Active Release Techniques® Soft Tissue Treatment ART®

What is Active Release Techniques® ART®?

Active Release Techniques ®, also called 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 therapy that treats problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves. Common conditions that can often be resolved quickly, and most often permanently, with ART® include:

  • headaches
  • neck and back pain
  • carpal tunnel syndrome
  • shin splints
  • shoulder pain
  • rotator cuff syndrome
  • golfer's and tennis elbow
  • sciatica
  • plantar fasciitis
  • knee problems
  • tendinopathies
  • epicondylitis
  • most sports injuries
These conditions all have one important thing in common - they often result from injury to over-used muscles.

How do overuse injuries occur?

Over-used muscles (& other soft tissues) change in 3 important ways:
  • acute injuries (pulls, tears, collisions, etc.)
  • accumulation of small tears (micro-trauma)
  • lack of oxygen (hypoxia)
Each of these factors can cause the 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 entrapped. This can cause reduced range of motion, loss of strength, and pain. If a nerve is entrapped, tingling, numbness, and weakness may also be noticed.

Why is ART® used?

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

What is involved in an ART® treatment?

Every ART® session is 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, which soften and stretch the adhesions resulting in a decrease in symptoms and an increase in range of motion.

ART® is unique in its systematic approach, which allows providers to identify and correct the specific problems that are affecting each individual patient. The treatment protocols - over 500 specific moves - are unique to ART®.

How is ART® different from other soft tissue therapies?

ART® is different from other forms of soft tissue therapy in that it incorporates the best of movement, stretching, and pressure points. The end result is that this technique mobilizes the adhesions and scar tissue between structures such as muscles and ligaments.

What is the ART® training and certification process?

ART® has been developed, refined, and patented by Dr. 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 now oversees the teaching and certification of healthcare providers all over the world in the use of ART®. In order to become an ART® provider, each professional must pass rigorous hands-on and written tests. Only practitioners who have taken the extensive coursework and who successfully complete the annual recertification process are allowed to practice ART® and to call themselves ART® providers.