Stretch Studios Are Popular, but Do You Need Them?

Two women at a stretch studio.

Stretch studios are fitness studios dedicated entirely to stretching and recovery. (Image: Artitwpd via Dreamstime)

A new kind of fitness studio is popping up all over the country, one where you don’t even go to work out, but to get a deep stretch. Stretch studios are fitness studios dedicated entirely to stretching and recovery. You book a session at the stretch studio just like a workout class, and then a stretching specialist guides you through dynamic and assisted stretches. Many of the stretch studios say the benefits range from better recovery, increased flexibility, range of motion, and less stiffness and soreness.

The stretch studios trend comes on the heels of a huge focus on recovery in the fitness industry toward recovery and restorative services, like cryotherapy, sauna, massage, and meditation. So it makes sense that people are paying professionals to help them learn to stretch and recover correctly, but does the benefit outweigh the cost and time?

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Why opt for a stretch studio?

People who cope with chronic back pain or muscle issues need specific exercise programs to stay fit. The ack of ergonomic support and sitting in improper positions for a long time leads to the onset of chronic pain and stiff joints. Athletes also have to cope with such pains and aches after sustaining injuries. People coping with such conditions normally would visit orthopedics or physiotherapists but now many are heading to the stretching studios.

People who cope with chronic back pain or muscle issues need specific exercise programs to stay fit.
People who cope with chronic back pain or muscle issues need specific exercise programs to stay fit. (Image: Sergei Chaiko via Dreamstime)

StretchLab’s president, Lou DeFrancisco, said: “People are re-prioritizing their health and wellness now more than ever and turning to StretchLab to help reclaim the freedom of movement they have been missing, creating an increased sense of ease in daily activities.”

The trainers at stretch studios design sessions for the students based on their physical conditions and fitness needs. On average, these sessions last for an hour or a little more. The session cost in these studios ranges from US$40-$100. Some studios pack in light exercise with stretching modules.

Support of stretch studios by the medical fraternity

Stretch studios have received support from the medical fraternity. Dr. Leslie J. Waltke, a noted physical therapy specialist with expertise in cancer rehabilitation thinks these centers are good for people recuperating from serious health conditions. He says: “As the human body ages, our soft tissues, which include our skin, connected tissue, fascia, and muscle, tend to shorten and thicken. This may limit daily activity and exercise tolerance and certainly can add wear and tear to local joints. So, from a fitness and health perspective, any person over the age of 30 should be incorporating stretching into their weekly health routine.”

What are the benefits of stretch studios?

Those who have not enrolled at such stretch studios may naturally feel curious about the benefits that can be obtained. At the physiological level, stretching done in the right ways helps enhance blood flow, helps mitigate back pain, makes muscles more flexible, and thwarts headaches. However, stretch studio proponents say the benefits extend to mental health and stretching exercises help people relieve stress and help calm the mind.

Those who have not enrolled at such stretch studios may naturally feel curious about the benefits that can be obtained.
Those who have not enrolled at such stretch studios may naturally feel curious about the benefits that can be obtained. (Image: artitwpd via Dreamstime)

Why stretch in a studio and not at home?

While people can obtain similar benefits by stretching at home, studio trainers naturally believe that it is better if someone assists you, says Dr. Waltke. At home, it may be hard to perform stretching postures in the correct ways. Having an appointment at the stretching studio helps one stretch properly, and stay motivated.

How often a person needs to opt for stretching exercises? It varies from one person to another. However, performing the stretching postures once or twice a week will be adequate for most people.

Choosing the right studio is important

With so many stretch studios popping up everywhere, you need to select one with caution. Dr. Waltke advises that you should check for certifications and credentials of a studio before signing onto its services. However, certification does not always reflect expertise. Having an interaction with the studio management and checking out reviews of their existing customers can be useful. It is also prudent to select a studio that agrees to customize its programs to meet your fitness goals.

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