Everybody performs some form of stretching – from the morning wiggle to simple leg stretches in the middle of a busy office day. While the benefits of stretching are well documented, a Japanese fitness studio has been promoting its one-on-one assisted technique to great success.
Dr.stretch, which has studios in 230 locations across Japan, as well as in Malaysia, Singapore, China and Taiwan, opened a studio in Abu Dhabi last week, marking its first foray outside East Asia.
Located inside Shams Boutik, a community mall on Al Reem Island, the studio wants to introduce people to the “transformative benefits” of stretching, says Venelin Tsonev, the owner of the Abu Dhabi franchise.
Dr.stretch claims its patented techniques can access certain muscles of the body that are not within one's own reach.
Called the Core Balance Stretch aimed at “inner muscles”, the signature technique was invented by Genki Yamaguchi, a former trainer of American baseball team Boston Red Sox. He practised it on athletes who regularly underwent intense training and game seasons.
The method fuses dynamic movements, rhythmic vibrations and a targeted range of motion techniques to achieve deep muscle stretching. It is meant to improve balance, strength and flexibility, as well as to achieve a sense of renewed energy.
Since the opening of the Abu Dhabi branch, Tsonev says they have received customers from all ages and levels of physical activity. “Some of them work out regularly, but there are also those who are looking to target specific issues arising from everyday activities, like from sitting too much in the office,” she says.
Customers can book sessions of up to 90 minutes in the gym-like facility. While there are 15 beds on-site, Tsonev stresses this is nothing like a spa. Rather, each guest is assigned one stretch trainer who will do an assessment to determine which muscle groups are in need of work.
Senior trainer Kenjiro Nagao describes the experience as somewhere between a sports massage and a chiropractic session. As such, people with back pain or those experiencing stiffness will benefit the most from Dr.stretch sessions, although they are open to all.