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What is Active Release Techniques (ART)?

Active Release Technique is a patented, state-of-the-art soft tissue system that treats injuries to muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves. ART is not massage, physiotherapy, or chiropractic care.While those procedures correct muscle and joint dysfunction, they do not necessarily address the underlying problems caused by scar tissue, which are essentially connective tissue adhesions.

ART stretches, separates, and releases these connective tissue adhesions allowing for an increase in your range of motion, flexibility, and strength while also restoring vascular circulation.

A few of the conditions that can be resolved quickly and permanently with ART include:

  • Headaches
  • Back pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Knee problems
  • Plantar Fasciitis

Active Release Technique has proven to be especially valuable for athletes, from the beginner to the professional. 90% of the time athletes with acute or long-standing strain/sprain injuries experience complete recovery, in a short period of time. ART has proven to be a fast, effective, non-invasive way to correct and rehabilitate a wide variety of soft tissue injuries.

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 such as typing on a computer)
  • Not getting enough oxygen to the muscle (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 tendonosis (tendinitis) and nerves can be entrapped. This can cause reduced range of motion, loss of strength, and pain. If a nerve is entrapped you may also feel tingling, numbness, and weakness.

What is an ART treatment like?

After a diagnosis has been reached based on a history and examination of the texture, tightness and movement of the muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and nerves, the doctor will apply specific pressure in specific areas based on over 500 precise ART protocols, in combination with very specific patient movements.  The doctor's hands-on contact, coupled with the patient's movements, facilitate separation and release of the adhesions.  Active Release Technique involves patients taking an active role in their own recovery.  In addition to movements required during treatment, patients may be asked to rest or to strengthen the area being treated.  Treatment length is variable and specific to each case.

What is the history of Active Release Techniques?

ART has been developed, refined, and patented by 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, and ligaments responded to different types of work, Dr. Leahy was able to consistently resolve over 90% of his patients' problems. He now teaches and certifies health care providers all over the world to use ART.

Is the treatment painful?

The first one or two treatments can be somewhat uncomfortable depending on the severity of the condition and the patient's pain tolerance. However, even if the treatment is uncomfortable and reproduces their symptoms, this is only temporary and will stop a few seconds after the treatment.

How long do the treatments take?

The initial consultation, history, examination, and treatment will usually require 30 minutes to one hour. Subsequent treatments take fifteen minutes.

How soon can I expect results?

In most cases, following the first treatment a patient will experience a positive result. This may be an increased range of motion, less pain, increased muscle strength, or decreased numbness and tingling.

Is this similar to other soft tissue treatments, such as other forms of massage?

NO. ART is very different than any other soft tissue, bodywork, massage, or other therapy. ART is very specific and the results achieved utilizing this technique are much more predictable, reproducible, and longer lasting.

Once my problem has been corrected what are the chances of the problem returning?

If the patient is advised as to any lifestyle modifications and follows through with the prescribed exercise/stretches, the likelihood of the condition recurring is very low. Dr. Leahy reported a recurrence rate of only 4% in his carpal tunnel study, of which half (2%), had not followed through with their exercises.

Can I benefit from ART® even if I have already been evaluated and treated by other doctors and specialists?

Only a provider experienced and trained in ART can determine if you might benefit from this treatment. Most of the cases seen in my office are those patients whom have been treated by other health care providers unsuccessfully. Most of these patients are pleasantly surprised when they experience an improvement in their condition after just one or two treatments. There are cases where surgery might be inevitable. Since ART is non-invasive and has no side effects, it is practical to try ART first. In the event surgery in unavoidable, post-surgical care and rehabilitation can also be facilitated with ART.

How does this form of treatment combined benefit an athlete?

Whether the athlete is in high school, college, or an adult; their sport is focused around specific and repetitive movements. The nature of repetitive motions and the unavoidable acute injury are the exact type of conditions ART was designed to correct. By increasing range of motion, decreasing swelling, and minimizing the formation of non-functional scar tissues, an athlete can benefit form ART whether they are injured or not. With the continuing growth and recognition of ART more and more college teams, professional athletes and corporations are utilizing this form of health care to decrease downtime and increase functional productivity. ART is the official medical provider to all IRONMAN events in the United States, and works with numerous NFL, NHL, and college teams, as well as Olympic medical providers.

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Wish I still lived in Wellington cause this is the BEST Chiropractic practice in the world!!!!! I have lived in New York and now in Florida and can NOT find a chiropractor to fix my back like Anders could!!!!! Wish I had the money to fly you down here weekly or to come to you. Miss you all greatly!!!!!

Andrew L. / Wellington, KS