Active Release Techniques (ART)

Developed and patented by P. Michael Leahy, DC, CCSP, active release techniques (ART) is a movement-based, soft-tissue-focused treatment method. Practitioners typically employ ART when treating overuse injuries as well as conditions associated with scar tissue and muscle adhesions. (ART is not recommended for blunt trauma or active inflammation.) From the ART perspective, adhesions develop, muscles shorten and weaken, joint movement is limited, and nerves are pressed. With ART, which involves more than 500 specific moves, the practitioner—using his or her hands—assesses the soft tissues and then applies pressure and stretching motions to break up the adhesions. There are four levels of ART. The first three levels involves the practitioner moving the patient’s tissue. In the fourth level, the patient actively moves the tissue in a prescribed manner while the practitioner applies tension.