Active Release Techniques

A strong and healthy body starts with healthy joints and muscles! Active Release Techniques is the best way to get it, and keep it that way!

Whether you’re a keyboard warrior, a professional athlete, or just you who want to take care of your body in the most efficient way, it’s time to give ART a try.

The method has been around for more than 30 years and has grown to 25,000 providers worldwide. In the U.S., 2/3rd of major sports clubs and teams have Active Release Techniques providers on their medical staff. Think of the NFL, NHL, NBA.  

Active Release Techniques isn’t just for athletes; hundreds of companies benefit from on-site Active Release Techniques treatments. With treatments on the work elder, the costs associated with musculoskeletal complaints are reduced by 50-80%. A huge cost saving.

Also, bestselling author Tim Ferriss recommends Active Release Techniques as one of the best ways to treat injuries.


Unique in the Netherlands

In the Benelux there are currently 3 Full body certified Active Release Techniques providers. Two of them work at Art of Physio. The rest of our therapists are working to obtain this Full body certification. This makes us the specialist in the field of Active Release Techniques throughout the Netherlands.

Pieter is even one of the European instructors and trains physiotherapists, chiropractors, osteopaths, masseurs and other practitioners in this method.

Why not more physical therapists do this? We wonder that too!!

Active Release Techniques certified provider Art of Physio
Active Release Techniques knee treatment

What can Active Release Techniques help you with?

Active Release Techniques works well with a wide variety of complaints and injuries throughout the body.

The technique focuses on the soft tissue in the body. These soft tissues are located throughout the body and can be divided into muscle, tendon, ligament, nerve and fascia.

Because this tissue is all throughout your body, every place in your body can be treated. There are about 700 different protocols within ART, each for a different structure.

Because each muscle, band or nerve can be examined and treated separately, ART is one of the best ways to solve problems in joints, muscles and nerves quickly and efficiently!

Whether you have an acute or long-term injury, chances are this technique can help you.

Why cure when you can prevent?

In addition to being great at solving injuries, Active Release Techniques also works ideally as a preventative measure. Before something starts to hurt, you can already find changes in soft tissue or mobility that you can fix before it turns into pain or injury. This way you can continue to do your thing pain and complaints free.


sportsPerformance enhancing

With our treatments, your recovery process after your training or competition is accelerated and the risk of injuries is reduced. Because everything can move easier and more freely, your sports performance is also better. We work together with a ballet school, a triathlon club, and a climbing hall. In addition, we can also be found regularly at crossfit competitions.

What is Active Release Techniques?

It’s getting a little technical now… The definition of Active Release Techniques is as follows:

‘ … a manual soft tissue diagnostic and treatment system that focuses on dissolving scar tissue and adhesions in muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and fascia. Through a combination of manual elongation and active movement;

  • Pain and stiffness in the movement system reduced
  • Mobility of muscles and joints improved
  • Neuromuscular function improved
  • Relative movement between tissues and structures facilitated and restored. ‘

What makes Active Release Techniques unique?

In particular, facilitating and restoring relative movement is what distinguishes ART from other techniques such as trigger point or traditional massage. The principle of relative motion is that in motion, tissues and structures should slide relative to each other.

I always visualize this as a telescope ladder. With a well-functioning ladder, all parts slide easily in and out of each other to reach the final height. If there is some rust on one of the gliders, you will notice that the movement becomes a bit stiffer. If that goes on for a while, it may be that that glider is completely rusted. The ladder will then not be able to reach its maximum height.

Translated to your body, the rust is the scar tissue or adhesion. If there is too much of it, movement of your joints can be limited. Because ART works with active patient movement, the layers are moved internally along each other and the relative movement is restored.

Nerve entrapments

Another thing that makes ART unique and stands out compared to other treatment systems is its ability to treat entrapped nerves. Due to the build-up of adhesions in the cumulative injury cycle (see below), nerves can become trapped and become attached to the surrounding tissues.

Throughout the body there are about 90 places where nerves can become trapped. Nerve entrapments are amazingly common, but many therapists don’t know how to treat them effectively.

I treat nerves in most of my clients! In most cases, there is an underlying nerve entrapment that is directly or indirectly related to the problem.

I like to use ART because it allows me to work quickly and specifically. There is a lot I can do in a short period of time compared to other treatment modalities and techniques I have used in the past.

It is not uncommon to have significant relief after one or 2 sessions.


In this video, the founder of Active Release Techniques, Mike Leahy, explains more about how the method works. 

Active Release Techniques knee treatment

Cumulative injury cycle

Let’s dig a little deeper into the underlying mechanics of injuries.

The cumulative injury cycle gives a nice overview of the different ways in which injuries can start.

Injuries can occur in 3 different ways.

  1. Acute injury or injury
  2. Repetitive injury
  3. Constant pressure or voltage

Acute injury

With an acute injury such as a tear, strain or blow, an inflammatory reaction occurs. (see image). As part of this inflammatory reaction, scar tissue is created. If there is more scar tissue and adhesions, you can imagine that the tension in the environment goes up.

When muscles are tight, they tend to weaken, and when a muscle is weak, it tends to be tight.

As a result of weak and tight tissues, the internal forces (friction, pressure and/or tension) inside the tissues increase.

If the internal friction, pressure and tension in the tissue increases, the circulation is reduced. Think of it like when you squeeze a sponge. This reduces the ability to suck up water from the environment.

Impaired circulation leads to something called hypoxia, a lack of oxygen in the tissue. Hypoxia causes a chemical reaction that triggers the formation of adhesions in and between tissues, and so on and so forth.

In short, a vicious circle.

Repetitive injury

Repetitive movements, and especially small repetitive movements, create a higher tension in the muscles.

Adjacent tissue such as fascia, nerves or ligaments can also be pulled tight, making the entire area tight. This is why repetitive injuries generally start small and in a specific place, but get bigger over time.

If the internal forces are high enough, acute injury and inflammation can occur even without an external force.

Constant pressure or tension

Constant pressure or tension is the third way to get into the cumulative injury cycle. We now know that increased pressure has a negative effect on blood circulation and what effects this has on the rest of the cycle.

ART breaks the cycle by focusing on the adhesions & fibrosis step. The tissue becomes looser and stronger while friction, pressure and/or tension decrease and blood circulation increases. This stimulates the self-healing properties of the human body.


What are you waiting for?

Awesome that you’ve read all the way here!

Having a strong and healthy body allows you to focus on the things that are important to you!

A strong and healthy body starts with healthy joints and muscles, and ART is the best way to keep it that way!



In this video, the founder of Active Release Techniques, Mike Leahy, explains more about how the method works. 

Please let us know if you have any questions about active Release techniques

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