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What Is Active Release Technique?

Active Release Technique (ART) is a patented, state of the art soft tissue system/movement based massage technique that treats problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves. Headaches, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, shin splints, shoulder pain, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, knee problems, and tennis elbow are just a few of the many conditions that can be resolved quickly and permanently with ART. These conditions all have one important thing in common: they are often a result of overused muscles.

All muscle fibers run in one direction and are connected to a bone via tendons.  Scar tissue forms on a muscle in a cross-fiber pattern or “webbing.”  This will chronically shorten the muscle putting excessive stress on the tendons causing them to inflame.  This can also cause reduced ranges of motion, loss of strength, and pain. If a nerve is trapped you may also feel tingling, numbness, and weakness.

See figure On Right (Figure A):  Muscle fibers of the hamstring are running vertically.  On the medial hamstring there is scar tissue formation (white area in the belly of the muscle).  This may result in pain, tightness, and/or weakness.  If the sciatic nerve is entrapped in the hamstring, radiating pain or numbness down the leg may be experienced.

ART involves taking the muscle from a shortened position to the muscle’s complete lengthened position while holding down on the scar tissue.  This process breaks up the deep scar tissue formation and restores a muscle to its normal function.
If a nerve is being entrapped in the muscle, a skilled ART practitioner can locate the entrapment and free the nerve from the scar tissue.  Once a nerve is completely freed from the entrapment; the pain, tingling, and/or numbness will subside.

Why does scar tissue form?

Initially scar tissue is laid down on over used muscles and other soft tissues by the following ways:

  • Acute conditions (pulls, tears, collisions, etc
  • Accumulation of small tears (micro-trauma)
  • Not getting enough oxygen to a muscle or other soft tissue structures
  • Lack of motion (splinting, casts, braces, etc)

Once the scar tissue is laid down, the soft tissue structure becomes weaker resulting in more scar tissue formation.  It is an infinite cycle that needs to be broken!

Who can benefit from ART?

What we hear most is, “I have had this pain for a long time and no one has been able to find the cause.  You found the source of the problem right away.”

This is because no one is trained to palpate these specific conditions like an ART provider.  Seeing an ART provider is like seeing a soft tissue and nerve specialist.  Until now, no such specialist existed.

Since an ART provider is qualified to diagnose and treat over 400 structures, we see a broad range of injuries and conditions.  ART is successful for professional and amateur athletes, people injured in auto accidents or at work, and people who just work hard and hurt.  Symptoms vary from aches and pains, to burning muscles, to numbness and tingling.

  • Achilles Tendonitis
  • Ankle Injuries
  • Back Pain
  • Bursitis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Foot Pain
  • Frozen Shoulder
  • Golf Injuries
  • Golfer’s Elbow
  • Hand Injuries
  • Hip Pain
  • Iliotibial Band Syndrome
  • Knee and Leg Pain
  • Muscle Pulls/Strains
  • Neck Pain
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Running Injuries
  • Rib Pain
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries
  • Shin Splints
  • Sciatica
  • Swimmer’s Shoulder
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Sports Injuries
  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
  • Tendonitis
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Weight Lifting Injuries
  • Throwing Injuries
  • TMJ
  • Whiplash
  • Wrist Injuries

Active Release Testimonials

Dr. David Fuller performed Active Release Technique on my injured hamstring, an injury that I feared would keep me from running the Boston marathon.  I can honestly say that my experience with Dr. Fuller has been the best experience I’ve ever had with a medical provider.  The pain is gone and at the age of 47, I’m running as fast and as long as when I was 15 years younger. He is a major reason why I’m able to run Boston next month.

Brian Nolan
North Wales, PA

For 12 years, I have suffered from chronic shoulder, back and neck pain. I have been to 7 chiropractors in the last 11 years and none of them have been able to alleviate my chronic neck and shoulder pain. My general practitioner would only prescribe drugs to manage the pain, which gave unpleasant side-effects and no real relief . The next step was to keep up on a series of exercises, which I did, but did not see results. Then, I went on to try biofeedback, trigger point injections in my shoulders (a horrible experience!)as well as cortisone injections into my spine. I never got any better after any of those treatments. For years, I resolved that I would just live in pain for the rest of my life, since no one could really help me.

Someone told me about Active Release Therapy and that is how I found Dr. Dave (Fuller). After one visit with Dr. Dave, I saw immediate results. The range of movement in my neck was better when I walked out of his office that day! I knew right then that this would be the treatment for me. Within a very short time, my shoulder pain, upper back pain and neck pain was 95% better!

Now, a year later with Dr. Dave and ART, I feel “normal” again! My quality of life has improved, my overall mood is better (since I am not in pain) and I can move/ exercise without worrying. I wish I had known about Active Release Therapy 12 years ago!

Allison Wetzel
North Wales, PA



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