The Active Release Technique and Its Implications

The Active Release Technique (ART) is fairly recent. It aims to help those individuals who experience limited (hampered) mobility due to repeated injuries, postoperative complications or chronic overuse of the musculoskeletal system. There is one thing common in all these cases; the development of scar tissue during the healing process which binds to supporting muscles […]



The Active Release Technique (ART) is fairly recent. It aims to help those individuals who experience limited (hampered) mobility due to repeated injuries, postoperative complications or chronic overuse of the musculoskeletal system. There is one thing common in all these cases; the development of scar tissue during the healing process which binds to supporting muscles and tissues, inhibiting free movement.

As a result, the patient experiences difficulty in getting along with day-to-day activities. In the long run, these conditions may prove to be debilitating, attacking one’s sense of independence and diminishing the quality of life.

What is ART?

It is a patented massage technique developed by P. Michael Leahy, DC, CCSP. It is used by licensed professionals to alter the soft tissues system in the body. The ART practitioner diagnoses and treats the problem through physical manipulations of target area. This technique is known to help with problems of tendons, muscles, ligaments, nerves, and fascia.

Why ART?

When your body tissues experience stress, three levels of damage may occur.

• In the first level, the damage is minimal and emerges in the form of minor pulls, collisions and tears on the tissues.
• Micro-trauma is considered as second level of damage where the tissues sustain several small tears.
• Hypoxia is a condition characterized by insufficient availability of oxygen, and is known to cause severe damage to the tissues if not addressed in a timely manner.

As a result of the damage, scar tissue is formed. The scar tissue ties down the muscles and ligaments in a disorderly manner, diminishing mobility. If the scar tissue is allowed to build up, it will eventually lead to weaker muscles, unnecessary stress on the musculoskeletal system, and the inappropriate alignment of nerves. These conditions may manifest in the form of pain, numbness, tingling sensations, weakness and reduced motion.

How Does ART Help?

ART entails a combination of diagnosis and treatment. The licensed professional assesses the texture, tightness and mobility of muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves and fascia. Through appropriate and well-calculated application of pressure and movement, the practitioner aims to relieve the stress, paving the way for a complete recovery. The science of ART extends over 500 different movement patterns, which is why only licensed professionals are allowed to practice it.

Implications of ART

The Active Release Technique is known to help with the following conditions.

• Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
• Headache
• Backache
• Shoulder Pain
• Sciatica
• Knee Problems
• Tennis Elbow
• Plantar Fasciitis
• Shin Splints

This technique may be able to help with other health problems as well, though limited research and analysis makes it impossible to generalize.

The ART technique holds significant value for different individuals, particularly sports personalities and physical labor, who constantly experience physical exertion and stress. This treatment can enable patients with varied disabilities to regain control over their bodies, empowering them to lead independent lifestyles, and reducing the cost of ongoing healthcare treatments. It is a holistic, non-invasive solution for musculoskeletal problems.

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