Active release technique, also known as ART, is a combination of movement and massage to treat pain in ligaments, nerves, tendons, muscles, and other connective tissue in the body, according to practitioners. Some people admit it can be painful.

“This is quite different from a massage,” says Jessica Tranchina, an Austin, Texas-based ART-certified therapist. “It’s not relaxing, in fact it hurts.” She is usually works on specific muscles rather than the whole body.

P. Michael Leahy obtained a patent for ART in 1990. Dr. Leahy is the team soft-tissue specialist for the Denver Broncos, and the head of the ART treatment team for the North American Ironman Triathlons. Dr. Leahy and his staff in Colorado Springs, Colo., train and certify ART therapists.

Though professional athletes use the technique, people who sit at a desk and suffer from neck, back and shoulder pain can benefit, says Ms. Tranchina. The idea behind ART is to identify scar tissue on and in between a patient’s muscles. Scar tissue can make muscles shorter and weaker and nerves can become compressed. ART therapists break up the scar tissue by applying pressure with their hands to lengthen the tissue.

Robert Gazso, an ART physiotherapist at Studiomix, a fitness studio in San Francisco, says other types of massage don’t allow for the proper tension on the muscles to break up scar tissue: “We are prying a muscle off of a muscle or a nerve off of a muscle by breaking up the scar tissue with our fingers,” he says.

A. Lynn Millar, a physical-therapy professor at Winston-Salem State University says ART is like deep tissue massage and myofascial release, which treat chronic pain. “It’s the same principle of breaking up scar tissue so that the muscles move more freely,” she says.

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This is a great place.  Dr. Pommerehn was so good. I had lots of problems with my shoulder, which we tried therapy on to fix.  He explained everything in detail, and finally when my shoulder did not get completely better, he sent me for an MRI, which showed a tear.  He said I would might need surgery. No one could believe that a Chiropractor was helping me so much – I really appreciated the work that he did with me, and the honesty with which he treated me. I will definitely use this place again.
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I had broken my tailbone a few years ago and recently was having more pain around it. I thought surgery may be my only option, but decided to try chiropractic care for the injury and I’m so glad I found this place! Dr. Pommerehn is amazing! He was very upfront and honest during our initial exam and thoroughly explained every part of the treatment plan. Given the extent of my I injury we weren’t sure treatment would help, but his patience and treatment paid off! After a few weeks of intense treatment (three times a week) I have been able to manage the pain of this injury. I no longer have r…
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Great service and great people.  I’ve had chronic back problems over the last 20 years and have been to a number of loop area places and Chicago Whole Health is definitely the standout.  On my first visit it was clear that their interests truly lie in resolving the issue rather than ensuring a larger number of visits (they showed me how to effectively self treat to the extent possible).  While I went there only for lower back issues, they offer a pretty expansive line of services.  I highly recommend this place to anyone.
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The doctors here are wonderful. Dr Pommerehn helped me find ways to take care of my back after it had left me immobilized and unable to go to work.
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Let me first start by saying that I was totally against any type of chiropractic care until I hurt my back earlier this year.  After some nudging from a coworker, I decided it was time to get help.  I searched for a Chiropractor in my area and the Chicago Whole Health Center came up.  I called immediately and spoke with Dr. Graham Pommerehn aka “Dr. Feel Good”!  I was truly surprised and overjoyed that I felt so much better after my first visit!  “Dr. Feel Good” worked his magic on me and did it with the best bedside manner I have ever experienced.  He is patient, gentle, funny and kind. I…
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I have had some medical issues that I have not been able to resolve for the past few years. Having tried Western medicine and holistic methods, I decided to try out acupuncture. I was not sure where to find a good acupuncturist (other than Chinatown). I really wanted someone I could communicate my problems to and who could communicate with me so that I could understand everything. Dr. Zhao was the answer to my problems. She speaks English and some Mandarin! I had told Dr. Zhao that it was my first time to acupuncture and told her my problems.  She explained everything thoroughly to me a…
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