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What is ART® & how can it help me?

Active Release Techniques ® WebsiteActive Release Techniques ® Soft Tissue Treatment (ART®) is an advanced system of diagnosis and manual treatment for soft tissue disorders resulting from Cumulative Trauma Disorders (CTD), Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI), postural strain, sports injuries and general wear and tear. ART® is a patented, state-of-the-art soft tissue system that treats problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves. Headaches, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, shin splints, shoulder pain, rotator cuff syndrome, golfer's and tennis elbow, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, knee problems, tendonopathies, epicondylitis, mechanical low back pain, and most sports injuries are some of the many conditions that can be resolved quickly, and most often permanently, with ART®. These conditions all have one important thing in common: they often result from injury to over-used muscles.
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How do overuse injuries occur?

Over-used muscles (and other soft tissues) change in three important ways:
  1. acute injuries (pulls, tears, collisions, etc.)
  2. accumulation of small tears (micro-trauma)
  3. not getting enough oxygen (hypoxia)
Each of these factors can cause your body to produce tough, dense scar tissue in the affected area. This scar tissue binds up and ties down tissues that need to move freely. As scar tissue builds up, muscles become shorter and weaker, tension on tendons causes tendonitis and nerves can become trapped. This can cause reduced range of motion, loss of strength and pain. If a nerve is trapped you may also feel tingling, numbness and weakness.

What is an ART® treatment like?

Every ART® session is actually a combination of examination and treatment. The ART® provider uses his or her hands to evaluate the texture, tightness and movement of muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and nerves. Abnormal tissues are treated by combining precisely directed tension with very specific patient movements. ART® is unique in its systematic approach to within patient and tissue tolerance because the patient can control the active movement during treatment. These treatment protocols - over 500 specific moves - are unique to ART®. They allow providers to identify and correct the specific problems that are affecting each individual patient. ART® is not a cookie-cutter approach.

Why is ART® used?

ART® is used to allow for free and unimpeded movement of muscles, tendons, nerves and joints, to allow for a dramatic change in comfort, flexibility and strength. ART® is used to enhance and optimize your performance, improve your form and function.

art2How does ART® work?

ART® works by releasing the level of tightness or scar tissue formation that has formed as a result of injury overuse or even postural imbalances. The tissues are worked to fix injuries within muscles, tendons, ligaments, and between nerves to allow for improved tissue texture, tension, movement and function.

What is the history of Active Release Techniques®

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. Dr. Leahy oversees the teaching and certification of health-care providers all over the world in the use of ART®.


Compiled by Dr. Shawn Thistle B. Kin. (Hons.), D.C., D.Ac, ART®, C.S.C.S
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