Limber up Londoners. Flexology – the capital’s first stretch-dedicated studio has arrived. Sam went to check it out…
How much time do you spend on post-workout recovery? If you’re anything like me, the answer is not enough. I do stretch and foam roll but not nearly as much as I should do.
And I know I’m not alone. I see so many people leave before the stretch at the end group fitness classes because maybe they’re time poor – or maybe stretching just isn’t a priority.
This is where Flexology, London’s first stretch-dedicated studio, comes in. The concept is the brainchild of two Russian sisters, Alina and Anna Epeykina, who have a background in ballroom dancing. They are on a mission to educate the capital about the benefits of stretching and help ingrain it into our daily routines.
The studio is based in Canary Wharf – a smart choice because fitness is big business here – and offers one-to-one assisted stretching treatments (15 minutes, 25 minutes and 55 minutes) that can relieve anything from sore hamstrings to back ache.
So what actually is assisted stretching? Before visiting the studio, I spoke to a friend who had been to Flexology and she described it as ‘stretching for lazy people’, which on a very simplistic level sums it up nicely.
But it’s not just about convenience. The specially-trained therapists are able to guide your body into deeper stretches that you wouldn’t be able to achieve on your own. This stimulates the nervous system and connective tissue and, unlike a regular massage, brings about permanent change in muscle length.
When I arrived at the studio Laura, my therapist, started by asking me what areas of my body I wanted to focus on. “Everything”, I replied. Clearly, there wasn’t going to be time to relieve all of my aches and pains so we agreed to give my tight shoulders and sore hips some much-needed attention.
The studio has a hospital-like feel but the dusky pink walls and indoor plants create a calming environment in which to be pushed and pulled. After a quick functional movement test to assess the range of motion in my shoulders and hip (a few squats and the ‘back scratch’ test), Laura got to work and started manipulating my body.
The treatment was much less traumatic than getting a sports massage and was not painful at all because you are only pushed to your maximum range of movement.
At the end of the session, we tested my functionality again and I was quite astonished at the change: I was now pinging back up out of my squat and had much more freedom in my shoulders.
This isn’t just stretching, it’s (as fluffy and indulgent as it may sound) crucial self-care that your body will massively thank you for.
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