By Lisa Nicklanovich; courtesy photo
Before a Broncos game, the players always have assisted stretching sessions with trainers. Assisted stretching is crucial for professional athletes because it can increase range of motion and flexibility, improve fitness performance and posture, and prevent injury. For those who are not professional athletes, assisted stretching can help provide more mobility in everyday life and prevent aches and pains and maybe even improve a tennis or golf swing.
Why is mobility important? In essence, mobility is how well one can freely and efficiently move. Tightness and imbalance in the body can make everyday movements more difficult, or even painful. Reaching for a bag of groceries, lifting a heavy bag of dog food, tying shoes, gardening, or competing in a triathlon – can all require a wide range of motion free of strain and pain.
StretchLab facilities have been opening around the country offering one-on-one customized and group stretching sessions.
Krystle Crowe, owner of StretchLab Lone Tree which is projected to open July 12, stated, “StretchLab was created to help increase flexibility, range of motion and energy in people no matter what their age, body type or fitness level.”
StretchLab uses MAPS, a 3D body scanning tool that provides information on how well the body is moving, based on doing just three overhead squats. StretchLab flexologists begin a session by guiding clients through the scan, interpreting the results, and using the data to customize the client’s stretch. The data can be used to measure improvement over time.
Using a method called Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation, clients lay on a table and are taken through a series of dynamic and static stretches, constantly giving feedback to the flexologist.
StretchLab claims that using a combination of dynamic stretching where there is some kind of movement associated with the stretch, and static stretching where a stretch is held for a set amount of time, is very beneficial in increasing range of motion and getting maximum benefits. Just taking the self-care time to evaluate range of motion in different areas of the body and to notice where there is tightness seems beneficial in itself.
StretchLab flexologists have backgrounds in health and fitness and go through a training program before stretching clients, but they do not claim to replace physical therapy. A physical therapist (PT) would be appropriate to visit after an injury or surgery or when dealing with any pain. A PT could refer a patient to StretchLab at the point where they feel the patient is ready and StretchLab would then continue the stretching program. It’s always worth checking with a primary care physician about what is best.