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The Effect of Active Release Technique® on Clinician and Patient-Reported Outcomes: A Systematic Review


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Sistematic Review


Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment

J Sport Rehabil. 2022 Mar 1;31(3):331-336.


Precious Barnes, Matthew Rivera


Context: Active Release Technique® (ART®) is a manual therapy used for soft tissue-related issues, commonly used to lengthen structures in a shortened position and to restore motion of soft tissues.

Objective: The purpose of this systematic review was to collect, appraise, and summarize the available literature, evaluating the effects of ART® on pain, range of motion (ROM), and disability.

Evidence acquisition: Electronic databases (PubMed, EBSCOhost, MEDLINE, SPORTDiscus, and CINAHL) were searched from 2000 to November 2020. The search was completed using a combination of key words related to ART®, rehabilitation, and outcomes. Search limits were full-text publications written in English. Inclusion criteria required that studies evaluated outcomes using ART® for rehabilitation, were peer reviewed, and included human participants without catastrophic conditions or injuries. The modified Downs and Black checklist for nonrandomized studies was used to assess methodological quality of identified studies by 2 independent reviewers, average scores were calculated. The level of evidence was assessed using the strength of recommendation taxonomy.

Evidence synthesis: Nine studies were inculded in this review. The average methodological quality of the studies was 12/15 and ranged from 10 to 14, with the most common methodological quality item missed being the blinding of researchers collecting outcomes. Six studies that assessed pain found significant improvements in participants' pain levels. Six studies that assessed ROM found significant improvement in participants' ROM. Two studies that assessed disability found significant improvement in disability.

Conclusion: Evidence suggests that ART® may be beneficial in improving pain, ROM, and disability. This review found that ART® positively impacted patient outcomes and may be a viable treatment option for clinicians treating musculoskeletal conditions. However, further research is necessary to determine optimal dosage and long-term effects of ART® on these patient outcomes.

Publication Date: 

2022 Mar



Barnes, P., Rivera, M. (2022) 'The Effect of Active Release Technique® on Clinician and Patient-Reported Outcomes: A Systematic Review ', J Sport Rehabil. 2022 Mar 1;31(3):331-336.

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