According to the Mayo Clinic, research has shown that stretching can help improve flexibility and, as a result, the range of motion of your joints.
Better flexibility may:
- Improve your performance in physical activities
- Decrease your risk of injuries
- Help your joints move through their full range of motion
- Increase muscle blood flow
- Enable your muscles to work most effectively, and
- Improve your ability to do daily activities.
The Mayo Clinic’s website also states that stretching is vital in any exercise program since most aerobic and strength training programs involve tightening and contracting your muscles. Plus, stretching after exercise helps your joints move through their full range of motion and boosts blood flow to the muscles. Here are a few Las Cruces-area options for those who want to integrate stretching into their fitness goals.
“Stretch differs from massage in that it’s more therapeutic, and most clients report longer-lasting results,” according to Lindsey Lemieux, owner of Sonoma Stretch. “People prefer stretch when it comes to fully alleviating pain and gaining a range of motion. My biggest goal when it comes to clients is making sure their needs are met.”
Lindsey is a certified level 3 Life Stretch therapist who received her certification from the Stretch to Win Institute in Chandler, Arizona. She specializes in fascial stretch therapy (FST), which the Sonoma Stretch website defines as using “a modified proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) technique to trigger a relaxation response along with traction to decompress the joint capsule all while working along the myofascial meridians.” Hopkinsmedicine.org defines fascia as a thin casing of connective tissue that surrounds and holds every organ, blood vessel, bone, nerve fiber, and muscle in place.
“I also have a bachelor’s degree in psychology, which allows me to better connect with my clients,” said Lindsey. “I personally experienced the benefits of fascial stretch therapy. Years ago, I suffered from a bulging disc causing excruciating pain. I had a dear friend who was a certified FST provider. She convinced me to give FST a try before committing to neck surgery. After one session, my pain was significantly reduced and opened my eyes to the possibility of pain relief without medication or surgery.”
2841 N. Telshor Blvd., Las Cruces
Ruby Sun has two certified stretch coaches — Jayde Tsougas and O’dette Lancy — who are also registered yoga teachers and offer a three-part stretch series. “The first session is the upper body; the second session is the lower body; the third session is in full body assisted stretching,” said Felicia Gonzalez, owner of Ruby Sun. “This series incorporates myofascial stretches, foam rolling, and customized yoga stretches to ensure that clients learn how to stretch their body properly at home. Both coaches will be offering small group stretch classes as well.”
“This stretch series helps people learn techniques to gain mobility, better posture, flexibility, and provide the extra guidance and assistance to better health, physically, mentally, and emotionally,” said Jayde.
Ruby Sun also offers a Thai yoga massage as a one-on-one partner stretching session. “Rachelle Mirabal is trained in traditional Thai yoga massage. Depending on your starting point, your therapist will offer a table Thai stretch or a floor Thai stretch,” said Felicia. “The floor Thai stretch is done fully clothed in workout clothes and performed on a floor mat. Table Thai combines full body massage and Thai-style stretching, and Rachelle also offers fire cupping or cryotherapy add-ons after your session.”
“We also offer a massage-plus-stretch combo called the Ruby Signature Stretch,” said Felicia. “Performed entirely on the massage table, this service includes trigger point work with therapy balls and stretching as well as a focused upper body massage with either hot or cold stones and muscle balm to keep you feeling great hours after your session.”
“This holistic approach to bodywork is an experience beyond deepening flexibility,” said O’dette. “You can expect this investment to support your mental, physical, and emotional wellness.”
570 W. Griggs Ave., Las Cruces
Natural Movement Pilates
Pilates is a physical fitness system developed by Joseph Pilates that emphasizes the balanced development of the body through core strength, flexibility, and awareness to support efficient, graceful movement, the Natural Movement Pilates website explains. In addition to improving overall wellness, students can expect to gain relief from stress and back pain, improved flexibility, core strength and stability, and better posture over time. Natural Movement Pilates teaches Stott Pilates, which their website defines as “a contemporary approach founded by Lindsay and Moira Merrithew, which was developed with physiotherapists and sports medicine professionals and includes modern principles of exercise science and rehabilitation.”
There are two types of classes:
Mat: Great for beginners, mat classes use body weight for exercises.
Reformer: For intermediate and beyond, the reformer machine creates resistance using pulleys, springs, and straps.
Each class lasts 55 minutes and may include the use of additional provided equipment, such as rings or blocks.
“There are different types of stretches — for instance, dynamic and static stretches. When doing Pilates, we do a lot of dynamic stretches,” said Natascha Preiss, owner of Natural Movement Pilates. Healthline.com defines dynamic stretches as those that are active movements during which joints and muscles go through a full range of motion. HSS.edu defines static stretches as those for which you hold a muscle as far as it goes, without feeling any pain, for about 20 to 45 seconds.
“I usually ask my clients to do an easy static stretch routine in the morning or evening. It releases tight muscles and your connective tissues between muscle ligaments and joints,” said Natascha. “A big reward to doing stretches is a meditational feeling for your body and mind. Stretching is not only for your Pilates class or to achieve great posture, but also to reach for the stars and bend to pluck the most beautiful flowers.”
3291 Del Rey Blvd., Las Cruces
Downtown Desert Yoga
“Optimal Movement (OM*) Slow Yoga, as we call it at Downtown Desert Yoga (DDY), can be a deeply beneficial practice that might get to the root of chronic pain or tension and can be practiced for a lifetime,” said Colleen Boyd, owner of DDY. “Just as the slow food movement has gained momentum over the past 25 years through sustainability and consumption of healthy delicious food, OM* Slow Yoga will also have a big influence on society, especially as our population ages. OM* Slow Yoga emphasizes movement into a posture in an optimal way that is right for each person’s anatomy rather than ‘striking a pose.’”
Colleen recommends the following classes for those interested in more stretching:
Yin Yoga: Tuesday and Thursday, 8:30 a.m. and 4:15 p.m.; Sunday 8:45 a.m.
Restorative Yoga: Tuesday, 6 p.m.
Go With the Flow: Wednesday and Friday, noon.
Candlelight Yin: Saturday, 7 p.m.
“Of equal importance is the emphasis on breath during the practice. Breathing well is at the root of our overall well-being,” said Colleen. “OM* Slow Yoga may be the start to finding a calmer mind, a more relaxed nervous system, and a better version of ourselves. You don’t need to be flexible or have a certain body type to practice OM* Slow Yoga. It is a practice that really is for everyone.”
303 S. Alameda Blvd., Las Cruces
“We have numerous classes perfect for stretching and recovery including yoga, Pilates, and yoga massage flow,” said Linda Perez, Fitness One fitness coordinator. “For people who can’t make it to those classes, we have foam rollers, resistance bands, a stretch bar, and dedicated space for people to do stretching or foam rolling.”
Fitness One also offers Silver Sneakers Yoga, designed specifically for seniors. There’s a yoga or Pilates class every day except Sunday, with multiple sessions scheduled on some days.
4655 Sonoma Ranch Blvd., Las Cruces
City of Las Cruces
Steven Haydu teaches tai chi classes at the Thomas Branigan Memorial Library. “The style I teach is a short Yang-style form that was brought to America by Professor Chen Man-Ching,” said Steven. “Tai chi chuan is a martial art, meditation, and health exercise and can result in increased flexibility.”
Steven has been doing tai chi for 40 years and has learned from teachers like Benjamin Pang Jeng Lo. “I have also done other martial arts over the years including Shaolin Kung Fu and taekwondo,” he said.
“Currently we have a class for students who have learned the entire form that meets on Tuesdays at 9 a.m. and the new beginners’ class on Thursdays at 9 a.m. in Albert Johnson Park at the corner of Main and Picacho near the library parking lot,” said Steven. “In the beginning classes, the focus is primarily on learning the moves, developing leg strength and balance, and learning to be relaxed and active at the same time.”
For more information, contact:
Steven Haydu, library manager, Thomas Branigan Memorial Library
200 E. Picacho Ave., Las Cruces
Story by Cassie McClure | Courtesy photos
Originally published in Neighbors magazine
Posted by LasCruces.com