ART® Soft Tissue Treatment

What is ART®?
ART®, short for Active Release Techniques® Soft Tissue Treatment, is a unique treatment that uses soft-tissue movement to address a broad range of issues including:

  • headaches
  • back pain
  • shoulder pain
  • sciatica
  • plantar fasciitis
  • knee problems
  • carpal tunnel syndrome
  • shin splints
  • joint pain
  • arthritis
  • bunions
  • bursitis
  • compartment syndrome
  • adhesive capsulitis
  • gait imbalance
  • ilio tibial band issues
  • tennis elbow
  • muscle pulls or strains
  • scar tissue
  • repetitive strain injury
  • tendonitis
  • TMJD
    Often the result of overuse, these conditions can be treated through movement-based soft tissue therapy targeted at the muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves. The technique was pioneered by Dr. Michael Leahy in the 1980s, and many doctors and patients since have found ART® to provide a rapid route to healing and be a contributor to long-term physical health and performance.

Overuse of soft tissue can lead to a number of problems, the foremost of which are acute conditions such as muscle tears or pulls. It can occur from accumulated damage through recurring micro-tears to the soft tissue, or from the simple lack of adequate oxygen for optimum muscle health and performance. As the body copes with this trauma, it creates localized scar tissue that binds tissue and often puts pressure on tendons and nerves, resulting in symptoms such as a limited range of motion, pain, numbness or weakness.

ART® Soft Tissue Treatment is a movement-based, hands-on treatment that relies on specific pressure and tension applied to soft tissue. As pressure is applied by the doctor, the soft tissue being manipulated is elongated and restored to a more mobile state. This stretching of tissue, particularly damaged and scarred tissue, can improve the patient’s range of motion, add to strength of the affected area, and enhance recovery through tissue stimulation and greater circulation. What differentiates ART® from other forms of myofascial release (a category of techniques used to break up scar tissue) is the active participation of the patient during therapy and the very specific distinction among different muscle actions within a single muscle.

During consultation regarding use of ART®, the doctor can assess the injury in question and determine treatment and complementary exercises and/or stretching as deemed necessary.


Can It Help Me
If you are experiencing disruptions to normal muscle function or pain undertaking activities that previously caused no discomfort, ART® can be a valuable treatment in bringing your muscles and other soft tissue back to a healthy condition. Scar tissue from injuries — whether from sports, an accident, or work stress — can cause weakness, stiffness, and pain, all of which can contribute to further physical damage if not addressed properly. The sooner such injuries are assessed and treated, the sooner the patient can get on the road to recovery.

ART® can’t fix broken bones, completely torn ligaments or ruptured spinal discs. If it is determined you have such conditions you will be referred appropriately or treated by other means. For thyroid disease, visceral disease or other non-neuromusculoskeletal conditions patients should seek guidance from their regular physicians regarding such problems.

Visit the official ART® site at