Active Release Techniques treats pain and injuries. Active Release therapy effectively treats injured muscles, ligament, fascia, tendons, and nerves.  ART treatment is different from typical massage because it uses specific tension and depth.  When applied to the muscle and combined with precise movement therapists can break up scar tissue to restore function. There are hundreds of protocols for treating every muscle, tendon, ligament, fascia, and nerve in the body. This patented soft tissue therapy is recommended by athletes and medical professionals alike.

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ART treats the whole structure of a functional chain. That means muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves or fascia are all being addressed at the same time! It is the active motion, directed pressure, and specificity of treatment  that allows the doctor to break up adhesions. An adhesion is a mesh of tissue that develops  from a small tear in the muscle, tendon or ligament as the body attempts to heal itself. It can also be referred to as scar tissue. Sometimes this adaptation causes an adhesion or sticking between various structures- resulting in dysfunction.  An adhesion can develop 3 ways:

  1. Acute trauma (pulls, tears, collisions)
  2. Micro-trauma or Overuse (repetitive motion injury)
  3. Constant pressure or tension for prolonged periods of time (ie. poor posture)


Soft tissue conditions often do not show up in x-rays and many times are missed by MRI’s that seek actual materail breaks and not so much maladaptations. When soft tissue has been injured, or even tight for any length of time, it forms scar tissue. While necessary for healing, scar tissue may stick to nearby structures inhibiting range of motion and may cause compression over nerves or blood vessels. Active Release Technique (ART) soft tissue management system is so unique that it has been granted a medical patent.

An ART provider is trained to palpate and treat more than 300 muscular and facial injuries and 100 nerve entrapments, which often cause numbness and tingling.   After four to six visits we should see a significant improvement in most conditions. We provide specific corrective exercises and stretches  to To correct movement patterns  and postural imbalances. Then we develop strength and flexibility. This will aid in recovery and keep the problem from recurring. Adhesions start by shortening the muscle which decreases the function of that muscle. This muscle will now get limited blood flow. In fact, if the adhesion is placing stress on a nerve, it can cause pain, weakness, and even numbness.

Tissue Changes Over Time:

  • Inflammation (24 – 72 hours)
  • Stringy muscles lesions (2 days – 2 weeks)
  • Lumpy tissue, palpable adhesions (2 weeks – 3 months)
  • Leathery tissue changes slowly and is more chronic (3 months or more)

Active Release Technique (ART) helps with virtually any injury:

  • Shin Splints
  • Piriformis Syndrome
  • Iliotibial Band (IT Band) dysfunction
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS)
  • TMJ Pain
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Adhesive Capsulitis (Frozen Shoulder)


Michael Woodworth is one of the very few medical providers licensed and certified to combine ART with modalities such as orthopedic dry needling for even faster and better results. The combination of needling allows us to treat tissues that cannot be reached by hand. Combined needling with moxa or electro-stimulation aids in circulation and the retraining of muscles. It is this rare combination of therapies that has helped so many people who could not find resolution by ART alone. Electro-Acupuncture Medicine is arguably the best means to modulate inflamed and irritated nerve structures while quickly addressing trophic changes in soft tissue with ART.