Stretch Science changed my life. It made me more flexible, improved my running and changed the way I look at fitness.
When people think about fitness, they generally envision strength, speed, maybe even fat loss. However, despite its tremendous value, stretching tends to get overlooked.
I found myself guilty of it in the past, partially because I have been exposed to so many philosophies as it pertains to stretching. Some preach the value of extended static holds, while others swear by ballistic (movement-based) stretching exclusively and look at static stretching with disdain. Some believe that active warm ups before a workout suffice, while stretching should only occur post workout.
Over the past few years, I’ve tended to lean toward that final idea. My warm-ups have actually been fine and I do stretch regularly, however, post-workout I wasn’t getting quality stretching, as my exterior hips, hip flexors and hamstrings became increasingly tight. Many runners and other athletes suffer from some of these same issues.
Enter Jeff Brannigan, co-founder and the mind (and body) behind Stretch Science. Brannigan was introduced to me by a friend about six months ago and he immediately had an impact on my training and racing.
Brannigan, who’s straight, will lay you on a table and stretch each muscle throughout your body from a number of different angles, with the right amount of pressure, for the correct amount of time, in the appropriate sequence to allow your body to truly loosen up. The tagline “stretching evolved” is a perfect description of what Stretch Science offers.
After just a single session, my stride was longer and more open, my back didn’t tighten up during my higher-intensity work and I felt faster and smoother while running. This stuff really works. I now regularly attend.
Brannigan is a former high-level collegiate track and field athlete who discovered a love of stretching as a form of therapy nearly 15 years ago. His journey led to the June opening of his Stretch Science Studio in Dupont Circle (1715 N St., N.W.), where his work makes a positive impact on people’s lives. It’s billed as the first facility in downtown Washington devoted exclusively to stretch therapy.
At Stretch Science, Brannigan’s clients come in all skill levels, shapes and sizes.
“From an athletic standpoint, we see everyone from a weekend warrior to athletes that compete at the collegiate and professional level including Olympians,” Brannigan says. “Many of our clients come to us for therapeutic purposes. We’ve helped people recover from surgeries, joint pain, arthritis, postural issues, fibromyalgia, nerve pain, etc.”
You have options that range from initial evaluations, therapeutic stretches to sports-recovery stretches. The length of sessions varies between 30-90 minutes.
This isn’t like taking a yoga class, which certainly has its benefit. This is next level flexibility and stretching.
“If you’re looking at yoga strictly from a stretching/flexibility standpoint, it’s not for everyone,” Brannigan says. “Stretching in positions that are held or leaned into with your body weight can at times be counterproductive because it can create a lot of stress or pressure in the tissue and joints. Instead, we move in a way that allows the targeted area for the stretch to be relaxed and we follow short repetitive movements to increase mobility more naturally.”
Since I began my regimen with Stretch Science, I have become a total convert. I recommend these sessions to any client who comes to me with pain or tightness. They all return singing Brannigan’s praises. Even if you don’t have an injury, the preventative effects of these therapy sessions are without question worth your time. And the reasonable prices make it a no brainer.
So do yourself a favor, schedule a visit to Stretch Science and allow Brannigan the opportunity to assess you, stretch you and ultimately improve your quality of life.