Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

A team assistant stretches West Indies' Shane Dowrich during a cricket match at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados, on Jan. 25, 2019.

Ricardo Mazalan/The Associated Press

There’s a growing fitness trend that doesn’t involve lifting heavy things, pumping your limbs at lightning speed or forming even the tiniest bead of sweat. But if you like doing any or all of these things, it could help you do them better.

Fascial stretch therapy (FST) is assisted stretching: a therapist works muscles and fascia to improve performance, flexibility and help prevent injury. “People come to us for relaxation and for relief from stiffness and pain,” says Justin Gould, co-founder of Flxme Stretch Therapy Studio based in Toronto. That may sound especially appealing to many after months of working from home, decreased outings and endless online Zoom workouts.

FST, which targets muscles and the connective tissue that surrounds and encompasses the muscles, bones and joints, is not the stretching you’re probably used to. For starters, FST is passive and does not require you to hold a pose. “With assisted stretching the body is completely relaxed,” Gould says. This lets the therapist isolate muscles and manipulate them more precisely.

Story continues below advertisement

Toronto-based Flxme Stretch Therapy Studio helps relax the body using assisted stretching techniques.

Douglas MacKellar/B Stretched

Appointments typically start with an assessment and basic movements for the stretch therapist to see where patients need attention. Sarah Mariano started offering FST in 2014, several years ahead of many others in Toronto. A former athlete, personal trainer and yoga instructor, her early clients were young moms and CrossFit athletes. Today, people of every age and professional background are seeking an assisted stretch.

I visited Mariano with hopes of relieving tight hamstrings. During my session she assessed my range of motion by having me do squats and lunges, and quickly determined that one hip was higher than the other. After she gently pulled and twisted my legs, I realized every muscle in my body had been holding decades of tension. The stretching is relaxing though not without sensation, which comes from being guided deeper into a position that would be challenging to do on your own.

Fans of massage or manual therapy are natural candidates for FST sessions. What might be new for people is the use of straps for stability and having the therapist use their own bodies to move and stretch yours. Mariano might stand on the table over top of a client for a different angle, or use her legs and feet to change their position.

People who enjoy massage or manual therapy are natural candidates for assisted stretching.

Douglas MacKellar/B Stretched

“The reality is that most people hate stretching themselves, but assisted stretching is and feels, completely different,” says Marco Capizzano, a chiropractor and founder of b-Stretched, a wellness studio with multiple locations in Toronto. He jokes that his team provides the lazy person’s version of yoga, where the therapist does the work and the client reaps the benefits. “Atheletes, whether professional or recreational, and people who are active and focused on their health love stretching since it helps them reduce the risk of injury, perform better and enhances their sense of well-being,” he says.

Physiotherapist Tyson Plesuk, co-owner of Movement Sports Clinic in Calgary, sees fascial stretching as complimentary to working with health practitioners such as himself. “The goal for the majority of patients is to improve their mobility, control of their movements and strength.” The addition of FST can also help reduce tightness for people who stay in specific postures for extended periods of time, like those of us who spend hours at a desk.

Toronto-based wellness studio b-Stretched helps clients release muscular tension and reduce the risk of injury.

Douglas MacKellar/B Stretched

Assisted stretching is an unregulated industry so those seeking help with injuries may prefer a health expert such as a chiropractor, physiotherapist or osteopath who has FST training. “There is no one therapy that fixes everything,” Plesuk says. “The true magic happens with a combination of a well-structured plan to address both mobility and strength issues, where the patient also completes active movements and exercises.”

So we can’t rely on assisted stretching to fix all of our problems, but the growing interest in FST and its benefits proves that those of us who come up with excuses to avoid stretching on our own - or even openly admit to hating it - have found a winning solution.

Story continues below advertisement

Sign up for the weekly Health & Wellness newsletter for the latest news and advice.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies