What’s the difference between PT and ART?

Since we practice a lot of Active Release Technique (ART) in our facility, with many of our manual therapy providers and acupuncturists being trained in the technique, we often field the question “what is the difference between ART and PT?”



Physical Therapy or Active Release Technique?


Any physical therapist could become trained in ART, but many physical therapists have a more generalized approach to manual therapy. Physical therapy encompasses a wide range of treatment modalities, styles, and practice. Physical therapists may utilize exercise, stretches, joint mobilizations and traction, specific soft tissue techniques, instrument-assisted soft tissue techniques, stim, ice, and other passive modalities and machines.

ART providers utilize their hands to complete very certain protocols. There are several hundred protocols that have been developed over the past 3+ decades by Dr. Michael Leahy. Dr. Leahy is a chiropractor by trade with an engineering background. He uses this background in physics and engineering to work with the principles of overload on tissue, and observe how tissue can become altered, damaged, or adapt poorly in a compensatory fashion to improper stress, overuse, and high amounts of force.




What are the benefits of ART?


Active Release Technique is a great method and is one of the best techniques to effectively treat and normalize tissue after injury, whether that be chronic or acute. There are protocols for treating fascia, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joint capsules, and bony landmarks where tissue attaches. Most ART providers understand how to observe the mechanical dysfunctions that may be arising in one’s body, and are skilled in resolving those mechanics. Active Release Technique is one type of manual therapy that can produce very quick and long-lasting results. We utilize many techniques and disciplines, as well as manual therapy techniques, in our facility and ART is only one.

However, ART is widely appreciated in the elite sports and professional athlete communities because it achieves fast results and is practiced by many of the top sports medicine professionals in North America. You are very likely to find an ART provider on the staff of every major sports franchise in the United States.



What should you expect from ART?


Many of our ART providers also utilize their knowledge and expertise in biomechanics to do corrective exercises or isometric/strengthening exercises with their athletes and clients. This integration supports the manual therapy and the tissue changes that our clients and athletes are undergoing.

You will likely experience some soreness after receiving ART because it is so specific and targeted, but you will generally see a near-immediate improvement in your symptoms, or definite improvement within 2-3 visits. Active Release Technique, and manual therapies in general, can have a great impact on client and athlete improvement, as well as improving people’s performances or ability to do things more easily than they could before.

It is not the only way to approach problems and is not for everyone. Most people must also undertake the right exercise, training, and strengthening long-term if they want to get the best results. We also coordinate and overlap the services of our training, strength and conditioning, and corrective exercise department with our manual therapists to give you the best results and help you reach your goals in the long-term.

To book an ART appointment with one of our providers, click here to book an appointment on Mindbody.
Want to learn more about the origins of ART? Click here



Are you new here? Click here to read more about Kinetik or click here to read more about Jonathan.


Jonathan Pierce

Please note, as of April 28th, 2022, we have MOVED! Our new location is just two blocks from the previous office, at 7440 Ronson Road. Get Directions