Stretching is one of the easiest things you can do to improve mobility and flexibility, yet many people skip it. Not only does stretching before exercise help reduce the risk of injury, but it can also accelerate recovery and performance. Unfortunately, you can’t always stretch all of the muscle groups in the body, let alone stretch them correctly.
Introducing Stretch Therapy
Stretch therapy is a therapeutic recovery option that involves assisted stretching. A flexologist caters each stretch session to the individual, helping to relieve tension or improve mobility in necessary areas. Stretch therapy is for everyone, so you don’t have to worry about age or fitness level. It’s delivered similarly to a massage session, with the difference being that the flexologist focuses on stretches that target your muscles, connective tissues, and surrounding joints. As Vinnie will explain, the body gets manipulated in specific ways that provide extreme relief.
In the latest episode of The Adventures of V-Man, our content writer, Vinnie, went to Stretch Lab Beverly for a stretch therapy session. While this location is in West Los Angeles, CA, Stretch Lab has many locations all over the United States. You can search your zip code on the website to see if there’s a location near you. Plus, Stretch Lab offers a $50 intro stretch session for first-time stretchers, and there’s no reason you should miss out on that deal. Continue reading to find out how Vinnie’s stretch session went.
Stretch Lab Beverly
I arrived at Stretch Lab Beverly to receive the stretch therapy session. They took precautionary COVID-19 safety measures and checked my temperature upon arrival. The general manager, King Holder, gave me a tour of the studio, which has two rows of stretching tables, and led me to the table where I would get stretched. Before we could get to stretching, he directed me to this fancy machine, where I met my flexologist, Kristina Garrett. The fancy machine I speak of was a 3-D camera that has the ability to identify imbalances, tension, or injury after performing three consecutive squats in front of it.
My score was a 50, ladies and gentlemen. I was not excited about this score, but Garrett assured me that it was really good. I still don’t know if I believe her. Anyways, the camera showed her that I favored my left side during the squats, which checked out since I expressed tightness in my right hip and leg. She also saw some imbalance and tension in my upper body, which she would address at the end of the session.
The Stretch Session
Most people, including myself, hold a lot of tension in the lower body. For this reason, the majority of the stretch session focuses on the legs, hips, and glutes, which indirectly benefit the lower back. Garret instructed me to lie on my back on the stretch table. She gently grabbed my ankles and started moving my legs in gentle circular motions to create space in my joints and open up my hips. It was at that point when we started the first stretch.
I want to clarify something before I continue. At Stretch Lab, the point is to gently stretch the body until you feel a moderate stretch. The flexologists have no intention of contorting you into a human pretzel. The last thing they want to do is over-stretch the body. Ultimately, you are responsible for telling the flexologist when you reach a 6-7 level of the stretch. Don’t be overconfident and push your body farther than it can go. This will most likely end up in injury.
Where was I? Oh, yeah, Garrett began with my hamstrings, then IT bands, followed by inner thighs, and then my glutes. The IT band stretch is life, everyone. This is the outside of the leg, which is often so tight because nobody knows how to stretch it. What I found interesting was that Garrett asked me to resist her on certain stretches. I asked her what the benefit of this was and she said that it helps deepen the stretch. And it did! After resisting her in certain stretches, I was able to go deeper than the initial stretch. In certain tighter areas, she used her fist or foot, depending on the stretch, to massage the area around the joint for optimal mobility. It felt wonderful.
My favorite stretch during the entire session was the hip flexor stretch. Good golly, Miss Molly! It was magnificent to create space in my hips by elongating my hip flexors. Garrett showed me how to get into the stretch because it was very involved, but it was so worth it.
Towards the end of the session, Garrett stretched my upper body. These stretches focused on opening my chest, shoulder joints, and creating traction in my neck. Garrett did some sort of figure-four grip on my arms to stretch my rear deltoids and it felt like the heavens opened and let me in. It was great!
I felt so limber and loose after the stretch session. It’s like getting a massage without someone digging into your muscles. I do have to say that I felt a tad bit sore the next day, but all of the flexologists at Stretch Lab said that that could happen. Because people don’t typically stretch in that way, it’s possible to experience soreness. There’s no need to worry, unless of course the therapy leaves you immobile. This is why it’s important to not over-stretch the body. Go to medium comfort level and don’t try to show off; you’ll end up paying for it.
All I have to say is, go to Stretch Lab and experience the benefits of stretch therapy. If you have specific injuries or painful areas that you want to address, express that to the flexologist and they will do what they can to improve mobility and range of motion in those areas.