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Active Release Technique

Active Release Technique

Your Choice For Calgary Active Release Techniques (ART®)

Active Release Techniques (also known as ART®) is a medically patented soft tissue injury technique developed by Dr. Mike Leahy. Dr. Jay Shephard is an accredited ART Elite Provider taught by Dr. Leahy. He is also a member of the ART Elite Provider Network and has been an ART instructor for over 22 years.

With his extensive ART knowledge and skills, Dr. Jay Shephard is able to identify abnormalities in tissue texture, tension and movement. These soft tissue injuries can be caused by repetitive movement and/or acute type injuries. Scar tissue develops to surround the injured area; this can block nerves, put tension on tendons, and tighten tissues that need to move freely. When this happens, your body moves in abnormal ways to compensate and cause joint dysfunction. 

Active Release Techniques

Once the injury has been identified, then specific ART protocols are used. These non-invasive protocols combine physical manipulations and movement of the injured tissue at the site. ART soft tissue release uses precise pressure combined with active stretching. It entails identifying, isolating and targeting the affected area to break up restricting scar tissue. This break-up of scar tissue promotes greater blood flow and faster healing of the injured area. On average, treatment will take merely 15 minutes.

Who is Active Release Best Suited For?

Active Release Technique is the best treatment for injured individuals who want to get back on their feet as fast as possible. Instead of enduring countless medical visits with minimal improvement by taking on risky invasive procedures, or simply settling for enduring the pain and dysfunction with the aid of medication, ART is the best choice for rapid healing.

At Shephard Health, we treat patients ranging from high-level professional athletes, Weekend Warriors to anybody suffering from pain.

Conditions that are best treated with ART

Soft tissue injuries or nerve conditions that would benefit from ART as a first option include: 

ART is an uncommon, state-of-the-art treatment that can relieve tight muscles and trigger points with as few as just four to six treatments. Additionally, it can turn on muscles that have been turned off due to injury and eliminate muscular pain. This specific soft tissue treatment can be used on practically anyone who has suffered an injury to the musculoskeletal system.

Consequences of Leaving an Injury Untreated

Soft tissue injuries may seem mild and less concerning than visible wounds, but they can be equally dangerous if left untreated. Unfortunately, because these injuries are not as apparent as open wounds or broken bones, they are often overlooked and left alone to worsen gradually. This type of physical damage that does not involve the bones may impact structures that support the joints like ligaments, muscles or tendons. When left untreated, the body will create an increased amount of scar tissue, which can build up and block or impair its normal range of motion and function.

Untreated soft tissue injuries can change the way you move, forcing other tissue and bones to pick up the slack to compensate for a reduced range of motion or weakness. This compensation will affect proper and efficient joint and limb use, and the altered biomechanics can lead to wear and tear that can ultimately become tissue degeneration.

What Is The Solution?

Active Release Technique provides over 500 soft tissue treatment protocols. Dr. Jayson Shephard and his team will specifically select the exact protocols to treat your unique injury to help restore proper function, increase mobility, and reduce pain. These protocols allow tissues to become more flexible and stronger. They can also provide a return to healthy blood flow so that efficient tissue repair is faster.

During your visit to Shephard Health, you will consult with Dr. Shephard and his team. They will perform a complete health history and examination of the injury in question. They will develop a specific and unique treatment plan to obtain the best and fastest possible results. In addition, Dr. Shepherd will provide you with possible rehabilitation exercises, diet recommendations and at-home practices for you to supplement your care.

The initial phase of care will typically consist of 4-6  treatments. On the last treatment of the initial phase, a reassessment will be performed, where a significant reduction of injury symptoms is typically experienced at this time.

The goal of Active Release Technique soft tissue therapy is to fully restore normal function and mobility of the injured area as fast as possible. The faster the recovery, the sooner you can Live, Work and Play, Painfree.

Frequently Asked Questions

The first difference is that ART utilizes active motion instead of applied pressure without motions, such as in massage therapy. This motion of the injured tissue involves shortening to lengthening while Dr. Shephard applies tension to break down scar tissue.

Comfortable touch is one of the qualifiers of a highly trained ART Certified Provider. Dr. Shephard has this acquired skill. He can effectively locate each of the 450 structures that can be treated and palpated to determine if the tissue is healthy or injured. The differences between the ART System provided by Dr. Shephard and massage therapy or physiotherapy are that:

  1. ART will determine the actual root issue instead of focusing solely on the location of the pain
  2. ART can deliver effective treatment to the pinpointed structure and origin of pain, resulting in faster, better outcomes. The faster the recovery, the sooner you can Live, Work and Play, Painfree.

A proper ART treatment should not be painful.  It is non-invasive, so there are no known short or long-term side effects when appropriately delivered by an ART Certified Provider.

Following a treatment session, your tissue may feel like the muscle aches following intense training. The most common reaction post-treatment is a sensation of relief or instant release. Patients have often commented, “Wow, I can’t believe how good I feel after just one treatment!”

Be sure that your ART Provider is certified for the type of injury or disorder for which you are seeking treatment. For example, a provider certified only in ART Lower Extremity Level 1 is probably not your best choice for a shoulder issue.

Professionals who are not credentialed to provide ART treatments may inadvertently cause muscle and nerve damage by applying incorrect pressure to incorrect anatomical structures, therefore causing undue and damaging pain. If it hurts, it is being performed incorrectly.

This coverage depends on your medical insurance plan, but most plans cover services that describe or approximate ART treatment. 


Whatever your question may be, whenever you may have it, simply fill out the form below (as best as possible) and we will return your enquiry as soon as we can during regular business hours.

Please do not use this form to cancel or change an existing appointment!

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