Assisted stretching is one of my favorite activities. Today, it is slowly becoming a more common form of exercise, but it was a foreign activity to most everyone when I started practicing in 2002. At that time, there were but a few professional and Olympic athletes that might get stretched, and usually only for rehab. Very few outside of that realm considered partaking in the activity for rehabilitative, therapeutic, or developmental purposes. And of the few that were getting stretched, they were practicing passive stretching, PNF, or contract/relax techniques rather than the new cutting-edge resistance flexibility and strength training techniques that I had stumbled upon.
My initial goal was not to become a professional trainer, but to simply learn a technique that could benefit the health of myself, my friends, and my community. I also wanted to have a skill that I could always offer in any situation in order to contribute something of value. So, I found myself as a young guy in the position of educating others, both because I want them to be empowered with the skill, and also because of my undeniable need to have other people around to stretch with!
I discovered that one of the main reasons I stretch people is so that I can learn what it is that I need to know for my own health. Everyone I meet has a message for me and I think the same is true in reverse. I think that there is an opportunity to trade in this way with each and every encounter. As such, I've always aimed to make myself available to stretch with friends, so that all may serve as health mentors for each other.
Before long, I found myself offering this work professionally because everyone I introduced to it was astounded at the results they had never experienced, nor thought possible. Working in private sessions became one of my primary ways of sharing the practice. I found private assisted stretching sessions to be one of the most powerful ways of helping others. I experience glee when witnessing the changes that can happen from intense hands-on work.
I've found that those who experience greater results are not those who try to go it all alone through self stretching, nor those who over-rely on a trainer to provide assisted stretching, but those who do both. And then there are the few that want to add the third option, which is to also learn how to stretch another person. This is when learning can accelerate significantly, provided the person wanting to do this has the proper biomechanics and level of health necessary to sustainably work with others without degrading their own health.
After a few years of offering private sessions, some of the people I was working with began to ask if they could intern with me. They wanted to not only receive the benefits but also know how to offer value to others. I appreciated their interest, but knew that creating a special program for this purpose would be necessary in order to properly train people and ensure that they had the level of health necessary to meet the physical demands required to offer this work to others.
The enormous physical demands required to exceed the tensile strength in accumulated dense fascia and scar tissue is a foreign concept to most everyone. I often work with two, three, or more people assisting in sessions in order to create optimal results. This allows each of the primary movement vectors to be stabilized by hands that can provide the leverage necessary for any action: concentric strength, eccentric stretch, isometric stretch, isometric strength.
I've worked with NFL players assisting in their teammate's stretching sessions who reported that it was the most challenging strength training workout they had ever experienced, being on the ground pushing and pulling from many physical positions. Beyond physical are also the psychological, emotional, and spiritual forces at play in a session.
The more sessions I offer, the more I need to get myself worked on in order to remove the occupational stress from being under such incredible loads. So when not in private sessions, I have found myself training others how to work on my body and each other's so as to foster a community of mutual health development. I have grown tremendously through this process, yet offering private sessions followed by resting, getting my body stretched, and ensuring that the others in the community are also getting developed has proven to require a significant amount of time and energy.
I've found that offering around ten sessions a week is what most trainers can handle to sustainably work with others. These days, I am careful to limit how much time I spend in sessions so that I may have time to research, create, and develop groups of people that wish to create a sustainable and cooperative healing exchange model.
Over the years, I've worked to educate people formally by managing and teaching certification/internship programs. I experience great joy in working with groups of people, teaching them all how to improve their own and each other's health.
I'm currently evaluating what the future holds in terms of how I wish to work with people and create a sustainable model of healing. I see myself and others healing in beautiful spaces nurtured by nature.
• streams • creeks • lakes • mineral rich hot springs • great views of nature, ocean, mountain • fresh air • sunshine • trees • quiet • temperate • beach • geodesic domes • yurts • cabins • cob, earthbag, and earth plaster buildings • tensegrity structures • solar power • world class architecture • green buildings for education • indoor and outdoor stretching areas and dance floors • walkable gardens • food forests • event spaces and entertainment areas • art studios • amphitheater • trails • natural walking pathways • electric cart pathways • outdoor composting toilets • outdoor showers • industrial sized kitchen • dining halls • organic juice bar and cafe • organic biodynamic farm • permaculture projects • redwood hot tub with hyper-oxygenated water • cold plunge • infrared sauna • dry sauna • steam sauna • hyperbaric chamber • fire pit • sweat lodge • flotation tanks
Please contact me if you are interested in learning the ins and outs of this work, from superficial to deep. I'm happy to be surrounded by health enthusiasts. I'll be sharing more about all of this in time. Stay tuned.