Active Release Technique, or ART, is another effective way to mobilize soft tissue. It’s more mechanical than trigger point dry needling and more functional than massage.
The stiff tissue in question is “pinned” in a shortened position with a thumb, palm, whole hand, forearm, or elbow. Then the muscle is either actively (you do it) or passively (I do it for you) moved to a maximally lengthened position while the tension is maintained. The tension in the tissue builds as the joint moves through a full range of motion. Quickly, the tissue begins to slide better and has a smoother texture as adhesions are released. All the while, you are learning to move the body into a better range of motion so the tissue learns to stay long.
After the session, people report feeling more “open” and “free” to move with less stiffness. ART is cumulative over time and a few sessions may be necessary to treat out all the problem tissues.