How Was ART Discovered?

Medical Progress in Removing Adhesions. It has been recognized for years by medical researches and clinicians that adhesions cause pain and further damage to the shoulder. It has also been understood that REMOVING adhesions from the muscles in the shoulder will significantly help or even completely fix many shoulder problems.

However, getting rid of adhesions isn't as easy as it sounds. Imagine globs of Super Glue being injected all throughout your shoulder muscles. This is what an adhesion is like. How can we get that 'Super Glue' or adhesion out of there?

What about using surgery to CUT it out?. This actually will work, and there are surgical procedures designed for removing adhesions in various parts of the body. There is one major problem with cutting the adhesion out; the body must heal the area that was cut. And guess what the body will repair that area with? You got it, more adhesive scar-tissue. Back to square one.

Applying Principles of Tension and Friction. These are the problems that Dr. Mike Leahy began to contemplate when he began treating athletes back in the mid 1980's. Leahy realized that simply compressing or kneading scar tissue was not enough. Dr. Leahy tried something new by drawing on his engineering background and combining it with his intricate knowledge of the human anatomy. Dr. Leahy was the first to apply principles of friction and tension to individual muscles, fascia, tendons and ligaments of the human body.

Leahy began treating the adhesions with this high-TENSION muscle technique that could SHEAR away the scar tissue, effectively removing it in a way that deep pressure or massage could not. Dr. Leahy was able to consistently resolve over 90% of his patients' problems.

ART Is Born. Dr. Leahy teamed up with the UC San Diego Medical team and began perfecting and teaching his technique to health care providers, naming it Active Release Techniques, or ART for short. The results from ART were so amazing, the word started to spread to all types of athletes about his new treatments. Soon, professional athletes and teams (NBA, NHL, MLB, NFL, etc.) all over the world were seeking these treatments. Even the US Olympic teams were giving Dr. Leahy calls and asking him to perform ART on their athletes. Mike Leahy (back left) after providing ART to the US Olympic weightlifting team in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.