Active release techniques: Address soft tissues problems to help heal your body

KristinJEff_CoverA new and highly successful hands-on treatment method, A.R.T. (Active Release Techniques) is meant to address problems in the soft tissues of the body including muscles, ligaments, fascia, and nerves. It is especially beneficial in dealing with hip injuries because it is designed to locate and treat scar tissue adhesions that accumulate in the muscles and surrounding soft tissues.  By locating and treating the soft-tissue adhesions with A.R.T., the practitioner is able to:

  1. break up restrictive adhesions,
  2. reinstate normal tissue flexibility and movement, and
  3. fully restore flexibility, balance and stability to the injured area and the entire hip.

As a side note, practitioners often misdiagnose hip pain as a low back condition. Unfortunately, with this situation being as common as it is, the problematic area, the hip, goes completely untreated.

So what exactly is A.R.T.? 

You can think of A.R.T. treatment as a type of active or participatory massage. The practitioner will first shorten the muscle, tendon, or ligament, and then apply a very specific pressure with their hands as you, the patient, will actively stretch and lengthen the tissue.

As the tissue lengthens, the practitioner is able to assess the texture and tension of the muscle to determine if the tissue is healthy or contains scare tissue that needs further treatment.

When scar tissue adhesions are felt, the amount and direction of tension can be modified to treat the problematic area. In this sense, each treatment is also an assessment of the health of the area as we are able to feel specifically where the problem is occurring.

An additional benefit of A.R.T. is that it allows us to further assess and correct problems in other areas of the kinetic chain, as well as the site of the pain.

These areas are associated with movement 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 yet developed pain of their own.

What can I expect?

One of the best features of A.R.T. is how fast it can get results. From my experience, the majority of hip injuries respond very well to A.R.T. treatment, especially when combined with home stretching and strengthening exercises. Although each case is unique and there are several factors that determine the length of time required to fully resolve each condition, we usually find a significant improvement can be gained in just four to six treatments.

These results are the main reason that many elite athletes and professional sport teams have A.R.T. practitioners on staff, and why A.R.T. is an integral part of the IRONMAN Triathlon series.

Am I an A.R.T. candidate? The number of patients being treated with, and hearing about A.R.T. in the Great Lakes Bay Region is growing, and the results are exceptional. Keep in mind that this type of treatment, though utilized by some of the best athletes in the world, is not JUST for athletes; most people can benefit from A.R.T. treatments.


Dr Jeff Berard is the owner and clinical director of Midland Chiropractic. He is a licensed Doctor of Chiropractic who graduated from Northwestern Health Sciences University in 2000 and has been in private practice since. He attended undergraduate school at the University of South Florida and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Biology. Berard is currently working toward his Diploma in Sports Medicine from the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians (ACBSP).He can be reached at or (989) 341-1070.


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