Active Release Techniques® (ART) is a state-of-the-art soft tissue system that treats problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves. The soft-tissue factors of numerous injuries can often be resolved quickly and permanently with ART®. These conditions often have one important thing in common: they can be the result of overused muscles.

How do overuse conditions occur?

Over-used muscles (and other soft tissues) change in three important ways:

  • Acute conditions (pulls, tears, collisions, etc)
  • Accumulation of small tears (micro-trauma)
  • Not getting enough oxygen (hypoxia)

2 images - an X-ray illustration of a shoulder injury and a patient clutching their lower back in agony

Each of these factors can cause your body to produce tough, dense scar tissue in the affected area. This scar tissue binds up and hinders tissues that need to move freely. As scar tissue builds up, muscles become shorter and weaker and lead to increased tension on tendons which can lead to tendonitis issues as well as nerve entrapment. This can cause reduced range of motion, loss of strength, and pain. If a nerve is trapped you may also feel tingling, numbness, weakness and shooting pain.

What is an ART treatment like?

2 images - Heather treating a bodybuilder's neck and Heather treating a man's shoulder in a gym

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 a precisely direct tension with very specific patient movement.

ART® has over 500 treatment protocols. They allow providers to identify and correct the specific soft-tissue problems affecting each individual patient.

What is the history of Active Release Techniques?

ART® was developed nearly 30 years ago by P. Michael Leahy, DC. Dr. Leahy noticed that his patients’ symptoms often seemed to be related to changes in their soft tissue that could be felt by hand. Dr. Leahy discovered that these changes to muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and nerves responded well to a combination of both the practitioner applying a precisely directed tension to the affected tissue while the patient simultaneously lengthened the same tissue.

Heather Pearson with Dr. Michael Leahy

Heather Pearson Msc ST & Dr. Michael Leahy


As part of your treatment your practitioner may recommend rehabilitation exercises to compliment the ART® treatment. These may be daily or weekly exercises and should be adhered to in order to gain the most benefits.

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