If your complaint is due to tight muscles, controlled stretching may help—read on to learn how muscle-release therapies work. It’s no secret that tight muscles hurt. Fortunately, certain types of soft-tissue manipulation may be able to help. As opposed to a traditional massage, designed primarily to relax, muscle-release or active-release techniques are intended to correct deep-seated pain. According to the theory behind these methods, pain is caused by muscles that are short, tight, and inflamed due to repetitive use. In a slightly misguided attempt to protect the muscles from further damage, the body in these cases can begin producing scar tissue, potentially hindering motion, trapping nerves, and forming a bump shaped like your least-favorite kind of sports car. To relieve the discomfort often associated with these conditions the therapist breaks up that scar tissue, springing the muscle from its scar-tissue jail. During a typical session, the therapist places the patient in a position designed to stretch the affected muscle in a specific way. The combination of extension, pressure, and motion works to release the painful knots and return the muscle to its former, elongated state. The process also increases circulation to the area, which helps to reduce inflammation and pain. Results vary, but recipients have reported relief from conditions such as tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and sciatica.