I Tried A Professional Stretching Service To See If They’re Legit

Now that I’ve been kickboxing several times a week, (early 2019 me would have guffawed at that sentence) my joints and lower back could use some TLC. They feel strained from overuse (getting old, amiright?), and I figured I needed to do something about it. Even though I follow my fitness instructor’s cooldown stretches after each class, my seated trapezius stretch still needs improvement. Plus, there’s only so much I can do with the few minutes I have before I rush to my next task. For that reason and more, I finally decided to hire someone to do the “heavy lifting” for me and help me stretch my sh*t out. After seeing Stretch*d, an assisted stretching space, pop up on my social media feed like an encouraging omen (or, Instagram is just listening to my conversations), I was interested to see what the hype is all about. 

Social media influencers, celebrities, and athletes like The Fat Jew, Sienna Miller, and Brooks Nader have graced Stretch*d since they opened in early 2018. As the health and fitness industry grows, more people (like me!) are taking an interest in their body’s recovery. We put in so much time and effort to get our bodies into shape, and then we abandon them when they need us the most—after our workout sessions. Of course, stretching is more than recovery from stiffness and soreness. It can increase your range of motion, activate key muscle groups, and reduce the risk of injury by alleviating joint stress. It can also help people with neuromuscular diseases and motor function difficulties treat their chronic pain. 

The company’s motto “Get Loose” was definitely the clincher for me; everybody from my manicurist to my physical therapist is always telling me to loosen up. It was about time that I finally took their advice. 

What Is Your Problem Area?

When I first met Stretch*d’s Program Coordinator, Jeff Brannigan, he asked me about my problem areas. I told him that ever since my ankle surgery a few years ago, my left knee bore the brunt of my weight during recovery, and still feels out of whack. During our 55-minute Flex*d session (they also offer a 25-minute Quick*e and 70-minute E*longated) Brannigan mostly targeted my knees, in addition to my hips, lower back, neck, and feet. Most people, he said, have problems with their neck and lower back—which makes sense if you hunch over a desk or computer screen all day. Plus, tension and stress tend to sit in those areas like a pesky younger sibling who won’t get off your back. So, why didn’t I just get a massage, you ask?

Stretches and Massages Are Two Different Things

stretch*d

Before I began my session, I was curious, like many of you are, to know the difference between getting stretched and getting massaged. It turns out, Brannigan gets asked this question a lot. “This is more of a corrective exercise. It will help change the state of the resting muscle. Stretching is a more permanent fix over time. Massages are certainly helpful—it can help reduce tension and pain, but it’s more of a temporary fix,” he explains. In addition to the Stretch*d Method, many of the facility’s stretchers have degrees or certifications in physical therapy, massage, personal training, dance, and yoga. Which, by the way, you can totally tell play major parts in this lauded stretching practice. 

Their Ultimate Goal Is to Chill You Out

Brannigan, who worked on me, has the hands of a healing angel. His movements were very calculated and slow, which is the method he employs to effectively stretch his clients. I almost dozed off halfway through from how relaxed I felt (according to him, no one has ever fallen asleep during a session, which I find hard to believe). The heated tables and neck pad were definitely an added bonus. Giving up control is something I’ve always been reluctant to do—but I was happily surprised to see myself *actually* relaxing and allowing someone else to move my body like a puppet. The most Oh My God moment of the whole experience was when Brannigan implemented the Hyperice Hypervolt Plus—a percussion therapy tool—to relieve any muscle stiffness and soreness in my back. It was such a game-changer that I’m even thinking of buying one to use at home. 

Stretch*mmendations For The Day

stretch*d

After my session (still sad that it’s over), Brannigan wrote a list of target areas with 10-12 reps that I should work on stretching daily. Because yes, there is a wrong way to stretch. “If you do it the right way, it’s a simple solution to seemingly complex problems. With a little bit of time every day, you could see issues that have been plaguing you for a long time, can maintain quite easily,” His team sent over their Stretch*mmendations with accompanying how-to photos including Hello Hammies (lower hamstrings), Side Sweep*r (inside the thighs) Twist and Dipp*r (side/low back), Chest Open*r (chest muscles), and more to practice. He said:

We suggest practicing these stretches on a daily basis – 10-12 Reps / 2-3 Seconds to Hold .

Your stretch*r also recommends coming 1X/ week for a 25 min session to ensure you are getting the maximum results. 

When I got off the table, I definitely felt more loose, but more than anything I felt way, way more relaxed than I did when I walked into the Stretch*d studio. If I had to rate this place, I’d give it a ten out of ten. If I continue to exercise and hunch over my computer screen through 2020 (the latter is more likely) they’ll definitely see my sore butt back on their table in the near future. 

Images: Courtesy of Strech*d

The Ultimate Last-Minute Mother’s Day Gift Guide

It’s a beautiful time of year. The sun is shining, we can drink outside comfortably, and Mother’s Day is coming up. Since moms only get one day a year of celebration when they really deserve about 365, we as friends, daughters, nieces, granddaughters, whatever, need to make sure we are providing them with the perfect gifts. Flowers are nice, but putting some real thought behind a gift for the woman who birthed you (or any woman who birthed anyone, God bless), is nicer. No offense, but it’s true. So here’s a list of brands that we love and fully approve of for our Mother’s Day Gift Guide, and you know you can trust us.

LaserAway

For the mom who’s prepping for her retirement to Florida

If she’s going to be living on a beach, she needs to look hot. LaserAway is her one-stop-shop for laser hair removal, Coolsculpting, Botox, and like, a million other things. If you’re unfamiliar with Coolsculpting, it’s a non-invasive procedure that uses controlled cooling to freeze and eliminate unwanted fat cells. In as little as three weeks, the results will appear and she’ll basically have abs. Jealous? Get a treatment for yourself, too. Because we all know that even though looking fit is fun, the gym fucking sucks. LaserAway has a ton of locations and customers love it so much because they provide treatments that are driven by science, so you know it’s legit. “This stuff really works!” No, but actually it does. Plus they have discount offers like, all the time.

Riley Home

For the mom who deserves to feel like she sleeps in a hotel bed every night

A saint in the streets and a MILF in the sheets. Sorry, that was uncalled for. I deeply apologize. Riley Home has the softest and most beautiful bedding and bath sets and we cannot get over how much we love it all. With their simple but elegant bedding, you can take her room from blah to chic easily. You’ve been hearing her talk about how she wants to redecorate her room for years, right? This is the first step that will get her going and then she can shut up about it forever. Some of our favorite products include the Sateen Sheet Set, Hooded Waffle Robe, and Spa Towel Set.

Drip MediSpa

For the mom who’s DRIPPIN

Okay, so you’ve definitely seen this on TV or at least heard about it. Betch goes out, betch makes bad choices, betch wakes up with a hangover so betch orders an IV drip to bring her back to life. Drip MediSpa is more than just a hangover cure, though. I mean that is the most amazing thing ever, but there are so many other drips on their menu. Yes, you order from a beautiful menu. For the expectant mom, they have a prenatal drip to help control all that nausea and exhaustion. And for the old AF mom (haha sorry, but it’s true) they have a “fountain of youth” drip. Sooo rejuvenating. Book her an IV drip and she will love you SO much! Unless she hates needles. In which case Drip has plenty of other things to offer, like skincare treatments.

Sonos

For the mom who never learned how to use the in-house speaker system anyway

This will probs be easier for her. Fun fact, we bump music at Betches HQ from Sonos speakers and the neighbors are jealous because they think we’re partying 24/7 (we’re not… not partying 24/7). Their newest speaker, the Sonos One, is everything you could ever need in a music playing device. It has a voice-enabled smart speaker, the ability to stream from more than 80 services, and is compatible with our girl Alexa. Basically, mom is about to throw a house party. But yes, you’ll have to set it up for her.

Archipelago Botanicals

For the mom who knew that charcoal was cool like, 2 years ago

Good for you, mom. Archipelago Botanicals has an ah-mazing collection of Charcoal Rose products, and they make it v easy for you by grouping them into cute gift sets. Buy your mom the Charcoal Rose candle so her powder room can smell like something other than her classic potpourri (get with the times, lady). Or she would looove the organic rose water, which is said to clean your pores and give you younger looking skin #vitality. We’re also obsessed with the Charcoal Rose Body Oil because our skin has been dry as fuck due to this horrendous weather (getting better now though, thank you for asking). Basically you can’t go wrong with anything from Archipelago so just like, have at it.

Massage Envy

For the mom that deserves the world, so you’ll send her to a spa

You really can’t go wrong here. There’s nothing that says “you are a perfect human full of wisdom and unique matronly powers and you deserve to be served heaven on a platter” quite like a massage. Good news, Massage Envy is running a special Mother’s Day promotion from now through Mother’s Day. You can purchase $125 in gift cards for her and receive a FREE 60-min facial. Give the facial to her…or yourself, we’ll leave that up to you. You can also get her a membership to Massage Envy, which gives her a reason to make an appointment every month…because again, she deserves it.

Seven Haircare

For the mom who’s best friends with everyone at her salon

Mom, you’re embarrassing me. But at least your hair looks fab. And since she accepts nothing but the best when it comes to haircare, you should definitely introduce her to Seven. Their products are created by a team of stylists who wanted the perfect blends for their salon, so you know their stuff works. Our favorites include their Gazar Diamond Serum, Satara Texture Cream, and Satara Relax Serum. That was really hard to narrow down to just three, though. They have pretty much anything you could ever need to keep your hair in check, especially now that humidity is going to be a thing. No more dull hair, no more fly-aways, no more frizz.

Algenist Skincare

For the mom who’s tried every anti-aging method and product in existence

Chill out, just use Algenist. This award-winning beauty brand has unlocked the secret powers of algae, one of the most nutrient-rich plants in the world, to create anti-aging products with clean and safe formulas. Science! Its natural and clean ingredients make Algenist’s products  non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic, and they’re good for all skin types. So if your mom also happens to be a hippie betch…this is the stuff. Our favorites include their Complete Eye Renewal Balm, Sublime Defense Ultra Lightweight UV Defense Fluid (say that 5 times fast), and their Sublime Anti-Aging Blurring Moisturizer. And they have way more than just anti-aging stuff, they have legit everything to save your skin and you need to check it out.

Shop Betches

For the mom who enjoys the simple things in life (and a good laugh)

Obviously we need to talk about our Mother’s Day cards from Shop Betches. Sometimes we have like, nothing left in our bank account and can’t afford a present, but that just means we have to step up our card game. It’s perfect because the hilarity of the card will balance out the heartfelt sappy note you leave for the most perfect mom. And if you have more than like $6 in your bank, your mom will litttterally die at our “Ask Your Father” hat.

Three Olives Rosé Vodka

For the mom who parties harder than you

She’s gonna be the baddest bitch on the block when she finds out about this. In case you somehow haven’t heard, Three Olives launched their newest vodka this April, and it is rosé flavored. You read that correctly. If there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that every mom in America loves rosé. And now she has something to whip out at dinner parties that get a little rowdy. Or at book club. Either one works. Also it’s pink (duh) so it will just look really pretty as a gift from you.

Fenty Beauty

For the mom who wants to know what all the cool jams are

What’s the 411? Operator, patch me through to Fenty Beauty. That was so dweeby I’m sorry. Anyways…we all know that anything Rihanna touches turns to gold, and her beauty line is no exception. And for the trendy mom, we recommend going with Fenty all the way. Our faves include the Body Lava Body Luminizer to give mom that effortless glow, and the Universal Gloss Bomb which looks amazing on every betch.

Philosophy

For the mom who always has her shit together

Rude that you didn’t pass that trait down to me, but whatever. It’s no secret that we are ob-SESSED with Philosophy. Everything they make smells amazing, it all works great, and there are just so many options to choose from. All our homes are filled to capacity with Philosophy products because we can’t help ourselves. Our favorites for Mother’s Day include their Amazing Grace Candle, which makes your place smell like it’s filled with flowers from your non-existent boyfriend. Also loving their new Amazing Grace Ballet Rose fragrance. Their packaging is so pretty and light so it will look beauteous as a gift.