Active Release Techniques

What Is ART?


Active Release Techniques® (ART) is a highly specific soft-tissue technique that treats problems associated with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves.  The technique was developed, refined and patented by Dr. P. Michael Leahy, DC, CCSP, to heal soft-tissue injuries that were not responding to traditional treatment. By drawing upon his background in aeronautical engineering and anatomy, and then observing how muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and nerves responded to different applied-pressure techniques, Dr. Leahy was able to resolve more than 90% of his patients’ problems through ART. He now teaches and certifies health care providers in ART all over the world. There are over 14,000 ART providers in the world.

Dr. Kym utilizing ART at Ironman World Championships Kailua-Kona, HI

Dr. Kym utilizing ART at Ironman World Championships Kailua-Kona, HI


How Does ART Work?

ART is a precise myofascial therapy used to treat a variety of injuries or problems associated with the build-up of damaged tissue from injury or overuse. The body’s response to injury is to produce tough, dense tissue which causes the associated structures to shorten, weaken and become painful. These adhesions, contractures or scar tissue can also entrap nerves causing tingling, numbness, loss of strength and reduced range of motion. ART helps restore optimal texture, motion and function to the soft tissue, and releases entrapped nerves or blood vessels to alleviate pain while restoring blood flow and range of motion. ART helps you feel and perform your best!

As a Master’s Certified ART provider who has received one-on-one training with Dr. Leahy, Dr. Kym is the only ART provider in northern Arizona who specializes in treating the whole body with ART.  Dr. Kym leverages her extensive training and expertise in more than 800 unique ART movements to treat a variety of soft-tissue injuries, like plantar fasciitis and carpal tunnel, to help restore her patients’ quality of life.  “Most people don’t think they can get a lot out of one treatment,” says Dr. Kym, “but then they come in to see me, and after first treatment, they are totally pain free.  It’s not unusual for me to get high-fives and hugs from people crying tears of happiness on their way out the door.”

 Who Does ART Help?

ART is a highly effective technique for treating performance athletes and people with active lifestyles.  It is also equally as effective in treating soft-tissue injuries sustained at work or throughout the course of everyday life.  Dr. Kym sees a variety of patients at her Flagstaff office, from professional athletes in training for some of the world’s most elite racing events, to parents with young children whose nagging, painful injuries make it difficult to enjoy an active lifestyle.  While Dr. Kym works with a diverse clientele, her patients are typically united by the common thread of proactivity.

“My clients are people who listen to their bodies and seek help before the problem gets out of hand,” says Dr. Kym.  “I work with people who want to get out and enjoy life, and who are seeking care because they can’t do what makes them happy. I’ve helped everyone from a mom who fell on her tailbone and was in chronic pain, to someone who finished their first Ironman after I healed an issue with their IT bandMy patients come to see me for different reasons and to achieve different goals, but they are all motivated by their desire to live life on their own terms – not the terms their injuries dictate.”

What Can I Expect From My ART Treatment?

Dr. Kym meets with each new patient for an hour-long evaluation to determine the best course of action for healing.  Then, drawing upon her years of experience, Dr. Kym designs a customized treatment plan to get your body back to working at peak performance.

During each session, Dr. Kym leverages her expertise in ART to apply pressure to the body through specific, targeted movements that relieve tension, stress and pain in the affected areas.

When patients are in acute pain, Dr. Kym determines the cause of the pain and then works to repair the resulting damage to muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and nerves.  In addition to ART, this phase includes movement analysis to get to the root of what caused the injury in the first place, and to pinpoint overcompensating muscles that could set your body up for further damage.

After the body has been restored to peak performance, Dr. Kym works with patients to maintain their health and prevent any reoccurring problems.  This phase is especially important for athletes who compete and train at a high-performance level, and for people who don’t want their injuries to get in the way of living.

When Should I Schedule An Appointment?

Dr. Kym advises patients to make an appointment at the first sign of trouble instead of waiting for more intense pain to set in.  “When you feel like it’s something small, that’s the time to come in for your first visit before it really starts to affect something bigger within your body, like your gait,” she says.  “If you don’t address it at the beginning, you’ll end up investing more time and money in healing your injury in the long run because your body will end up compensating for original injury over time, which could result in additional injuries that could have been prevented if we had treated the source of the problem in time.”