Active Release Techniques® (ART) is a patented soft tissue management system that treats problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves.

ART® is effective in the treatment of soft tissue injuries, adhesions, scar tissue, headaches, back pain, and a variety of overuse conditions. Overuse of soft tissues through repetitive motion or athletics can cause your body to produce dense adhesions that bind up and tie down tissues that need to move freely. This can cause reduced range of motion, loss of strength, pain, even numbness and weakness.

ART® can be a good choice for athletes, musicians, and anyone who uses repetitive motion that results in overuse injury. Overuse injuries can be detected by hand examination. Doctors can feel the problem areas and will treat with precisely directed tension and patient movements. ART® can be effective in relieving pain and restoring range of motion.

I.A.S.T.M. is performed with patented instruments made from a ceramic polymer material that detect and treat muscle and fascia restrictions, encourage rapid localization and effectively treat areas exhibiting soft tissue fibrosis, chronic inflammation, or tissue degeneration. This advanced form of soft tissue management initiates controlled micro-trauma and a local inflammatory response, triggering reabsorption of inappropriate fibrosis or excessive scar tissue and facilitates a cascade of healing activities resulting in structural remodeling of affected soft tissue structures. Adhesions within the soft tissue, which may have developed as a result of surgery, immobilization, acute trauma, cumulative trauma disorder, or chronic inflammation (arthritis), are broken down, allowing full functional restoration to occur.

Conditions treated: (by both techniques)

Carpal Tunnel

The diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome is only accurate when the median nerve is compressed or trapped in the tunnel formed by the wrist bones (carpal tunnel). True carpal tunnel syndrome will only produce symptoms in the first three fingers and the outside half of the ring finger- not ever in the pinky or inside half of the ring finger. If your whole hand goes numb you either don’t have carpal tunnel syndrome or you have more than just carpal tunnel syndrome. There are several places where the median nerve can be trapped; all of these sites must be checked to determine if a median nerve problem exists. The problem is lots of people come to our office who have been told they have carpal tunnel syndrome when, in fact, they have an entirely different peripheral nerve entrapment problem.

Muscle Pulls / Strain / Tears

Muscle injuries fall into different categories. Broadly speaking, acute injuries are the result of a tear or crush injury. If excessive stretch (pull) or contraction loads are placed on a muscle it will tear. If a hard blow is delivered to a muscle it can crush. These injuries are graded by the percent of total tissue damaged, with one percent being a very mild tear and one hundred percent being a full thickness tear requiring surgery. Treatment of muscle strains involves rest, ice, and compression. If the tear does not heal properly, excessive scar tissue can form and cause long standing problems.

Nerve Entrapments

Nerves are the body’s “wires” for receiving and sending information. They exist in all parts of the body. Some, like the sciatic nerve, are the size of your index finger while others, like the median nerve in the arm, are about the size of spaghetti. Nerves travel through and around muscles. If excessive loads are placed on these areas scar tissue can develop, gluing the nerve to the muscle. This prevents the nerve from sliding properly and results in burning, numbness, tingling, aching etc. There are 85 common locations for nerve entrapment throughout the body.


Tendinitis is an inflammatory condition involving a tendon, the structure that attaches muscle to bone. Although many overuse injuries are diagnosed as tendinitis, this condition is rare. When a tendon is acutely overloaded or overused, it is damaged and an inflammatory process ensues. True tendinitis usually resolves fully and quickly with little residual problem.


What is diagnosed as tendinitis is often more accurately termed tendinosis. Tendinosis is degeneration of a tendon that occurs in the absence of inflammation. The degeneration results from an area of increased tension and compromised blood supply. Picture a tendon as being a brand new, shiny, white rope. Picture a degenerated tendon as being a gray, frayed, weak rope. The degenerated portion of the tendon is weaker and tolerates use poorly. It is important to note that tendinosis is common and tendinitis is rare. Treatment strategies are no longer anti-inflammatory but instead are regenerative in nature. Anti-inflammatory strategies include medication, rest, ice and electric stimulation. Regenerative strategies include restoring blood flow, reducing tension and improving biomechanics.

Interested to learn more?

Schedule a Consultation with Dr. Gridley to learn more about Active Release Techniques (ART) techniques.

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