What is Active Release Technique (ART)?

ART is a patented, state-of-the-art soft tissue system that treats problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves. The overuse of muscles often results in headaches, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, shin splints, shoulder pain, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, knee problems, and tennis elbow. These conditions can often be resolved permanently through Active Release Technique (ART).

What are adhesions?

An adhesion is scar tissue or unhealthy fascia. Fascia is the connective tissue, or protein structure, that connects parts of the body together essentially creating a flexible skeleton. When fascia is healthy (no adhesions) it allows the muscles, nerves, blood vessels and organs within the body to move freely and function properly. However, when adhesions attach to muscles, nerves and lymph, it decreases their ability to function properly. Some warning signs that you have an adhesion on a nerve may include abnormal sensations like numbness, tingling or pain.

Does stretching get rid of adhesions?

While stretching does play a pivotal role in treating and prevent injuries, it cannot break down adhesions. Adhesions are much stronger than normal healthy tissue and can often cause muscles to bind to one another limiting their ability to function normally. Stretching only lengthens the healthy tissue, not the adhered tissue, and unfortunately this can actually lead to additional adhesions. Stretching, when done properly, is still very important in order to prevent further injury but it will never release the adhesions that are already present.

How do overuse conditions occur?

Overused muscles typically change in three ways: acute conditions such as pulls and tears; accumulation of small tears, also known as micro-trauma; lack of oxygen or hypoxia. Any of these three factors can cause your body to produce scar tissue in the affected area. This scar tissue restricts tissues that need to move freely. As scar tissue builds up, muscles become shorter and weaker, tension on tendons cause tendonitis, and nerves can become trapped. These conditions can cause limited range of motion, loss of strength, and pain.

Will exercises that were ineffective before treatment work after ART treatment?

Stretching and exercising is only effective after the unhealthy tissue or adhesions have been corrected. Stretching and exercising dysfunctional tissue will lead to negative results and potentially further complications. The best solution is to determine the origin of the problem, treat with ART, then implement stretching and behavioral modifications that will lead to long term results.

How does Active Release Technique (ART) differ from massage?

There are many differences between ART and massage in respect to both technique and results. Although there are many different styles of massage, they all generally promote relaxation and increased circulation but they DO NOT fix the soft tissue or make it work properly. ART is specifically designed for the correction of adhesions and scar tissues.

What is an ART treatment like?

Every ART treatment session varies but uses a combination of examination and treatment. The ART provider will evaluate the texture, tightness and movement of muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and nerves. Any abnormalities are then treated by combining precisely directed tension with very specific patient movements.

ART uses over 500 different and specific treatment protocols, or special moves. Therefore ART treatment is very specific to each individual and injury.

How effective is ART?

Although each individual body and injury respond differently to treatment, most patients recover from their injuries in 4-12 treatments.

Why must the practitioner be certified in ART?

ART is a specific treatment that involves numerous and continual hours of study and experience to perform properly. As a certified ART provider, the practitioner must re-certify his knowledge and skill on a yearly basis.

What should I wear for treatments?

Patients bring or wear athletic shorts, comfortable and loose clothing, and that women also bring or wear a tank top or sports bra.

How was ART created?

ART has been developed, refined, and patented by P. Michael Leahy, DC, CCSP. Dr. Leahy noticed that his patients’ symptoms seemed to be related to changes in their soft tissue that could be felt by hand. By observing how muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and nerves responded to different types of work, Dr. Leahy was able to consistently resolve over 90% of his patients’ problems. He now teaches and certifies health care providers worldwide to use ART.