Active Release Technique (ART)

The Active Release Therapy Technique or ART is the gold standard of soft tissue treatment for sports injuries. Injured muscles, ligament, fascia, tendons and nerves all respond extremely well with Active Release Technique treatment. What separates ART treatment from conventional massage or muscle work, is the precise directed tension and the very specific movement to ensure the smooth movement of tissue, the directed breaking up of scar tissue and the ability restore function with minimal treatment time. There are over 500 protocols for treating every muscle, tendon, ligament, fascia and nerve in the body. Active Release Technique is so specific and powerful that it is the only soft tissue therapy that is patented.

Active Release Technique (ART) | active release technique | SF Custom Chiropractic


With Active Release Technique, the whole structure (of muscle, tendon, ligament, nerve or fascia) can be treated instead of a particular section. It is the active motion, directed pressure, and specificity of treatment of the muscle that allows the practitioner to break up the adhesions. But what is an “adhesion” anyway? An adhesion is fibrous tissue that develops from a small tear in the muscle, tendon or ligament. Some people may call this “scar tissue” as well. How does it get there in the first place?

An adhesion can develop 3 ways:

  • Acute injury (trauma)
  • Overuse (repetitive motion injury)
  • Constant pressure/tension for an extended periods (poor posture)


The adhesion, or scar tissue, should be reduced for many reasons. Adhesions limit blood flow to the structure, shorten the muscle and decreases the function of the structure. This can cause pain, weakness and sometimes numbness if the adhesion is putting pressure on a nerve.

The soft tissue changes that occur following an injury are:

  • Inflammation (occurs in the first 24-72 hours)
  • Stringy muscles lesions (2 days-2 weeks)
  • Lumpy tissue, palpable adhesions (2 weeks-3 months)
  • Leathery tissue, changes slowly and is more chronic (3 months and beyond)

Each treatment only takes a few passes over the structure, and accomplishes greater results in a shorter amount of time than other soft tissue therapies. Active Release Technique is extremely effective when it comes to treating soft tissue conditions whether it be athletic injuries such as shin splints, tight calf muscles and IT Band problems or work-induced pain like carpal tunnel or shoulder and neck tension .


Anyone with a professional health degree can be certified as an Active Release Technique provider. This includes chiropractors, physical therapists, medical doctors, and massage therapists. What sets apart ART treatment by sports chiropractors from the rest is the ability to correctly and effectively diagnose the tissues that need to be worked on. Without proper functional exam and orthopedic exam, ART can still be misguided. A sports chiropractor will be able to combine the specific diagnosis with the most effective and efficient treatment instead of just guessing.

Get Active Release Technique Today

Chances are if you have a sports injury, you would benefit from Active Release Technique. If you feel stiff, tight, or have chronic pain or problems, don’t hesitate to book an appointment today or call in to (415) 788-8700 to see if sports chiropractic and Active Release Technique is right for you.


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