ART vs. Myofascial Release

Marketing Team

Active Release Techniques® (ART®) and Myofascial Release are both non-invasive manual therapies used to treat various conditions to regain muscle and joint flexibility.

What is ART?

ART treatment is a non-invasive system that treats soft-tissue and nerve dysfunction at the source. This hands-on treatment uses a combination of provider touch, depth, and tension with patient movement to pinpoint and treat the origin of the affected area.

ART treatment is quick and effective, often taking less than 30 minutes with over 80% of soft-tissue dysfunction solved in five or fewer treatment sessions.

What causes soft-tissue damage?

Soft-tissue damage to muscles, ligaments, and tendons can be caused by everyday movements, sports injuries, blunt forces, and overused muscles. Common signs of soft-tissue damage include:

  • Sprains
  • Bruises
  • Tendonitis
  • Bursitis
  • Stress injuries
  • Strains
What is myofascial release?

Myofascial Release is a technique applied through deep pressure, kneading, and stretching focused on myofascial tissues. Myofascial tissues are thin connective tissues that act as a barrier of protection for muscles and bones.

The challenge for many providers can be finding the trigger point causing the patient’s pain.

This therapy is commonly practiced by massage therapists. Although it is often used during massage, it is not relaxing and may feel uncomfortable.

What causes fascial restrictions?

Fascial restrictions are tense and tight areas in the body’s connective tissue, known as fascia. Over time with induced stress or injury, fascia can lose its flexibility and become tight. Common causes of fascial restrictions include:

  • Scar tissue
  • Repetitive motion
  • Surgery
  • Poor posture
  • Trauma
  • Disease
  • Inactivity
  • Inflammation
Trigger points

Trigger points are the sore areas within a muscle and can develop due to various reasons ranging from bad posture to aging. Other common causes include disrupted sleep, joint issues, vitamin deficiencies, mental health issues, overuse of muscles, lack of exercise, and injuries caused by falling.

What conditions can be treated?
ART Treatment

ART treatment can be used to treat a wide range of dysfunction from sports injuries to overuse caused by everyday movements. Some soft-tissue conditions ART is used to treat are:

  • Back pain
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Joint pain
  • Numbing sprains
  • Lockjaw
  • Strains
  • Foot pain
  • Migraines
  • Shoulder pain
  • Sciatica
  • Repetitive stress and overuse injuries
Myofascial release

This form of treatment will improve muscle and joint function by releasing the pain-restricted and pain-filled areas. Common conditions that are treated include:

  • Pain in the back, shoulders, and hips
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Migraines and headaches
  • TMJ
ART treatment and myofascial release

Both are highly evidence-based methods that break up scar tissue and improve muscle function. While each treats an array of soft-tissue and nerve conditions, ART treatment specializes in finding the source of the problem and treating soft-tissue conditions due to injury, and Myofascial Release is broadly a pain management resource for muscle tightness.