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How Active Release Technique Works

On a daily occurrence I see patients with various soft tissue injuries that require special treatment to effectively remove their pain or restore their range of motion. These conditions have included low back pain, neck pain, headache, tennis elbow, shin splints, sprained ankles, plantar faciitis  and almost everything in between. So how am I able to effectively and usually permanently treat those injuries? I use a patented state of the art soft tissue rehab technique called Active Release Technique or ART.

So how do we get these injuries and how does ART treat them so effectively? Soft tissue injuries usually happen in one of three ways. The first is an acute injury such as a ankle sprain or strain hamstring. These obviously happen fast and hurt right away. The next way is a slower process by which small micro-tears occur over time. These injuries usually take place due to repetitive movements or constant sprain due to poor posture. Lastly soft tissue injuries can occur due to loss of oxygen to the tissue called hypoxia.

Regardless of how the injury occurred the body’s response is often the same. The inflammatory response that happens quickly with ankle sprain or slowly due to performing the same task all day at an assembly line both result in the production of dense tough scare tissue that is laid down in an effort to protect the injured tissue. This is a necessary process that allows the body to heal. The problem is this scare tissue is not as flexible as the original tissue. This results in muscle becoming tight and weak, tendons become tense and result in tendonitis, and nerves can become entrapped causing decreased range of motion, weakness, pain, and if a nerve is affected one can feel tingling, numbness or burning.

The concept behind Active Release Technique is very simple just not easy to perform. In order to effectively treat these injuries I have undergone numerous classroom hours learning proper movements and developing a “feel” for how the tissues should move in relation to each other. It has been said that performing ART is as easy as playing the piano but is just as difficult to master. The basic concept is to shorten the muscle or tendon place a contact on the affected area and then lengthen the tissue under the contact. This effectively breaks up the scare tissue and restores proper function. Tissues can be treated in as few as 2-3 treatments depending on the severity of the tissue damage and whether there is continued stress on the tissue.

If you have any questions about soft tissue injuries or are curious if Active Release Technique can help you, please don’t hesitate to send me a e-mail at or call our office at (515) 232-9075. Now is the time to get relief, don’t wait until is becomes a larger problem!

In Health,

-Dr. Ben


April 26, 2013
Team Member

Dr. Benjamin Heun