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Assisted Stretching 101: What It Is, How It Works, & How to Try it Yourself

July 14, 2022

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Assisted Stretching

Stretching has always been one of my favorite ways to reset the day – before getting out of bed, after a workout, or even while sitting at my desk. So when I heard about StretchLAB, a physical therapy experience created to deliver relief and recovery, I had to give it a try!

StretchLAB is based in London with two different locations (Fitzrovia and Notting Hill). They offer one-on-one assisted stretching to help with flexibility and mobility for anyone and everyone.

After my session, I had the chance to talk to one of the Stretchologist Dean Embling, who was more than happy to share the benefits of assisted stretching. Here’s what I learned! 

Why Is Stretching So Important?

Chances are, you already know you should be stretching before and after working out. But do you know why? Not only does stretching get your blood pumping, but it also loosens your muscles and tendons. This decreases your risk of injury during your workout and eliminates lactic acid (the thing that makes you sore) after your workout.

But even if you don’t exercise regularly, stretching is still incredibly beneficial! Throughout the day, we face challenges and stimuli that leave us stressed and fatigued. When that happens, we get tension within our bodies. Stretching is a great way to release that tension and return your body back to its optimal state homeostasis, or perfect balance.

The Benefits of Stretching

Not only does it feel great, but stretching can also…

  • Aide your body in healing existing injuries

  • Prevent further injuries

  • Improve your posture and flexibility

  • Relieve stress

  • Improve your performance and range of motion

Stretching can be beneficial to both your physical and mental health when done regularly and correctly.

Can Stretching Be Bad For You?

As with any other form of exercise, stretching can cause injury when done incorrectly. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Stretch slowly. No need to yank your body into crazy poses. Slowly get into position, and hold each stretch for a minute.

  • Stretch to the point of tension. Stretching shouldn’t hurt! Stretch until you feel tension, and don’t force it.

  • Stretch within your limits. There’s no shame in not being able to touch your toes or needing to take time off for an injury. This is your self care, and you can adjust it to fit your needs.

So long as you listen to your body’s signals and start slowly, stretching is safe and effective for treating pain and relieving tension.

What Is Assisted Stretching?

Unfortunately, even those of us who played sports as kids or have attended yoga classes probably don’t know how to stretch properly or deeply. That’s where Assisted Stretching comes in!

Assisted Stretching is a professional service where a “Stretchologist” (as they’re called at StretchLAB) manipulates your body through a series of stretches. You get to sit back and relax while they do all the heavy lifting and ensure you’re getting a safe, deep stretch.

The Benefits of Assisted Stretching

As with anything else in your wellness routine, stretching is only beneficial if you do it right. Sometimes, that means asking for help! Visiting StretchLAB makes it safe, effective, and downright enjoyable to stretch for long periods of time. Their Stretchologists target your problem areas and do all the heavy lifting while you lie back, relax, and enjoy your stretch. Personally, I’d have a hard time stretching for a solid 50 minutes at home. But at StretchLab, the time flies!

Who should get professionally stretched?

Whether you’re a pro athlete, a proud couch potato, or anyone in between, Assisted Stretching is for you! We all have muscles, and we could all benefit from stretching regularly and correctly. 

When should you get stretched?

There’s no wrong time to get stretched! It’s great for pre- or post-workout, but you can also use it as a form of self care any time. 

Assisted Stretching before a workout can help warm up your muscles and prevent risk of injury. If you’re getting ready for a competition or particularly intense workout, it can also boost your performance.

Assisted Stretching after a workout speeds recovery by flushing out metabolic waste, increasing blood flow, and lengthening the muscles that have just been contracted. It’ll leave you less sore, meaning you can get back to the gym quicker (and skip those few days of walking like a robot). 

If you don’t work out, Assisted Stretching is still super relaxing. It can alleviate stiffness from working at a desk, increase your flexibility, and improve your posture. Plus, it feels great!

How to Start Stretching at Home

Don’t have an Assisted Stretching facility near you? No worries! Here’s some advice to get you started at home:

  • Do your research. Look up some easy stretches or yoga poses to get you started. If you’re experiencing tightness in a particular area, start there!

  • Hold each stretch for one minute. It doesn’t matter how long your session lasts so much as how long each stretch lasts. Hold each position for at least a minute for the best results.

  • Pay attention to your body. Your body will let you know when something isn’t working. If you feel pain or discomfort, take a break or try something different.

My Favorite At-Home Stretching Resources

  • Yoga With Adriene is my favorite yoga channel on Youtube. She has tons of videos for every skill level and need, from getting better sleep to relieving stress.

  • AskDoctorJo is a physical therapist who shares stretches and exercises to help with all kinds of pain and injuries. I highly recommend her if you’re dealing with tension or pain in a particular area.

  • Stretching by Bob and Jean Anderson is basically the stretching Bible. It features tons of illustrations to help you learn how to stretch different muscles, and it breaks down the science of stretching in a really accessible way.

My StretchLAB Experience

I absolutely loved my experience at StretchLAB. The staff was super friendly, the session was relaxing, and I felt so good afterwards! It felt a bit like a sports massage with the variety of stretches and the use of a Theragun to loosen my muscles. I’ll definitely be going back! Watch this reel for more on my experience.

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