First patented by certified chiropractic sports physician P. Michael Leahy, the active release technique is a type of soft tissue therapy that can help reduce joint stress and relieve tight muscles. ART can be compared to deep tissue massage techniques. The two take similar approaches, manipulating soft tissue to reduce added stress on the joints and nerves that can cause chronic pain. ART can help stimulate the lymphatic system to reduce inflammation and naturally treat lower back pain, plantar fasciitis, tension headaches and carpal tunnel syndrome, among other painful conditions.
Benefits of Active Release Technique
1. Increases Flexibility
The active release technique increases flexibility by relaxing the muscles and joints. Studies have shown that even one ART treatment session can increase flexibility in the legs, specifically in the hamstrings. A 2006 study found that one active release technique treatment was able to help 20 physically active males with no injuries to improve their scores on a flexibility test. Research suggests that ART can help improve athletic performance and may also help to prevent future injuries. (1)
2. Reduces Lower Back Pain
According to a 2013 study conducted by the Korean Academy of Physical Therapy Rehabilitation Science, the active release technique can help improve symptoms of lower back pain, which may adults suffer from. Active release technique sessions can help break up scar tissue and release compressed nerves linked to back pain. Research has shown that ART can help significantly reduce lower back pain intensity and pressure. (2)
3. Improves Range of Motion After Injuries
The active release technique benefits the body by improving range of motion after injuries. Research has shown that ART treatments may be especially helpful for those with musculoskeletal disorders and chronic pain, including neck pain caused by sports, exercise or work-related injuries. ART can help relieve joint pain and muscle pain caused by injuries and over-training, making it a beneficial therapy option for athletes.
4. Treats Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Active release technique sessions can help relieve pain caused by carpal tunnel syndrome. Studies have shown that ART provides significant improvements in the severity of symptoms, including pain and swelling caused by nerve compression. The active release technique can serve as a natural remedy for carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms while also improving hand mobility. (3)
5. Helps Prevent Running Injuries and Improves Performance
Research has shown that active release technique sessions can help improve muscle recovery time, as well as running and athletic performance. ART can be beneficial especially for athletes. It helps restore normal muscle and tissue function after an injury, while keeping the body flexible. ART can also help prevent the tightening of muscles that can cause limited mobility and loss of strength. Studies have shown that ART is also able to significantly improve recovery time after an injury.