Active Release Technique, also known by the acronym ART, consists of over 500 movements. This soft tissue technique focuses on nerves, fascia, ligaments, tendons, and muscles. It helps relieve pain and inflammation by targeting these areas and helping to release tension. Active Release Technique has the ability to increase a person’s range of motion. This technique is particularly effective against overused muscles.


ART works by breaking up adhesions, which are dense collections of scar tissue that form when muscles and connective tissues are injured. When the scar tissue binds between your muscles, it limits flexibility, causing pain and stiffness in muscles and joints.

Sometimes adhesions can also entrap nerves. The manipulation of the soft tissues through ART breaks up the adhesions so your muscles, joints, and nerves can move freely again.

During an ART session, your healthcare provider will feel the area and identify the location of the scar tissue. They’ll use the technique to isolate and target the area, manipulating it to break up the scar tissue and restore proper blood flow so the area can heal.


The following are signs that you may have an accumulation of scar tissue that may benefit from ART:

• Stiffness in your neck, elbow, hands, knees, or back

• Increased pain when exercising

• Sharp pain in the bottom of your foot near the heel

• Pain, numbness, and tingling in your fingers

• Reduced flexibility and limited range of motion

• Decreased strength

• Inflamed joints

• Tingling, numbness, or weakness

ART® is utilized to evaluate and treat many types of soft tissue injuries. Most soft tissue injury and damage is caused by trauma and chronic injury. Injured soft tissue is predisposed to scar formation, inflammation, and abnormal fusion of diseased muscle. These factors combined can lead to decreased range-of-motion, pain (acute or chronic), and decreased strength in both joints and muscles.

Active Release Techniques® may be utilized to evaluate and treat many types of soft tissue injuries including the following:

• Knee pain
• Shoulder pain
• Carpal tunnel syndrome
• Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)
• Achilles Tendonitis
• Shin splints
• Ankle pain
• Hip pain
• Plantar fasciitis
• Sciatica
• Back pain
• Neck pain
• Golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis)
• Headaches

The list above is a sampling of conditions that are amenable to treatment with ART®. The majority of the ailments needing intervention with Active Release Techniques® can be attributed to constant tension and overuse of muscles.

These two factors combine and may lead to symptoms such as pain, immobility and nerve compression in the soft tissues.


ART offers many benefits for anyone who has pain and other symptoms caused by soft tissue injuries either from sports, overuse, or trauma.

Benefits include:

• Increased flexibility
• Increased range of motion
• Decreased lower back pain
• Improved chronic neck pain
• Relief of tension headaches
• Management of carpal tunnel
• Management of shin splints
• Management of plantar fasciitis
• Management of tennis elbow
• Improvement of sciatic symptoms

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