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Sheddon Physiotherapy and Sports Clinic Oakville & Burlington

Sheddon Physiotherapy and Sports Clinic Oakville & Burlington

Active Release Technique

Active Release Therapy (ART) in Oakville and Burlington

What is Active Release Therapy?

Active Release Therapy (ART) is a specialized hands-on treatment designed to address soft tissue injuries and alleviate musculoskeletal discomfort. In ART, therapists (like our physiotherapists from Oakville and Burlington clinics) use manual techniques to identify and target areas of tightness, adhesions, or restrictions in muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia. By applying precise pressure and movement, ART aims to break down scar tissue, release tension, and improve the flexibility and function of the affected tissues. This non-invasive approach is commonly used to treat conditions such as muscle strains, overuse injuries, and repetitive stress injuries. ART is used to enhance the range of motion, reduce pain, and speed up the recovery process for individuals with various musculoskeletal concerns.

What are the Benefits of Active Release Therapy

Improved Flexibility:

ART targets and releases tightness in muscles and soft tissues, promoting increased flexibility and range of motion.

Pin Reduction:

By addressing adhesions and restrictions, ART helps alleviate musculoskeletal pain, providing relief from conditions such as muscle strains and overuse injuries.

Enhanced Performance:

Athletes often turn to ART to optimize their performance by preventing and treating soft tissue injuries, allowing for more efficient movement.

Faster Recovery:

ART accelerates the healing process by breaking down scar tissue and promoting better blood circulation to the affected areas, leading to quicker recovery from injuries.

Restored Function:

This therapy aims to restore proper movement patterns and function by addressing specific areas of tension and dysfunction in the soft tissues.

Versatile Application:

ART can be applied to various conditions, including repetitive stress injuries, strains, sprains, and conditions resulting from poor posture or overuse.

Customized Treatment:

ART sessions are tailored to the individual’s specific needs, allowing for a personalized and targeted approach to address unique musculoskeletal concerns.

Complementary to Other Therapies:

ART can be seamlessly integrated into comprehensive treatment plans, complementing other therapeutic modalities such as physiotherapy, chiropractic care, and exercise programs for a holistic approach to wellness.

Which Injuries can Benefit From Active Release Therapy?

Muscle Strains:

ART is effective in treating acute and chronic muscle strains by releasing tension and promoting healing.


It can be beneficial for individuals with tendinitis, helping to reduce inflammation and improve flexibility in affected tendons.

Overuse Injuries:

ART is commonly used to address overuse injuries, such as those resulting from repetitive movements or prolonged stress on specific muscle groups.

Scar Tissue Formation:

ART techniques target and break down scar tissue, promoting better tissue healing and reducing restrictions caused by scarring.

Postural Issues:

Individuals with musculoskeletal issues related to poor posture can find relief through ART, which aims to restore proper movement patterns.

Neck and Back Pain:

ART is effective in addressing tightness and restrictions in the muscles and soft tissues of the neck and back, providing relief from pain.

Sports Injuries:

Athletes often use ART to address and prevent injuries related to their specific sports, including strains, sprains, and overuse injuries.

Plantar Fasciitis:

ART can be beneficial for individuals with plantar fasciitis by addressing soft tissue restrictions in the foot and calf muscles.


Soft tissue dysfunction contributing to sciatic nerve compression can be addressed through ART, potentially providing relief from sciatica symptoms.

IT Band Syndrome:

Individuals experiencing tightness and pain along the iliotibial (IT) band can benefit from ART to release tension and improve mobility.

It’s important to note that individual responses to ART can vary, and a thorough assessment by a therapist is essential for determining the suitability of this therapy for specific injuries or conditions.

What does Active Release Therapy Feel Like?

The sensation experienced during ART can vary from person to person, and it often depends on the specific area being treated and the individual’s tolerance. However, here are some general sensations that individuals might feel during ART:

Pressure: During ART, the therapist uses their hands to apply pressure to specific areas of the body. This pressure is typically firm but should not cause excessive discomfort.

Stretching Sensation: As the therapist manipulates soft tissues, individuals may feel a stretching sensation in the targeted muscles or tendons. This is often described as a deep but controlled stretch.

Mild Discomfort: Some individuals may experience mild discomfort, particularly if there are areas of tension or adhesions in the soft tissues. However, the discomfort should be within a tolerable range.

Relief: Many people report a sense of relief during or after ART sessions. As the therapist addresses tightness and restrictions, individuals may feel increased mobility and a reduction in pain.

Release of Tension: As the therapist successfully addresses adhesions or scar tissue, individuals may feel a release of tension and improved flexibility in the targeted muscles.

It’s important to communicate openly with your therapist. If the pressure is too intense or if there is discomfort beyond what is tolerable, individuals should inform the therapist to ensure a comfortable and effective treatment. Additionally, post-treatment, it’s common to experience temporary soreness, similar to what might be felt after a workout, but this should subside within a day or two.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is ART painful?

  • While some discomfort may be experienced during treatment, it is generally well-tolerated. Therapists work closely with patients to ensure a balance between effective treatment and comfort.

How many sessions are typically needed for results?

  • The number of sessions varies based on the individual’s condition. Many people experience positive results within a few sessions, but the treatment plan is personalized to meet the specific needs and goals of each patient.

Are there any side effects of ART?

  • Side effects are generally minimal and may include temporary soreness or mild discomfort.

Can ART be combined with other treatments?

  • Yes, ART is usually part of a comprehensive treatment plan including education, exercise and modalities.

We are located only 6 min East of Oakville Place and 4 min from Oakville & Milton Humane Society.

The Burlington physio clinic is located only 6 min north-west of Joseph Brant Hospital and 2 min south-west of Mapleview Shopping Centre, on Plains Rd East.

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