Active Release Technique

What is Active Release Technique?

Overused muscles can form scar tissue and loss of function to a certain parts of the body. Other musculoskeletal conditions that cause problems with muscles, tendons, nerves, and ligaments can also appear. Relief from these ailments can be found by using Active Release Technique (ART). ART is a patented massage technique where a patient moves muscles or ligaments while the practitioner presses the affected area. Doing this allows the practitioner to engage the structure as it moves beneath the pressure of their contact allowing them to treat the muscles, tendons, or ligaments.

ART is a patented treatment developed by P. Michael Leahy, DC, CCSP. When Dr. Leahy took notice of the changes in the soft tissue in his patients, he noticed that their symptoms were related to these changes and could be felt by the hand. Dr. Leahy found 90 percent success in helping resolve his patients’ problems by developing over 500 different moves and observations of how the muscles, tendons, fascia, ligaments and nerves respond to different types of movements, pressures, and techniques applied to these areas. Since there are over 500 different moves that make up the treatment procedures used in ART, each treatment is unique to each patient. Those who are athletes, both professional and recreational, patients with chronic pain from overuse, and anyone who has been unable to find relief elsewhere may benefit from ART.

Why Would I Need ART?

Overuse of muscles and other soft tissue can cause acute conditions such as muscle spasms, tears, or pulls of certain muscles. Micro-trauma (small tears to muscles) caused from repetitive motion can also cause pain and discomfort along with a lack of oxygen to an injured area. When trauma happens to healthy muscle tissue, the body produces scar tissue as a defense mechanism to the problem area. This tough, dense tissue stops healthy tissue from moving freely. Over time, more scar tissue builds up causing the muscles to become weakened and shorter. Nerves may even become trapped or tendons become inflamed causing tendonitis. Overall, any or a combination of these injuries lead to a reduced range of motion, pain, and loss of strength. If a nerve becomes trapped, numbness, tingling, and weakness might also result.

Are there Active Release Technique Therapists?

Only chiropractors, physical therapists, medical doctors, athletic trainers, or massage therapists with a license to treat soft-tissue conditions are allowed to become certified in ART. As with any therapy, confirm that the practitioner is ART certified.

The therapeutic experts at Active Bodywork offer over twenty years of experience along with over 2,000 hours of instruction in massage techniques like Active Release Technique. They specialize in assisting people looking to recover from injuries sustained from sports or workplace injuries. Injuries caused from poor posture, poor lifting habits, and repetitive motion can be reversed by the therapists at Active Bodywork.

Todd Neider, LMT, NCTMB Practitioner is an athlete himself who is constantly learning and honing his skills. Todd is a 2005 graduate from the Utah College of Massage Therapy and joined the stellar team of Justin Lau, D.C. and Edward Chu, D.C. at Active Bodywork in 2008. He is currently certified in Active Release Technique for the full body which includes upper extremities, lower extremities, and the spine. Todd uses his knowledge and certification with the Active Release Therapy to bring relief to patients who have not found success with other forms of massage therapy.

What happens during an ART Session?

During an ART session, the patient is both treated and examined simultaneously. The practitioner uses his or her hands to determine the range of movement, tightness, and texture of the muscles, tendons, fascia, nerves, and ligaments of the patient. Directed tension is precisely applied to abnormal tissues while the patient moves in specifically directed ways.

Every patient has different needs and the techniques used with each patient vary, such as neck stretch, hamstring stretch, side-lying stretch to relieve lower back pain, and the seated mid-back stretch for those who sit at a computer. Most ART patients usually see results within 3 to 6 visits.

If you live in the Sacramento, California area and have not found relief from muscle, tendon, ligament or nerve pain, call the Active Release Technique experts at Active Bodywork. They specialize in a variety of massage therapies including ART. Treatment of sports related injuries, workplace injuries, and even prenatal massage therapies are offered. Relieve stress, swelling, and joint pain by contacting Active Bodywork at (916) 621-6425 or email at to schedule your appointment.

Active Bodywork Injury & Sports Therapy offers a comprehensive range of services, all tailored to your unique needs. With our specialized therapy services, we improve physical performance of athletes by reducing inflammation, improving flexibility, and removing scar tissue. Our team of therapy specialists can help people recover from sports-related injuries, workplace injuries, poor posture, repetitive motion injuries, and many other injury types, no matter the cause. We are the premier provider of massage and neurokinetic therapy in the Sacramento area, and we stand ready to help you recover through the use of bodywork and treatment options. For people in Sacramento and surrounding communities, the experts at Active Bodywork can help you lead pain-free, active lives. Active Bodywork is proud to offer the following services:


We will remove scar tissue and improve your mobility and body function.


We will apply precise pressure and movement to help release your muscle and pain.


Applying tape to help your body function optimally.


Assessing and providing a treatment plan for your injury or pain.


We help turn on muscles that have been shut off.


Through long deep passes we will bring back your bodies alignment.


Movement with pressure will release your soft tissue and relieve pain.


We can get you ready for a sporting event. Keeping you healthy training and recovering.


Finding the right spots that are putting you in pain.


RockTape turns down the volume on pain.


Maintenance massage is the most popular type of massage in the United States.