up reduces the tissue movement and often leads to nerve entrapment and reduced blood flow to the muscles. This creates pain, swelling and decreased range of motion. ART works by breaking up the scar tissue that holds muscle fibres together.

Common conditions treated with ART:

  • Overuse injuries
  • Low back pain
  • Sciatica
  • Disc injuries
  • Whiplash
  • Neck Pain
  • Headaches
  • Rotator cuff/shoulder impingement
  • Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD)
  • Shin splints
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Sports injuries
  • Ligament sprains
  • Muscle strains
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Tennis/Golfer's elbow
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Iliotibial band syndrome
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Postural imbalances
  • Post-surgical and traumatic scars

What are the treatment outcomes from ART?

  • Removal of scar tissue
  • Decreased internal friction, pressure, and tension in the muscles
  • Increased blood flow which improves oxygen supply and reduces swelling
  • Increased range of motion

What to expect during the ART treatment?

ART is non-invasive, very safe and has minimal side effects. Abnormal tissues are treated by combining precisely directed tension with very specific patient movements. Treatments can feel uncomfortable as the scar tissue or adhesion breaks up. This discomfort is very common and is usually temporary.

Treatments take about 10-15 minutes per area treated and may require 6 to 8 visits. The average patient is treated two times per week, but more complex cases may require a longer course of action.