Active Release Techniques

ART® is a patented, state-of-the-art soft tissue system/movement-based massage technique that treats problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and nerves. Headaches, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, shin splints, shoulder pain, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, knee problems, and tennis elbow are just a few of the many conditions that can be resolved quickly and permanently with ART®. These conditions all have one important thing in common: they are often a result of overused muscles.



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)

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.



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.

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.

Here are a few examples of soft tissue injuries that respond well to ART.


Active Release Techniques (ART) to treat lateral elbow pain.
Active Release Techniques (ART) to treat lateral epicondylosis.


Tennis elbow is a very common injury. It involves the extensors muscles of the forearm and their tendinous attachment on the lateral epicondyle. The extensor muscles, along with the radial nerve, the supinator muscle and the annular ligament, should all be assessed when managing this injury.




The forearm muscles can be involved with carpal tunnel syndrome. The median nerve travels down the arm and courses through the pronator teres, the flexor superficialis/profundus muscles, and eventually through the carpal ligament in the wrist. The pronator teres and forearm flexor muscles are often overlooked as some providers are quick to draw conclusions when dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome. Most of the time people feel the pain in the hand and fingers. So the classic place to start treating is the wrist. That’s fine, but if you keep treating the wrist with no change in symptoms, you should look upstream and follow the median nerve to check its entrapment sites. With so many occupations in today’s world that don’t allow us to rest our upper extremities, repetitive strain injuries are more common than you think.

ART to treat shin splints.
ART to treat shin splints.

ART for the ankle ligaments.
ART for the ankle ligaments.


Shin splints refer to pain below the knee down the outer front portion of the leg. Typically seen in runners and has to do with a repetitive strain on the tibialis anterior muscle in the lower leg. AKA medial tibial stress syndrome, this can be painful for many but soft tissue manipulation such as ART has a great track record of resolving this condition.

The ankle ligaments can become taut after an injury if not addressed properly. In chronic cases, primarily restricted ankle dorsiflexion, could be due to an Achilles tendon injury, movement-based therapies such as ART combined with loading/unloading exercises can help lead you to a full recovery.

ART for sciatic nerve entrapment in hip muscles.
ART for sciatic nerve entrapment in hip muscles.

The sciatic nerve can get hung up as it passes through the soft tissues while making its way down the back of the leg. There are a few areas it can become entrapped causing numbness, tingling, pain, muscle weakness, etc. in the lower extremity. ART can help create motion between the nerve and the adjacent muscle (s) to allow the nerve to slide freely. This nerve irritation is typically resolved rather quickly once relative motion between the nerve and muscles take place.