Have you tried StretchLab. If you have heard of StretchLab (or have no clue what I'm talking about) I'm giving you a run down of what to expect, what it is, and if it really helped.
Just like health food, there always seems to be a latest and greatest craze. StretchLab is the newest on the market. StretchLab offers assisted stretch sessions that target tightness and imbalances in your body.
Stretching has always been my arch nemesis. My therapist I saw at StretchLab started with the funniest line EVER! He asked me if I would love to get back to being able to stretch and bend the way I was when I was five and could touch my toes.
I had to tell him I had NO idea what he was talking about because I have NEVER touched my toes.
"Really?" he said.
I even texted my Mom at the appointment to have her verify that fact for him.
I was always good at sports and excelled at them but when it came time for the sit and reach, oh ugh!! I HATED that box. That box ruined my goals of making one of the top fitness spots in my PE class every. Single. Year. I was always one of the top kids on the board until they brought out that stupid box. But because my muscles are a lot tighter I've noticed the types of injuries I tend to get are a result of improper stretching.
So why is stretching so important? Stretching has been scientifically proven to reduce muscle atrophy, reduce some types of muscle injuries, reduce post workout soreness, improve range of motion and decrease some gait performance in relation to age.
It isn't a cure all. But there are some benefits that StretchLab talks about.
WHAT IS OUR STRETCH THRESHOLD?
One of the reasons that I came to StretchLab in the first place is the fact that I've struggled with right side injuries from my hips down for years now. Almost every time I pull a muscle or get a strain from running, it's on my right side. I've tried chiropractics, yoga, weight lifting and other gadgets and gizmos targeted to help but have mostly avoided stretching. When I saw some of the benefits of StretchLab, it made sense. My best stretching workouts were always the ones done by my trainers when I played sports. With applied pressure and other techniques my trainers and physical therapists employed I usually got my best stretches from that and reduced my injuries. When I stretch myself, I often stop at my stretch threshold. The stretch threshold is the point I stop stretching because it hurts, I don't like the stretch, or a stretch I avoid doing. Having someone stretch you and work with you past that threshold helps a lot.
WHAT DO YOU DO AT YOUR FIRST STRETCHLAB APPOINTMENT?
You walk in and do a few squats in front of a computer. The computer then gives the flexologist an idea of any issues (but not all) that you might be having. It was easily identified on the computer that my right side is my problem area. I was hoping to fool the computer but I didn't do a great job.
Your flexologist than goes through a quick workout targeting areas that are tighter like your hips or back area to get an idea of where you are struggling with mobility and the areas that it is stemming from.
HOW OFTEN ARE STRETCH SESSIONS RECOMMENDED?
After your initial assessment there are several plans that they offer you. They aim to sell you for the 50 minute individual sessions. The 25 minute session (like your first session) is okay but you are just starting to feel like your hips and back are starting to let your muscles start to stretch out at that point. It's like a massage therapist. The one hour massage is okay but the two hour is the best. Anyone who has done a one hour or a two hour massage knows the difference. After a two hour massage, the knots in your muscles have gone running! Same here. The 50 minute session definetely seemed to help the most.
Ideally it's recommended to do once or twice a week stretch sessions for optimal results. It depends on how you are feeling and what you are needing.
HOW OLD DO YOU HAVE TO BE TO DO A STRETCHLAB SESSION?
I have kids that play sports and could totally see the benefits of sending my son (he has a shoulder injury) go into get a quick 25 minute session on his shoulder prior to a football game. His physical therapist can always see a huge difference in the way that he plays when he has loosened up his shoulder area and his trainer only has time for a couple of minutes prior to a game.
The great thing about StretchLab is there is no age limit! If you have a child under 18 a parent or guardian will need to sign a waiver for them.
IS STRETCHLAB A WORKOUT OR A GLORIFIED PHYSICAL THERAPY APPOINTMENT?
After my computer assessment I laid down on a table and the flexologist went through some stretches similar to what a sports trainer or physical therapist would do. Some stretches use the flexologists body weight or manipulation of the extremity in order to stretch out the body. They are very good about watching your facial expressions and having you rate your level of uncomfortableness with them throughout the session. I felt like it was very similar to working with my physical therapist or sports trainer (watch the football field or sides of the baseball fields in high school, college or professional sports games. The trainers are the ones working with the athletes and stretching them out on the sidelines). That is what you will experience during the visit.
WHAT DO I WEAR?
Avoid scenic shorts (cover those parts!) but plan on wearing shorts, yoga pants, leggings, t shirts, or yoga tops. You shouldn't sweat much but I find I sweat like crazy during yoga because it hurts! I found with this session the flexologist worked on my breathing a lot and was mindful of watching it. I noticed I didn't overheat and start sweating like crazy because I was hyperventilating through my pain like I do a yoga session. Water is available at the facility.
DO I WORKOUT IN A PRIVATE ROOM?
No, you do workout in a large room with well spaced apart workout benches. During COVID they sanitized the benches well, kept us well spaced apart and I had to wear a mask through my whole session. I HATE working out in front of other people. (When I'm at the gym I keep hoping no one is looking at me!) But I only really noticed my flexologist I was working with and didn't really notice who else was there in the room. If you are really nervous about working out in front of peoople they will put you in the back of the room.
WHAT TYPE OF BACKGROUND DO STRETCH LAB THERAPISTS OR FLEXOLOGISTS HAVE?
I was really impressed that most of the flexologists have a very extensive background. My flexologist did a lot of sports as a teen and had years of sports training and stretching experience with high school students. Many are physical therapy assistants or work in similar backgrounds and then complete additional extensive training once hired.
I HAVE AN INJURY...CAN I GO TO STRETCHLAB?
If you have an acute injury you are not allowed to do StretchLab. StretchLab is NOT a replacement for a physical therapist or doctor. StretchLab is good for approved chronic illness (with doctor approval), discomfort, tightness, etc. It is also good for helping with injuries that your doctor or physical therapist feels would benefit from additional stretching. For example, my right sided crazy pains and plantar fascitis that pop up now and then from running.
CAN I USE MY HSA?
Woohoo! Yes you can!
HOW DO YOU FEEL POST STRETCH SESSION?
I actually feel pretty good. Like I got a good workout good. A little soreness but not uncomfortable or painful. Much better than the physical therapist. 🙂 I probably will be back to normal by tomorrow.
ANYTHING ELSE TO SHARE ABOUT STRETCHLAB? IS IT HERE TO STAY OR IS IT JUST A FAD?
I believe (just my opinion) that this is a very cool supplementation to workouts. It is not a workout but I could see a benefit from assisted stretching after the first session and felt that benefit in my run today. I could see this being a complimentary addition to massages and chiropractors. It is not inexpensive, but seems to be as affordable (or less expensive) as a physical therapy appointment. It is a great addition to sports training. Only time will tell if the price model takes off with customers, the marketing appeals to customers, if customers can afford it, and how people respond to the concept of stretching as a supplementation to their exercise and workouts. For me, I would love to see this service added to my gym in shorter interval lengths from ten minutes to an hour. It would be easier to get everything done in one spot. I'm not sure how fitting an hour into every other week will work for me but time will tell.
Have you done StretchLab or something similar? what are your thoughts and opinion?
Disclaimer: I went to StretchLab on my own. I paid for it on my own. I searched out the company after receiving emails on my own. My opinion is my own. I am not getting paid or compensated for this post.
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