Active Release Techniques (ART ®)

Active release techniques in massage therapy

Your body is made of many different parts that all need to move or lengthen in a certain way. Because there are so many complex structures all packed within the body, these structures (such as muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments, and nerves) sometimes get stuck together. This is unfortunate, because it can make movement much more stressful and difficult than it should be.

This ‘sticking together’ happens because of scar tissue, which can develop inside the body and cause tissues to become adhered to each other. This can cause pain, make you feel stiff and weak, shorten your muscles, cause problems for your nerves, and impede your daily activities or sports performance. Scarring mainly happens in the following situations:

  • after surgery (most surgery results in noticeable scarring)
  • during long periods of not moving (sitting at a desk, for example)
  • overuse (putting too much stress on a particular body part in a short amount of time)
  • traumatic injury (suffering from cuts, tears, or more serious injuries like breaking a bone)
Ottawa ART massage therapy

ART uses hands-on touch by the therapist through the injured area while the client moves the limb or body part being treated. The therapist starts by assessing the injured tissues to see why and how they are in trouble, and then treats them with specific touch-and-movement techniques designed specifically to ‘unstick’ the scar tissue in each area. Your ART-certified massage therapist at Body Poets will also recommend self-care and follow-up care for the affected areas.

Ottawa clients find benefit from ART for conditions as diverse as headache, general aches and pains, nerve entrapment issues such as sciatica or carpal tunnel, persistent swelling, circulatory issues such as numbness or feeling cold, various joint problems, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, and more. This is just a short list, as there are a vast number of different problems that ART can assist with.

Preparing for your session

ART is best done while you are wearing shorts and a t-shirt or sports bra, to allow you freedom of movement while giving the therapist good access to affected areas. ART at downtown Ottawa’s Body Poets Massage Therapy can be done as part of your massage therapy session as well.

All our therapists are registered massage therapists (RMTs) and all our treatments are eligible for coverage by health care plans that include massage therapy.