If you’ve ever felt your quads rebel after sprinting across a 10K finish line or gotten a stiff neck from spending too many hours hunched over a computer, you know what a relief it is to stretch your muscles afterward. But what if you could stretch your whole body the way professional athletes do, with the help of an expert who’ll stretch muscles you didn’t even know you had?
That’s the promise of StretchOut Studios, which opened at MarketStreet Lynnfield in August. StretchOut Studios provides one-on-one therapist-assisted stretching that’s suitable for anyone from young kids to the elderly.
People are more dedicated to working out these days than ever before, spending their extra time in fitness boot camps, spin classes, and weight rooms, but stretching and recovery is often neglected, says StretchOut Studios CEO and founder Geoff Schneider.
“Very few people spend time on the healing side,” he says. “We’re here on the other side of the fence to build you back up.”
Whether or not people should engage in static stretching, in which a stretch is held for a set amount of time, has been debated in recent years, but the therapist-assisted stretching at StretchOut Studios is different. It’s dynamic stretching, during which the body is always in motion.
In healthy bodies, none of our muscles work by themselves. Instead, they work as a chain, says StretchOut Studios founder and “chief therapy officer” Stefan Matte, a fitness professional who brings a massage therapy and personal training background to the dynamic stretching system he’s promoting to help clients with “relaxation, performance, and recovery.”
“There’s lots of systems that work the whole chain,” Matte says. “We’re working on all the links in the chain to make that chain work even better, more efficiently.”
Everything at StretchOut Studios is personalized, starting with the initial assessment that therapists give to clients. Therapists ask questions about a client’s lifestyle to determine what they want to get out of their stretching session, any concerns they have, and any places they’re feeling pain. They’ll also do range-of-motion assessments. Then, therapists will tailor the stretches to each client’s needs and wants, whether it’s a golfer wanting to improve her game, an office worker with tight shoulders, or a grandparent who wants to increase his mobility and stability.
“It’s always client driven,” Matte says.
Once the assessment is complete, it’s time for the fun part: the stretching. Clients are positioned on either a massage-style table or a padded chair for their stretch sessions, during which the therapist will stretch different parts of their body, always keeping them in motion. A strap secured across the client’s pelvis keeps them stabilized when they’re lying on the table, helping the therapist more accurately target the different muscles. The therapist might stretch a client’s knee up toward their chest several times, holding onto their heel while guiding their leg, or stretch their arm straight back while keeping their shoulder stabilized. The results of a dynamic leg stretch, for instance, are immediate and striking, making you feel taller, stronger, and more aligned, not to mention less sore.
The stretches can be as invigorating or as soothing as clients want them to be, and ultimately what clients want from their stretching sessions depends on their lifestyle. Athletes can enjoy improved performance in their sport, say Matte and Schneider. For instance, golfers might add 20 yards to their drive, Schneider says.
Other clients might be seeking relaxation. Sometimes, Matte says, “people actually fall asleep.”
Stretches also can focus on some of the more neglected areas of the body, like the neck, hands, and feet. In fact, StretchOut Studios has 27 stretches just for the feet, Matte says.
“It’s not something we often consider unless they’re achy,” he says.
Matte and Schneider point out that this isn’t physical therapy, but it is a good complement to it. Since it’s also a good complement to sports and other physical activities, many clients love to schedule their stretching sessions either before or after working out. But it’s also not unusual to see StretchOut Studios clients in business clothes, as people pop in for a quick stretch session on their lunch break or after work.
“People arrive in their business attire, undo their collar, and get to work,” Matte says.
The Lynnfield location of StretchOut Studios is only the first; Schneider says the company has “national aspirations.” A company spokesperson says that StretchOut Studios’ current expansion plans include additional locations this year in the Boston area, as well as lower Fairfield County, Connecticut, Manhattan, and Boca Raton, Florida. The pace of the expansion speaks to the universality of and need for stretching in people’s lives.
“This works for everyone,” Matte says.
671 Market St., Lynnfield