Does Active Release Therapy Really Work?

Does Active Release Therapy Really Work?

A number of studies have shown that active release therapy can be effective in treating a variety of conditions including carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, and shin splints. While the exact mechanism by which active release therapy works is not fully understood, it is believed that the technique helps to break up adhesions between muscles and connective tissue, allowing for greater range of motion and reduced pain. Additionally, active release therapy may help to improve circulation and reduce inflammation.

Adhesions are bands of scar tissue that form between muscles and connective tissue. Scar tissue formation can occur after consistent repetitive motions (like from typing or playing tennis), trauma (such as a car accident), or even surgery. This scar tissue can attach to muscles, tendons, or ligaments and cause them to bind together. This limits the range of motion of those muscles, tendons, or ligaments and can lead to pain.

Active release therapy is a type of manual therapy that uses gentle pressure and active movement to reduce the tightness and pain associated with adhesions in the muscles and connective tissue. The therapist will use their hands to apply gentle pressure and stretch the affected area. This helps to loosen these adhesions, which can lead to improved range of motion and reduced pain.

ART is known to be beneficial for treating a number of different conditions, including:

– Carpal tunnel syndrome

– Tennis elbow

– Shin splints


Back pain

Shoulder pain

If you’re dealing with any of these issues, active release therapy may be something worth considering. Be sure to consult with a qualified healthcare provider to see if this type of treatment is right for you.

What is Soft Tissue Release courtesy of Affinity Family Wellness. (Read Caption)

What is the difference between active release technique and massage therapy?

There are some key differences between these two modalities.

Active release technique is a type of manual therapy that uses gentle pressure and active movement to reduce adhesion pain in the muscles and connective tissue. Massage therapy, on the other hand, generally uses static pressure and passive movement to release tension in the muscles.

So, which one is better? It really depends on your individual needs and preferences. If you’re dealing with pain or dysfunction caused by adhesions, active release technique may be a good option for you. However, if you’re simply looking for a way to relax and release tension, massage therapy may be a better choice.

Massage Technique courtesy of Bolton Physiotherapy Clinic. (Read caption)

Active release therapy near me

Be sure to consult with a qualified healthcare provider to see if active release technique or massage therapy is right for you. You can use the search box on this page to find a qualified Chiropractor near you that will be able to tell you.


This appointment is your opportunity to tell us what hurts and discover whether physiotherapy or chiropractic care is a good fit for you! During this session, you will talk with a physiotherapist or chiropractor on a phone call (or online) and create the right care plan specifically for your pain. There is no obligation on this session is to find out whether physiotherapy or chiropractic care can help you getting back to doing the things you love in life.

Frequently Asked Questions

Active release technique is not generally painful. However, some people may experience mild discomfort during the treatment. This is usually due to the release of adhesions or trigger points.

If you’re concerned about pain, be sure to discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider before beginning active release therapy.

Active release technique is generally safe and well-tolerated. However, as with any treatment, there is always a risk of side effects. The most common side effects include:

– Pain or discomfort at the site of treatment

– Bruising or swelling

– Nausea or vomiting

– Dizziness or lightheadedness

Yes, muscle knots are often caused by adhesions.

About Taylor Sipos

Taylor is a physiotherapist at The Orthopaedic Therapy Clinic located in Toronto, Ontario. He treats patients with various musculoskeletal conditions using patient education, exercise therapy, manual therapy and acupuncture. His treatment philosophy involves giving his patient’s the means to self-manage their injuries. He does this through reassurance, education and health promotion. Taylor uses the same principles as a patient educator at Pain Hero. He aims to provide you with high-quality, easy to understand information to teach you about your condition and how to improve it.

Medical Disclaimer:

The information presented in this blog post is for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, treatment or a diagnosis, consult with a medical professional such as one suggested on this website. The Clinic Accelerator Inc. and the author of this page are not liable for the associated risks of using or acting upon the information contained in this article.

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