What is ART?

What is soft tissue and what is a soft tissue injury?

Chiropractors work with both hard and soft tissues. Hard tissues consist of bones and cartilage. Soft tissue, on the other hand, is made up of any structure that supports, connects, or surrounds other tissues and organs within the body. Soft tissues include nerves, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia. It is possible for soft tissues to accumulate micro-tears, leading to the accumulation of fibrous adhesions within these tissues. The build up of fibrous adhesions can lead to chronic pain cycles, decrease in function, discomfort, and numbness within the region of the body where the fibrous adhesions accumulate.


Dr. Jacobs and Dr. Gustin are both certified ART chiropractors in the Bay Area.

What is ART?

Active Release Technique, otherwise known as ART, has been touted as the gold standard of soft tissue treatment and care. But what is ART exactly? ART is a soft tissue treatment technique which consists of a trained practitioner identifying the site of fibrous adhesions that build up within soft tissue, followed by the practitioner using hands-on directional force to break up the fibrous adhesions so that they are resorbed into the circulation.

Both Dr. Jacobs and Dr. Gustin have taken extensive certifications and training in ART and count it as one of their most important treatment techniques from their diversified treatment playbook. They used ART in their offices in the Bay Area on many of their patients. ART is used to treat all soft tissues, including muscles, ligaments, tendons, fascia, and nerves. Fibrous adhesions can accumulate for any number of reasons; the overuse of a repetitive motion injury, negative constant pressure as a result of poor posture, and acute injuries are just a few examples. The build of up fibrous adhesions within the soft tissue can inhibit comfortable motion of the associated body part, limit blood flow, shorten and weaken muscle fibers, lead to inflammation, and also cause pain or numbness as the fibrous adhesion exerts pressure on neighboring nerves.

What is an ART treatment like?

When a patient receives ART, the chiropractor will first examine their areas of complaint. During this examination, they will evaluate the texture, size, and site of the fibrous adhesion by hand. From there, they will use one or a combination of any of the 500+ protocols specific to the affected area to break up the fibrous adhesions by applying directional force by hand. ART is highly effective at treating fibrous adhesion accumulations within a short timespan, providing timely and much needed relief.

Dr. Gustin says, “ART works wonders, almost dissolving discomfort before my eyes while I work with my patients. It is such a simple, yet complex way to treat their pain that is completely customized to their circumstances. It is hands down the most effective form of treatment of soft tissue abnormalities, getting patients out of pain as quickly as possible.”

Dr. Jacobs says,  “Incorporating ART into each treatment patients is better and faster than just chiropractic adjustments alone. I won’t refer my patients who move or travel to another chiropractor unless he or she is a certified ART practitioner.”

ART is an effective treatment for acute injuries such as runners knee, tennis elbow, and rotator cuff syndrome. It can also be used to treat work related injuries, such as carpal tunnel or the chronic neck pain associated with “text neck.” If you have been experiencing pain or discomfort arising from your soft tissues, then call our office at (415) 788-8700 to make an appointment to consult with a chiropractor.


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