Active Release Techniques: What is it? And should you try it?

October 12, 2021

What is Active Release Techniques (ART)?

Embraced in the sports medicine community as the gold standard in soft tissue treatment for over three decades, Active Release Techniques is a non-invasive treatment system precisely designed to locate and quickly resolve soft tissue disorders. 



According to their website, Active Release Techniques exist to train, encourage, and assist healthcare professionals to identify and resolve conditions that are not properly diagnosed or efficiently treated by conventional methods. 

Through ART, millions have discovered that they do not have to “just live with” pain or restricted movement, or endure tedious treatment regimens for a chance at full recovery (source: 


ART Seattle How does ART work? 

When we sustain a trauma, such as a muscle tear during activity or surgery, our body will begin to produce and lay down scar tissue as an attempt to repair itself. 

This is normal. 

However, when scar tissue, or adhesions develop, it can act as a “glue”  that binds muscles together and restricts the tissues ability to slide over each other. 

This can lead to a loss in joint range of motion and cause or exacerbate pain. 

Active Release Techniques was developed to identify and break up adhesions and restore range of motion back to the affected area, promote blood flow, reduce pain and promote healing. It is a proven system that is used every day from professional and olympic athletes to the weekend warrior and individual trying to recover properly from their surgery. 


What is Treatment Like?

Active Release Technique has been described as a combination of massage and stretching done at the same time, and the feeling experienced during deep tissue massage and targeted stretching is also comparable to the feeling experienced during ART. 

While not always comfortable during treatment, the intensity can also be dialed up and down through communication with your provider. 

Speaking of providers, it’s important to note that you should refrain from attempting to perform this form of treatment on yourself. 

Active Release Technique, and various other manual therapy techniques, require a highly skilled manual therapist to perform and should be left to the professionals (such as our Doctors at Tangelo).

That said, there are “pin and stretching” methods that are effective and encouraged as an adjunct to ART, and you should ask your provider to demonstrate these for you so you can do them correctly at home for best results. 


Portland ART

Disorders Treated Through Active Release Techniques

Since ART has been proven to effectively treat soft tissue disorders such as fascia, muscles, tendons and ligaments, Active Release Techniques can help if you are suffering from the following conditions. 

Low Back Pain

Neck Pain 


• Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

• Frozen Shoulder

Sciatica or Piriformis Syndrome

Plantar Fasciitis

• Achilles Tendonitis 

• Tennis Elbow

• Golfers Elbow 

• General sprains and strains 


Are There Any Side Effects from ART?

A common question our Doctors at Tangelo get when discussing the benefits of Active Release Techniques is whether or not there are any side effects? 

With over 10 years of serving our community, our patients have only reported experiencing mild-moderate soreness and possibly slightly bruising after their initial treatments with Active Release Techniques. 

However, these side effects are not common and are consistent with what you may experience after a deep tissue massage session.


You Don’t Have to Live with Pain 

Are you experiencing pain after an injury or surgery or suffering from a chronic musculoskeletal condition that just does not seem to get any better?

Don’t lose hope! 

Our expert team of trained Doctors are here to serve you and get you back to living a life free of limitations. 

If you live in the Portland or Seattle area, don’t go one more day without hope, call us today!