Active Release Techniques® (ART)

Active Release Techniques® (ART) is one of the key therapies we use at Performance Health Group to achieve the results we get.

What is ART®?

ART® is a manual, hands-on therapy designed specifically to find scars in damaged tissue and release the adhesions that result. Adhesions are produced in acute injuries, repetitive injuries or simply when a muscle is under chronic tension and does not get enough oxygen (hypoxia). These adhesions act like tiny dabs of glue sticking to muscle fibers and between connective tissues, preventing the normal sliding movements that normally occur between healthy tissue. Adhesions limit muscle or joint movement and can create abnormal or painful motion. Adhesions to a nerve can cause numbness, tingling or radiating pain, as with carpal tunnel syndrome or the radiating leg pain of sciatica.

How does ART® work?

During an ART® treatment, the injured tissue is assessed for four major areas of concern: tissue texture, tension, movement, and function. The practitioner applies a manual force along the scar tissue or adhesion with a thumb or finger while guiding the patient’s limb or body part through a specific movement. This process separates and creates tension between the tissues while the contact releases the scar tissue.
Each treatment session typically lasts approximately 10-15 minutes. Treatments can feel uncomfortable during the movement phases as the scar tissue or adhesions “break-up”. This discomfort is temporary and subsides almost immediately after the treatment. Patients typically report that “It hurts in a good way”. Symptoms are often duplicated during treatment and are usually relieved during the first or second treatment (a good indication that the problem has been identified).

What to expect with ART® treatment?

After an ART® treatment, most people feel increased range of motion or mobility and/or less pain after the treatment. It is not uncommon to feel some soreness in the area that is treated. The soreness should not be more that that you would experience after a workout and should only last 1-2 days at most.
Strength, mobility, and function are expected to improve within the first few treatments. We will often have our patients test these factors after two or three visits. If no improvement is seen, we know that either we have not found the source of the problem, or the affected area needs to be strengthened further.

In most cases the problem is fixed, or significant improvement is seen, in four to five treatments. If we have not seen a change by this time, further investigation may be advised.


Benefits of ART® treatments

ART® is non-invasive, very safe, has virtually no side effects, and has a record of producing very good results. When a soft tissue problem has resolved, the symptoms will not return unless the injury happens again. To avoid future injuries we will prescribe specific exercises, give postural recommendations, and explain the mechanism of injury so that it may be avoided in the future.

ART® can be effective where adhesions have entrapped nerves such as in carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica and headaches. In addition, this therapy can help in acute injuries by working the surrounding tissues to lessen the stress on the injury itself. In later stages the injury site can be worked to maximize the quality of the stabilizing scar tissue and minimize the overproduction of scar tissue.

ART® is also effective for joint conditions. Adhesions can limit the muscle’s ability to lengthen which can alter the biomechanics of the joint. This can lead to decreased mobility of the joint or abnormal motion which, in turn, can cause wear and tear on the joint. Examples include spinal joint conditions, shoulder impingement, and runner’s knee. 

In summary, this technique can help with numerous conditions that result in pain, numbness, weakness and/or loss of mobility. It also can play a key role in improving athletic performance and injury prevention.

ART® can often help with a variety of soft tissue conditions such as:

  • Tennis and golfers elbow
  • Back and shoulder pain
  • Whiplash
  • Knee and leg pain
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Achilles Tendonitis
  • Shin splints
  • Sciatica
  • TMJ
  • Headaches
  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
  • Frozen Shoulder/Adhesive Capsulitis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Hip Pain
  • Iliotibial Band Syndrome
  • Knee Meniscus Injuries

The use of ART® at Performance Health Group

ART® is a very effective treatment on its own. However it is often combined with other treatments to maximize results. Chiropractic manipulation is often used (especially with spinal conditions) to contribute to optimal joint function. Massage is an excellent complement to fully address the soft tissue component. Laser therapy delivers specific energy to the affected area to assist the body in the healing process. Rehabilitative exercises improve strength and flexibility to complete recovery and prevent recurrences.

For more info, please visit the associated website:

Why choose Performance Health Group?

We are your first and best choice when looking for Active Release Techniques® in Vancouver, Surrey, Aldergrove and surrounding area. We treat a wide range of patients, from professional athletes to office workers and we guarantee that we can make a positive difference in your health – we would love to see you!


To book an appointment contact us at our clinic locations:
Vancouver: 604.682.6178 /
Surrey: 604.581.0232 /
Langley: 778.366.9977 /