Active Release Techniques® - Dr Jay Rappazzo
Active Release (ART)

Active Release Techniques®

What is Active Release Techniques (ART) to Individuals, Athletes, and Patients?

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.

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)
  • 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.

What is an ART treatment like?

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.

How is ART different?

Active Release Techniques® (ART) soft tissue management system is so different that it has been granted a medical patent. In order to become an ART provider, each professional must complete extensive hands-on instruction and written/ practical testing unparalleled by other soft tissue programs. An ART provider is trained to palpate and treat more than 500 muscular injuries and over 100 nerve entrapments, which often cause numbness and tingling. Treatment duration and frequency may vary depending on the severity and complexity of the injury. However, most patients experience rapid recovery.

What is causing the pain?

Soft tissue conditions often do not show up in radiographic studies. When soft tissue has been injured, or even chronically tight, it forms scar tissue. While necessary for healing, scar tissue may “stick” to adjacent structures restricting range of motion and may cause compression over nerves or blood vessels. This condition alters the texture of soft tissue, which an experienced ART provider can diagnose and treat.

Who can benefit from ART?

Since an ART provider is qualified to diagnose and treat over 400 structures, we see a broad range of injuries and conditions. ART is successful for professional and amateur athletes, people injured in auto accidents or at work, and people who just work hard and hurt. Conditions typically treated with ART include rotator cuff injuries, plantar fasciitis, tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, shin splints, carpal tunnel and headaches to name a few.