Stretching to increase flexibility for improved performance is a common practice for exercise enthusiasts and athletes alike. It is a necessary step to decrease the risk of injury, but it is also an excellent recovery method. This may come as a surprise to a lot of people, but most people don’t know how to stretch the muscles they think they are stretching. For instance, people may think that they have limber hamstrings, when in fact they really have flexible lower back muscles. And when you can’t stretch the right muscles, tension is created and the risk of injury increases.
What Is Stretch Therapy?
Stretch therapy entered the modern athletic recovery scene within the past ten years, and droves of people are flocking to it in order to accelerate recovery and boost overall performance. The one on one assisted stretch sessions take people through different movements to increase range of motion by remodeling the fascia and muscles. Using Dynamic Integrated Stretching (DIS), a method that involves joint stabilization, muscle isolation, and repetitive motion, stretch therapy works to soften muscle tissue across multi-directional planes.
What Is Stretch Pro LA?
Stretch Pro LA is one of Los Angeles’ premier recovery studios that specializes in stretch therapy. In addition to the stretch sessions, the company offers other forms of recovery, including recovery boots, percussive massage, and infrared sauna. Stretch Pro LA aims to assist people with achieving optimal athleticism and performance.
Our content writer reached out to Stretch Pro LA, which has locations in Brentwood, Downtown LA, West Hollywood, and Pasadena, to learn a little more about stretch therapy. Learn about his experience at Stretch Pro LA below.
Let me start out by saying that I stretch on a daily basis. It has become part of my morning routine to help stay limber and loose, with the ultimate goal of not injuring myself during my workouts. That being said, there are times when I wish I could deepen a stretch or relieve tension, especially in my hips. Needless to say, I was ecstatic to experience a stretch therapy session.
The Stretch Pro office in Pasadena, CA is an open space with stretch tables neatly arranged on one side of the office, and a recovery station with reclining chairs toward the back. The woman at the front desk greeted me and explained the different therapy options as though she was detailing restaurant menu specials. There are three primary stretch sessions: Focus, Complete, and Healer.
The Focus: lasts 25 minutes and is designed to target the areas or muscles that need the most attention.
The Complete: lasts 50 minutes and you can choose between upper or lower body stretches that help to elongate muscles and improve mobility.
The Healer: lasts 80 minutes and assists with total body care, giving ample time to focus on specific areas or injury for maximum mobility.
After signing the waiver, I was introduced to my “stretcher,” a young man named Patrick who had a background in sports rehabilitation. For anyone interested in becoming a stretcher, he assured me that Stretch Pro LA offers certifications and training. Patrick asked me if I had any pain or areas I wanted to focus on, considering I was offered The Focus session. I opted to stretch my lower back, hips, and legs. If that wasn’t the best decision I ever made, I don’t know what is.
I lay on my back on the stretch table, which is similar to a massage table, and Patrick began by gently tightening a strap across my mid-section. Fear not, people, you are not clamped to the table. The strap helps to hold the body in place during several stretches. First, he started stretching my hamstrings, checking to see when I felt a stretch and whether it was too intense or not. He performed the same stretch several different times, so as to elongate the fascia and deepen the stretch.
The standout moment of the stretch session happened when Patrick began stretching my hip flexors. I have never been able to stretch my hips like that, and my goodness did it feel fantastic. If that was the only stretch I received that day it would have been worth it. At the same time, I was saddened by the fact that I wouldn’t be able to do that stretch on my own, given that he pulled my body on a way that I cannot do alone. The stretch session culminated with a mild calf stretch, and then I made my way to the recovery bar.
The Recovery Bar
Stretch Pro LA was kind enough to set me up with a 15-minute recovery boot session. I sat in a recliner chair and slipped into digitally controlled air pressure leg sleeves, also known as recovery boots. The goal of this therapy is to use dynamic compression to improve circulation, increase recovery time, reduce muscle fatigue, and take athletic performance to the next level. Recent studies have shown that lymphatic therapy provides improved muscle recovery, specifically because the lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump like the heart. The dynamic compression, then, helps to flush out waste that may contribute to sore or fatigued muscles.
When the recovery boot session came to a close, I slipped off the boots and stood up, only to realized that my legs felt like noodles. My muscles tingled and I imagined that I looked like a baby deer attempting to walk for the first time. I think I just stood up too soon after sliding the boots off. Take note of this, people. Allow yourself several minutes to sit there before standing up.
Anyone who is looking for alternative therapies to improve muscle recovery and mobility, I encourage you to try out Stretch Pro LA. Let it be known that people should wear active or athletic wear when attending a stretch session in order to be mobile. It is also a pricey therapy, and while they offer packages with discounts, it is definitely intended for a clientele that doesn’t mind spending a little extra on total body care. The staff is knowledgeable, friendly, and attentive to the needs of each customer, making it an overall pleasant and uniquely relaxing experience.