Soft Tissue Solutions


Active Release Techniques (ART)

Active Release Techniques (ART) is a proven approach to resolving injuries to muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and other soft tissues.

During treatment, precise applications of pressure and tension are combined with specific patient movements. Each of these unique protocols – more than 500 in all – is designed to identify and treat the effects of cumulative trauma.

  • What is cumulative trauma?

    When a muscle, tendon, ligament, or nerve is damaged from trauma or overuse, the body attempts to repair the damage with scar tissue. This scar tissue then binds tissues that once moved freely.

    Scar tissue adhesions – left untreated – perpetuate the cumulative injury cycle: muscles become shorter and weaker; additional tension and friction develop; more scar tissue forms; and nerves can become entrapped. The result – progressive loss of function and increasing pain. Additionally, the body compensates for dysfunction in one area by shifting the burden to other areas not designed to handle the increased load – this, in turn, can cause further injury to develop.

    Over time, soft tissue dysfunction leads to pain and loss of flexibility, strength, and range of motion. People often attribute these losses to "just getting old" or "the cost of being an athlete," but this is seldom the case. The effects of cumulative trauma can be treated through ART and normal function restored.

  • How is ART different from other forms of hands-on treatment?

    Traditional forms of hands-on treatment – massage, chiropractic, physiotherapy – can all help alleviate the pain and dysfunction of cumulative soft tissue trauma. However, they do not necessarily address the underlying cause – scar tissue adhesions.

    ART separates, releases, and stretches the scar tissue adhesions that result from cumulative soft tissue trauma. This, in turn, helps to eliminate pain, restore vascular and lymph circulation, and increase range of motion, flexibility, and strength.

  • What is a typical course of treatment?

    ART treatment at Soft Tissue Solutions starts with an initial examination. Throughout this exam, the focus is on the patient's specific problem areas – using Active Release to diagnose the presence of abnormal inflammation and scar tissue adhesions. This is followed by a discussion of findings and recommendations – the type and number of treatments required and the prognosis for a complete recovery.

    Many patients experience complete recovery after only 5–10 visits, although this depends on the severity of their injuries. Because of the soft tissue component, where other treatments fail, ART succeeds. The bottom line is that patients get well quickly, completely, and with much less expense.

  • What is a typical ART session like?

    ART uses a combination of pressure, tension, and movement to break up the adhesions formed as a result of cumulative trauma. As such, the treatments can be a bit uncomfortable or even a little painful. But, this pain is a positive sign – indicating that the problem has been located and that the treatment is resolving the injury. Patients often report that it "hurts good."

    The initial visit and evaluation takes approximately 45 minutes. Follow-up sessions typically last 20 minutes.

  • Who can benefit from ART?

    Almost everyone can benefit from Active Release. Nearly every adult is suffering from some form of cumulative trauma. Athletics, repetitive tasks, auto accidents, surgery – the small injuries incurred from simply living can snowball into chronic dysfunction.

    For those suffering loss of function – reduced range of motion, weakness, stiffness, pain – ART can help.

  • What conditions can be treated?

    ART can effectively resolve a broad range of soft tissue injuries – the cumulative trauma or overuse injuries affecting muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and other connective tissues.

    Active Release can be used to successfully treat the following conditions and more.

    • Tendonitis
    • Iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome
    • Plantar fasciitis
    • Rotator cuff syndrome
    • Post-operative scar tissue
    • Carpal tunnel syndrome
    • Chronic low back pain
    • Hyper extension/flexion injury (whiplash)
    • Piriformis syndrome

  • Who developed ART?

    Active Release Techniques was developed and founded in the early 1990s by Dr. Michael Leahy, DC, CCSP. Prior to becoming a Doctor of Chiropractic, Dr. Leahy was a fighter pilot in the USAF. Combining his background as an aeronautical engineer with his knowledge of human anatomy, Dr. Leahy was able to develop a unique and effective approach for dealing with soft-tissue injuries, now known as Active Release Techniques or ART. He continues to teach Active Release Techniques to health care professionals all over the world.

  • How can ART help companies reduce workplace injuries and improve workforce health?

    ART Corporate Solutions, Inc. offers a complete soft tissue management system for companies striving to reduce worker's compensation costs and recordable injury rates in the area of repetitive strain and strain/sprain injuries (MSD's).

    ART Corporate Solutions utilizes the highest level Active Release Techniques providers throughout North America to work with private corporations, insurance carriers, and professional sports teams, to help the employee achieve a pain free (or greatly improved) level as quickly as possible at a significantly reduced cost. ART is recognized by OSHA and the department of labor as a wellness, prevention, or first aid measure.

    Services offered by ART Corporate Solutions include:

    • On-site care programs
    • Employee training services
    • Access to the ART Elite Provider Network