A non-invasive treatment system precisely engineered to locate and quickly resolve soft-tissue disorders.


Through Active Release Therapy (ART), millions have discovered that they do not have to “just live with” pain or restricted movement, or endure tedious treatment regimens for a chance at full recovery.


Also called Active Release Technique, is a non-invasive manual therapy technique that works to correct soft tissue restrictions that cause pain and mobility issues. The goal is to break down scar tissue and adhesions in order to optimize function in the body.


The technique can be applied to both acute and chronic conditions involving the muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves and fascia.


During treatment, a trained physiotherapist will position your tissue so it’s “active.” For example, to treat an injured muscle with Active Release Therapy, the therapist puts you in a position so that the muscle is shortened and then applies hands-on tension. Next, they’ll instruct you to lengthen while they hold the tension in place. They may apply this combination of tension and motion to several different areas before you feel the full release.


It’s kind of like massage but with motion and stretching, except the physiotherapist will use small, targeted contact points rather than broad strokes. The technique can feel quite intense as it increases your nervous system’s tolerance for stretching the muscle. Many describe it as a “good pain.”


What body parts are treated?


ART can be used to treat pain and other symptoms caused by injury or damage to:


  • Fascia. This is fibrous connective tissue that protects and supports muscles and organs throughout your body. Inflammation across a band of fascia tissue can cause extreme pain and stiffness. Plantar fasciitis is a common fascia tissue condition.

  • Major muscle groups. Strains and pulls from overuse or trauma can affect any of your major muscle groups. This includes muscles in your neck and shoulders, back, and hamstrings.

  • Tendons and ligaments. Tendons connect muscles to bone and ligaments connect bone to bone. Injury to either can cause pain and decrease range of motion.


How is it different from other soft tissue techniques?


It involves over 500 specific manual therapy techniques that practitioners learn to assess and treat restrictions in soft tissue. At each session, the therapist will assess which specific muscles to target and find the scar tissues that are causing the problem within it. ART works by combining manual tension on scar tissue with patient movement.


Can ART help with shoulder pain or frozen shoulder?


Frozen shoulder is the more commonly used term for a shoulder joint condition called adhesive capsulitis. Frozen shoulder occurs when the tissues around the shoulder joint thicken and tighten.


Over time scar tissue can develop, limiting the space around the shoulder joint and progressively inhibiting movement.


More common in women than men, patients with adhesive capsulitis are typically found in people between 40 and 60 years of age. Symptoms include swelling, pain, and stiffness - usually in one shoulder.


Usually, the condition takes two to nine months to develop. Anyone experiencing pain and or stiffness in one or both shoulders should see their healthcare provider, particularly if the pain persists for more than seven days or stiffness progresses.


The most common, and often most successful treatment for shoulder pain is active release therapy. A trained physiotherapist will focus on stretching the shoulder joint to improve mobility and relieve pressure on the joint. 


ART can take anywhere from a few weeks to nine months depending on age, severity and other contributing conditions. A physiotherapist may also recommend a self-directed gentle range of motion exercises that can be performed at home.


What about Shoulder Blade Pain?


If you have pain in your shoulder blade that persists beyond a few days, it is important to make an appointment to see your doctor, even if you have participated in activities that you suspect have caused your pain.


Which shoulder blade is affected is an important question, as some conditions are more likely to affect the left shoulder blade and others to affect the right.


Active release therapy is very effective in treating shoulder blade pain because it is specifically designed to locate and treat adhesions of scar tissue that accumulate in the muscles and surrounding soft tissues.


By locating and treating soft tissue adhesions with ART, it allows the physician, one, to break restrictive adhesions, two, to restore normal tissue flexibility and movement, and three, to more completely restore flexibility, balance, and stability. of the injured. area as well as the entire kinetic chain.


An additional benefit of the active release technique is that it allows us to assess and correct problems not only at the site of pain itself, but also in other areas, which are associated with motion compensations and are often contributing factors to the problem.


This ensures that all the soft tissues that have become dysfunctional and are contributing to the specific injury are addressed, even if they have not developed pain yet.


To book an appointment to see if ART will be able to help with your shoulder injury, simply call one of our offices!