Active Release Techniques®

What is Active Release Techniques® Soft Tissue Treatment ?

Active Release Techniques®, or ART®, is a hands-on soft tissue treatment used to correct problems from various kinds of soft tissue injuries. ART® restores the normal function of your muscles and related structures, allowing full and free ranges of motion.  It breaks down scar tissue that builds up within and between muscles and also helps restore your nervous system’s control of the muscles providing you with better strength and control.

This patented soft-tissue treatment system works on problems in the back, neck, arms, legs, hands, and feet. Certified Active Release Providers apply their advanced knowledge of anatomy, muscular mechanics, peripheral neurology, and motor patterns to achieve excellent results, even in cases where all else seems to have failed.

Dr. Jeff Stripling is a full-body certified ART® provider as well as an ART® Biomechanics certified expert.

The History of ART® Soft Tissue Treatment

ART® has been developed, refined, and patented by P. Michael Leahy, a Colorado Springs chiropractor widely regarded as the top soft tissue expert in the country, if not the world.


Dr. Leahy noticed that his patients’ symptoms seemed to be related to changes in their soft tissue that could be felt by hand. By observing how muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and nerves responded to different types of work, Dr. Leahy was able to consistently resolve over 90% of his patients’ problems. He now teaches and certifies health care providers all over the world to use ART®.

Dr. Stripling tested with Dr. Leahy to become part of ART Elite Provider Network (EPN) which allows a health care professional to work on site at companies treating repetitive overuse injuries.

How do soft-tissue injuries occur?

Over-used muscles (and other soft tissues) change in three important ways:

  • acute injuries (pulls, tears, collisions, etc),
  • accumulation of small tears (micro-trauma)
  • postural strain (hypoxia)

Each of these factors can cause your body’s fibroblasts to produce tough, dense scar tissue in the affected area. This scar tissue binds up and ties down tissues that need to move freely. As scar tissue builds up, muscles become shorter and weaker. This causes reduced range of motion, loss of strength, and pain. If a peripheral nerve is trapped you may also feel tingling, numbness, and weakness.


How does this affect normal function?

As scar tissue builds up within your muscles and between your muscles, they can’t lengthen and shorten normally. Take a moment and flex your bicep muscle. It gets shorter. Now relax it. It gets longer. When scar tissue starts to clog your muscles, it prevents this normal action of muscle. The result is weakness, tightness, stiffness, and pain. ART® breaks up this scar tissue so your muscles can move freely again.

Soft tissue injuries have another, more subtle effect. They interfere with your brain’s ability to control your muscles via the nervous system. Once your muscles start to get tight, your body will think that tightness is normal. It will resist your attempts to stretch the muscle. This is why stretching rarely corrects a problem. ART® helps reset the normal tone of your muscles by correcting the nervous system’s feedback to the brain. (For all you technically minded folks, read up on the gamma motor neuron system, the work of Schleip in particular.)

Who Can Benefit from Active Release Chiropractic Techniques® Soft Tissue Treatment?

ART® can help people from all walks of life. From pro athletes to weekend warriors to stay at home parents to entire work forces. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, if your injury is related to soft tissues, chances are that ART® will help you.

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