Active Release Technique

Active Release Technique (A.R.T.) is a specific form of soft tissue therapy that is a great addition to current treatment for many people. Our Doctors have almost 20 years of combined experience with A.R.T. Dr. Fix was full body A.R.T certified for the first time in 2007, Dr. Spellman in 2009. Both have been practicing in Edmonton since graduation from Western States Chiropractic College in Oregon; Dr. Fix and DrActive Release, Myofascial Release, Soft tissue injury. Spellman no longer maintain active certification in A.R.T. All Chiropractors at Redefined Health use soft tissue therapy similar to A.R.T. in combination with other treatment tools depending on individual patient presentation, needs, and preference. Minimally, injured tissues need to become strong and move smoothly, which is the same thing we work towards with uninjured clients looking to complement training, recovery, and performance. Practitioner experience and a great support team both in and out of the office help to set Redefined Health apart. We love our clinic environment and hope you will too.


Downtown Edmonton Chiropractic Clinic
Male & Female Chiropractors for Oliver, Glenora, West Edmonton & Downtown
780-760-1550
Redefined Health – complete health & wellness services
10118 124 St. Edmonton
*just off Jasper Avenue on 124 St – free parking

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Combining A.R.T. with other tools lets soft tissue therapy do what it does best, which is not fixing everything but restoring specific tissue motion. Combining soft tissue techniques with other chiropractic treatment options like exercise, manipulation or other adjunct therapies is our practical approach to evidence-based medicine. A.R.T. has the potential to be more aggressive than some other soft tissue therapies and is typically better at single spots vs whole body. It is excellent at restoring motion to chronically tight tissue as the result of Repetitive Strain Injuries, overuse injuries and old injuries. Training, desk jobs, and life stress can all overload the body and cause scar tissue to form in attempts to strengthen and support the overused area. Like many different conditions, these types of issues often start without any symptoms initially. Scar tissue is not as flexible or strong as healthy tissue and MOVEMENT is what restores proper tissue quality and mobility as your body is forced to remodel the scar tissue.

A.R.T. is used both to find and treat areas of restricted motion and abnormal tissue quality. Practitioners will often be both feeling for restrictions and addressing them at the same time. Typically A.R.T. involves moving the soft tissue (muscle, tendon, ligaments, fascia) through a range of movement with a specific tissue contact by the Doctor’s hands to force movement at that location. This is the difference between global mobility which you can work on yourself with things like stretching, yoga and foam rolling, and specific tissue mobility, which is often difficult to reproduce with self-care.

One area I find particularly useful vs. other forms of soft tissue care is relative tissue motion. Muscles need to be healthy and moving individually, but also need to be able to glide and slide past one another. There are many good options to get muscles to loosen up. Acupuncture or IMS use needles and are typically very good at quickly changing muscle tone, massage therapy is another good option and there are self-care options like foam rolling. None of these options attempt to address 2 layers of tissue stuck together. With movement, Active Release can pin one tissue and allow another to move, helping to restore relative motion. 

What about Athletes in training or uninjured people?

We see many uninjured people and our goals are really the same. To get as close as possible to ideal motion both globally and segmentally. It is really just a different point along the injury spectrum that we are addressing problems. Before things hurt or a major blow up happens. Most athletes are experiencing some repetitive strain during sport or training and this is often compounded if they are occupational athletes like nurses or firefighters or if they are athletes with other full-time jobs which is very common. Even marginally increased movement is better than not moving and likely helps both to prevent injury, improve performance, and help you feel better than just not in pain. 

Will Active Release Help me?

Active Release Techniques help to restore soft tissue mobility. This is important for tissue and global health. It is not a solution for everything. It will not, for example, make you stronger or replace active rehabilitation and strength work.

Does it Hurt?

While it is common to experience some discomfort during treatment, most people describe it as a good hurt. It is not a requirement to be effective, more of a necessary side effect in some cases. This can obviously be tailored to individual goals, timelines, and tolerance.

How long will it take to see results?

Most of the time, I would expect some change immediately, or after a few visits at least. Some improved motion should be immediate, but healing takes time. If goals include having healthy tissue (vs. simply pain management) or recovering from an injury, a minimum of 4-6 weeks is expected based on soft tissue healing time, which can easily extend to 12 weeks for many soft tissue and joint complex injuries. Tissue remodeling likely occurs for at least a year during which you want to support the tissue with strength and mobility work either self-directed or with continued professional support again depending on goals and preferences.

If the only goal is pain management, A.R.T. may not be the best option. Analgesics may be more cost effective and easier. Our goal would be to restore health to the tissues, a side effect of which would be feeling better. This normally takes more work and may be more difficult but provides a better long-term outcome. 


Downtown Edmonton Chiropractic Clinic
Male & Female Chiropractors for Oliver, Glenora, West Edmonton & Downtown
780-760-1550
Redefined Health – complete health & wellness services
10118 124 St. Edmonton
*just off Jasper Avenue on 124 St – free parking

request_online