What is Active Release Technique?

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What is Active Release Technique?

|By Dr. Marco De Ciantis|

Active Release Technique (ART®) is described as a “hands-on”, case-management system that is used by many conservative care practitioners (chiropractors, physiotherapists, and message therapists) that treats problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves. Headaches, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, shin splints, shoulder pain, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, knee problems, and tennis elbow are just a few of the many conditions that can be resolved quickly and permanently with ART®.

With a thorough understanding of anatomical structures, chiropractors can utilize this technique to diagnose and treat soft-tissue injuries.  Knowing that the body has traversing tissues located at oblique angles to one another, areas of tissue overlap are prone to changes with trauma producing local swelling, fibrosis and adhesions.  This can result in pain and tenderness at the location of injury. As scar tissue builds up, muscles become shorter and weaker, tension on tendons causes tendonitis, and nerves can become trapped. This can cause reduced range of motion, loss of strength, and pain. If a nerve is trapped you may also feel tingling, numbness, and weakness.


During ART® therapy the practitioner applies digital tension along the tissue fibres at tender areas of adhesion. The patient is then instructed to actively move the tissue fibres of the injury site from a shortened to a lengthened position with the goal of breaking down fibrous adhesions that have result between different tissues levels.  These treatment protocols – over 500 specific moves – are unique to ART. They allow providers to identify and correct the specific problems that are affecting each individual patient.



Howitt S, Jung S, Hammonds N. Conservative treatment of a tibialis posterior strain in a novice tri-athlete: a case report. JCCA. 2009; 53(1): 23–31.

Leahy M. Active Release Techniques® Soft Tissue Management Systems for the Lower Extremity. 2007; pp. 188–189.

Leahy P. Active Release Technique®, soft tissue management system for the lower extremity. Champion Health Activity. 2008


Dr. Marco De Ciantis

Dr. De Ciantis is a Chiropractor dedicated to providing advanced and clinically proven therapeutics techniques to shorten injury time and enhance healing. Beginning his career at the University of Toronto, studying Human Biology, he developed a keen interest in research and manual therapies. As such, his research pursuits have been on musculoskeletal conditions and sports rehabilitation, focusing on developing sustainable rehabilitative programs. To date he has conducted original research, being published in various scientific peer-reviewed journals.

Dr. De Ciantis is currently working with The Toronto Titans football, amateur soccer and men’s rugby teams. Moreover, he has also provided care to youth and adult martial arts athletes during various provincial and national competitions.

Dedicated to providing his community the most advanced therapies, his model of care includes chiropractic manipulations, mobilizations, advanced soft tissue therapies, Graston, Shockwave, Magnetic Bio-Stimulation (MBS) and active rehabilitation programs.

Dr. De Ciantis currently practices at Sports Specialist Rehab Centre (SSRC) located at 300 York Mills Avenue at the corner of Bayview & York Mills Road, Suite 205, Toronto, Ontario, M2L 2Y5. www.sportdoc.biz;  Tel: (416) 385-0110

By |December 30th, 2012|Archives, Articles, Features|

About the Author:

Strong Athlete was founded in 2011 by Strength & Conditioning Experts PK Mills and Gaétan Boutin. With over 40+ years of combined experience in sports nutrition, athletics, and fitness, the Strong Athlete team is dedicated to helping athletes achieve their maximum potential through a holistic approach to training, nutrition, and mindset.

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