July 2017
Hand Massage - Active Release Technique San Diego CA

Various conditions can result from repetitive use, muscle strain or acute trauma, ranging from shoulder pain to carpal tunnel syndrome. For instance, muscle overuse leads to the appearance of adhesions/fibrosis in the soft tissue, causing acute conditions such as pulls and tears, micro-trauma (the accumulation of small tears), or hypoxia (lack of oxygen). As a result, dense scar tissue is formed in the affected area, ‘’binding up’’ the tissues and causing muscles to shorten and become weaker, reducing the range of motion and causing pain.


Active Release Techniques (ART) is regarded as a gold standard for treating soft tissue injuries. This treatment focuses primarily on relieving the tension built-up in the soft tissue through the removal of adhesions/fibrosis. In essence, ART is a soft tissue movement-based technique. It is used both in diagnostics and treatment.


Active Release Technique is gaining ground in San Diego CA due to its proven efficiency and long-term benefits. Read on to find out more about this state-of-the-art treatment!

Background of ART

The beginnings of ART date back to the mid-1980s, when Dr. P. Michael Leahy was working on combining his chiropractic knowledge with the knowledge he acquired while studying engineering in the Air Force. After becoming a chiropractor in 1984, Dr. Leahy worked with top-performing athletes, focusing on treating soft tissue disorders. He started forming the basis of ART treatment by devising different techniques that directly treated soft tissue disorders and helped the athletes quickly go back to their peak performance.


After presenting the method at a seminar in 1988, Dr. Leahy also began to set the foundation for ART training. Soon after, ART was patented and doctors could specialize in this innovative treatment. Up to date, there are more than 10,000 trained providers of Active Release Technique treatment around the world.

The purpose of ART

Generally speaking, Active Release Techniques are aimed at:

  • restoring unimpeded motion of affected soft tissues
  • releasing entrapped nerves, vasculature, and lymphatics
  • re-establish optimal texture and resilience of soft tissues

ART treatment is suitable not only for professional athletes but also for people who lead an active life on any level. Whatever their chosen activity is, Active Release Techniques help to eliminate any restrictions to top performance.

What conditions can be resolved with ART?

Issues with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and the nerves can all result from muscle overuse. In turn, they further cause a range of problems including (but not limited to): tension headaches, shin splints, carpal tunnel syndrome, knee problems, shoulder pain, tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, sciatic nerve pain, etc.


A few pilot studies have been performed, showing that ART helped to increase the Pain Pressure Threshold in adductor muscle pain sensitivity, and also reduced symptom severity in carpal tunnel syndrome patients after two weeks of treatment.

What happens during an ART session?

Since ART is used both in diagnostics and treatment, the sessions are actually a combination of examination and treatment. Firstly, the ART provider evaluates the texture, tightness, and movement of muscles, tendons, fascia, ligaments and nerves, and aims to locate the soft tissue areas of built-up tension or adhesions.


After locating the abnormal tissues, the ART provider applies manual therapy to strip the scar tissue from the injured muscle, by which the entrapped nerves are released. More specifically, the ART provider uses their hands to apply compressive and tensile force to the affected area. The precisely directed tension is combined with specific patient movements.


It’s important to note that ART treatment is not the same for every patient. The ART provider will devise a treatment depending on the specific symptoms a patient has because ART is, in essence, used to treat symptoms. By treating the symptoms and not the consequences, ART can guarantee permanent benefits.

Active Release Technique and Chiropractic Care

Chiropractors, physiotherapists and massage therapists are typically the ones who receive training in ART and become ART providers. Combining ART with chiropractic techniques gives the best results with all conditions that result from tension buildup and overused muscles. With chiropractic focusing on the nervous system affecting the musculoskeletal system and ART aimed at releasing entrapped nerves, a combined approach is extremely beneficial for the whole body in the long run.

Active Release Technique San Diego CA

At Fix Body Chiropractor Group of San Diego, Active Release Technique is the primary soft tissue massage technique used. Our expert team has found that the combination of ART, chiropractic, and personal training is the most effective at securing long-term benefits with a variety of conditions. The team has helped a wide range of patients, from Olympic athletes to acute/chronic pain patients, to get rid of pain, regain full muscle resilience and flexibility and give the desired boost to their performance.


To receive world-class Active Release Technique treatment in San Diego, CA, contact our team at 619-493-4039 (Hillcrest) or 619-763-1120 (4S Ranch) and schedule an appointment!