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{What is Active Release Techniques?}

Aneta Dang / Health  / {What is Active Release Techniques?}

{What is Active Release Techniques?}

What is active release techniques (ART®)?

How can active release techniques aid in therapy and rehabilitation?

Why should I try it? 

Having been in the industry for over a decade has taught me that growing and learning is always an asset to any profession.

I discovered some clients needed a little more emphasis on deeper work but also more targeted treatments. Something that massage could just not tackle.

With this need to grow and help my clients I have started incorporating ART® into my practice as of 2 years ago.

So what is it?

You can read all about the inception of this hands on manual therapy here but for this post, I will answer some of the most common questions I get from my own clients.

So read on and hopefully you can start to better understand this form of hands on therapy and give it a try for yourself!

A typical ART® session assessing the knee.

What is the difference between a massage & ART®?

  • ART® does not require any oils or lotions
  • ART® does not require any tools, sheets or instruments
  • ART® allows the client to stay fully dressed most of the treatment, however, there may be occasions where skin contact will be necessary depending on area of treatment
  • Sessions can be performed on a table, a chair, or even the floor
  • All ART® certified providers must have soft tissue manipulation training ie. massage, physiotherapists, chiropractors, sports medicine doctors, athletic therapists, etc.
  • ART® is tissue specific and targets main areas of concern
  • ART® treats soft tissues such as muscles, ligaments, tendons, fascia and even nerve entrapment
  • ART® is ACTIVE ie. client participates in the session versus massage is a PASSIVE treatment and no engagement from client is necessary

How long are the sessions?

Treatment times may vary from therapist to therapist but I offer mine in either 30 or 15 min sessions.

Initial treatment will always be an assessment and a treatment in one, after which point a better understanding of what tissues we must target will determine extent of sessions going forward.

What can I expect from my initial treatment?

ART® is performed with the client fully dressed, unlike a conventional massage and much more of a physical therapy session.

First, the ART® provider will assess the client’s particular area of concern by touch. Much of the sessions are done with the client actively engaging the muscles, tendons or ligaments through movement.

Second, the ART® Provider will be able to feel the differences in tissue texture and apply the appropriate tension to the lesion/or site of injury.

When treating nerve impingement symptoms, these symptoms may be duplicated during the session but will often be relieved during the first or second treatment.

What should I wear to my session?

Loose, comfortable clothing is advised so the ART® provider may move the client according to each specific treatment being applied. Yoga pants, sweats and even shorts are ideal.

Is ART® covered under my benefits plan?

Fortunately for you, ART® is covered as a massage therapy session with most benefit plans as the session is provided by a Registered Massage Therapist.

However, I advise all clients to check their own personal benefits packages to ensure that they have coverage for any massage therapy services rendered. Benefits range from province to province as well as country to country.

How often should I receive treatment?

Generally speaking, ART® sessions should be administered every other day for optimum results. However, your ART® Certified Provider (yours truly) will be able to determine your best course of action and set you up with an appropriate treatment plan.


meraki [may-rah-kee] (adjective) word used to describe doing something with soul, creativity, or love — when you put “something of yourself” into what you’re doing, whatever it may be

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Aneta Dang

Aneta Dang RMT ART, Calgary AB

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