Active Release Techniques

At Chicago Spine and Sports Dr. Krefman is full body certified in Active Release Techniques and Dr. Donahue is lower body certified.

What is Active Release Techniques (ART)?

Active Release Therapy, also known as ART®, is a patented, soft tissue system and movement based manual therapy technique that treats problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and nerves that are due to overuse injuries.

The overused tissue is often tightened and weak. ART® addresses the tightness by shortening the tissue, then applying a contact tension, and then lengthen the tissue. This makes it slide relative to the adjacent tissue. This allows the soft tissue to move more freely.

Dr. Krefman is our ART® specialist at Chicago Spine and Sports. He is full body certified in Active Release Techniques.

What conditions are treated with ART?

ART can be used to treat issues with any soft tissue, including muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and nerves. Some conditions frequently treated with this technique include:

  • Back pain

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

  • Headaches

  • Knee problems

  • Plantar fasciitis

  • Sciatica

  • Shin splints

  • Shoulder pain

  • Tennis elbow

What happens during an ART treatment?

Every ART® session is actually a combination of examination and treatment. The ART provider uses their hands to evaluate the texture, tightness, and movement of muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and nerves. Abnormal tissues are treated by combining precisely directed tension with very specific patient movements.

These treatment protocols - over 500 specific moves - are unique to ART®. They allow providers to identify and correct the specific problems that are affecting each individual patient. ART® is not a cookie-cutter approach.

What is the history of Active Release Techniques?

ART® has been developed, refined, and patented by P. Michael Leahy, DC, CCSP. Dr. Leahy noticed that his patients' symptoms seemed to be related to changes in their soft tissue that could be felt by hand. By observing how muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments, and nerves responded to different types of work, Dr. Leahy was able to consistently resolve over 90% of his patients' problems. He now teaches and certifies health care providers all over the world to use ART®.

For more information on Active Release Techniques, visit