Acute injury sustained by trauma, exercise or repetitive stress leads to an inflammatory process. The body lays down scar tissue in an attempt to stabilize the area of insult, which causes adhesions. These adhesions form in a haphazard fashion, causing an altered texture and sticking together of tissues. A.R.T. is applied to separate these adhesions.
Think of adhesions as glue that holds tissues together. If two muscles are "stuck" together, it will impede their function causing problems elsewhere, leading to a vicious cycle. This is how a shoulder problem can lead to an elbow problem or tight hamstrings can lead to low back pain. If adhesions form around a nerve, it can cause numbness and tingling. This is commonly encountered by people who use computers often, leading to carpal tunnel syndrome.