The “knead” for soft-tissue work

Active Release Technique

I get questions all the time about soft-tissue work.  Do I need it?  What methods are best?  How can I find a good practitioner?

Unfortunately, these aren’t easy questions to answer.  Chances are if you train consistently, whether that’s running, biking, sports, or hitting the iron, you could probably benefit from soft-tissue work.  I can honestly say I’ve never seen anyone who couldn’t use a little tune-up.

Now, as far as which methods are best, this is largely dependent upon where you need treatments, how beat up you are, and a host of other factors.  I actually discussed this to some degree in my knee manual; here’s a very brief synopsis:

– For general work and maintenance, deep tissue massage or SMR is good.

– For tendon based issues, or those close to bony prominences, you need something more exact.  In this case, ART or tool-based methods work well.  Bill and I are both big fans of the STARR tool (

– If you need quick, cheap and dirty, SMR is always an option.  After all, not everyone can afford massage or ART on a regular basis!

So if I was going to really water this down, here’s what I’d recommend:

– If you’re generally healthy and just need tune-ups, deep tissue massage and/or SMR.

– If you have a specific issue, look into ART or possibly tool-based methods.

The link was broken for a little while with the new site, so if you’re interested in downloading my FREE SMR e-manual you can do so by following the link below:

The SMR E-manual

As well, you can find an ART provider in your area by going to

The harder you play, the harder you need to recover.  Soft-tissue work is one way to keep yourself healthy and in the game!

Stay strong



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