Stretch, please! The significance of stretching becomes more apparent when repeated movements and strain on your body – from intense typing in the office, sitting at your desk all day, or too many awkward squats and heavy lifting at the gym – take a toll. All of a sudden, you can’t move your body the way you used to, you’re thinking “Am I just getting older?” and you’re heading to the doctor’s. You find out you’ve got some form of office syndrome or you’ve pulled a muscle or disrupted a nerve somewhere in your body. An energy healer will tell you your meridians are all messed up. Oh dear. Of course, the first thing the doctors suggest is probably the worst thing you could think of: surgery. Let’s try to not go there!

Hero and featured image: Stretch Me by Let’s Relax

In some cases, of course, surgery is necessary but, let’s be real, sometimes that option is suggested all too quickly, without weighing in on the alternatives. Don’t take our word for it, and of course come to your own conclusions on this, but based on personal experiences, certain and specific stretching exercises really help alleviate the pain, specifically pain caused by office syndrome.

Are you doing this non-stop all day?

Following months of an excruciating and growing pain in the hand, arm and neck  – which doctors suggested was a sign of carpal tunnel syndrome – we went through a series of other ways to tackle the pain, anything but surgery. On top of being quite costly, somewhere deep down we felt that there must be an alternative to  this incredibly invasive and perhaps dangerous option. Also, we weren’t too convinced on the doctor’s diagnosis, but that’s another story.

We tried a Thai massage; perhaps that was a bit too soon or they were being a little more heavy-handed than normal (oh dear). We tried ultrasound therapy, which definitely relieved the painful symptoms for a day or so. But often, we carry on with those habits that are fuelling the problem, thus the problem persists. We tried acupuncture; again, great for relief and if done religiously can help immensely. But what worked first and foremost was a change of routine; being more mindful when engaging in that habit we do so regularly – in our case, it’s sitting at a computer for hours on end and typing very fast – that is causing the stress and strain to our muscles; perhaps taking it a little easier, finding another way to get the job done or taking regular breaks from it every half an hour or so. Also, another tip: find time to chill out! Stress just adds fuel to the pain and makes it worse.

But something else that really helped was stretching exercises, before we begin the day and also at the end of the day. There are special neck and wrist rotations you can do, or 3-minute seated yoga routines and a number of other office-friendly workouts to tuck into every day. Stretching your arms and legs is crucial if you’re sat in the office all day and also a proper warmup with targeted stretching is incredibly important if you’re hitting the gym hard. But what if you’re not an expert in the types of stretches you need to engage in, that fit your particular lifestyle choice – office-worker, traveller, sporty person?

Stretch Me by Let’s Relax was honestly an absolute life-saver when it came to finding some sort of expert, consistent and ongoing relief from muscle tension and pains. On all occasions we went, we had the ‘Office’ package (THB 1,200) which is advised for people who are experiencing symptoms around the arms, neck, shoulders, or back. The hour-long treatment starts with a consultation with a certified therapist who pin-points your needs. The session itself consists of back-focused stretching, trigger point relieving, sitting posture stretching and more. With four branches across Bangkok, the studios have certified therapists who actually assist you in stretching and trigger point pressuring. Other packages include ‘Traveler’, for those who use their legs a lot, ‘Sport’ for those experiencing muscle stiffness from exercise and ‘Ultimate’, for those who have multiple muscle problems and just don’t know what to do with themselves.

Stretch My by Let’s Relax provides comfy t-shirts and jumpers to change into for the best possible experience

The best thing about this service is that you walk in and let the experts do the work. Take a break from the madness of city life (de-stress), lie down on a comfortable bed for an hour and let the therapist take over. They move you into certain positions, pin-point your tension points, apply the right amount of pressure and pull you in different directions, all with the aim of relieving the tension in your muscles, getting the energy flowing freely through your meridians again and giving your body that correct movement it has been lacking. At points, we felt we were doing a simple yoga routine, except we knew we were doing it exactly right as the therapist ensured all our positioning and movement was correct. Whether you move too little, or you move too much in the wrong way, the main message is that the right movement will help you re-balance.

The benefits of stretching are of course endless. It eases muscle pains, reduces the risk of prolonged injury, improves your posture, makes you more mindful of your body and much more. The physical therapists at Stretch Me by Let’s Relax help us get the most out of each stretch by offering their guidance and expertise, providing the right stretching techniques and giving that “little extra push” our bodies need. The studio’s walls are also adorned with uplifting messages such as “Give yourself time” and “Don’t rush the process, good things take time” which is quite powerful, providing motivation to guests who are either in a lot of pain, or just plain lazy.

The branches are spread out across Bangkok, at ICONSIAM, Central World, 101 The Third Place and, most recently, Ginza Thong Lor at Hotel Nikko Bangkok. Although it’s a bit out of the way near BTS Punnawithi, the studio at 101 The Third Place was by far our favourite as it was there that we received the best and helpful treatment. Not only did we walk away feeling better, less stressed and more revitalised, but we also were given tips of stretches we could do outside the studio. But for those who really like having someone guide you through stretching, effectively doing the stretches for you, Stretch Me by Let’s Relax is your go-to. We were really happy with the service and can say our bodies are thanking us for it! So far, no surgery, so the stretching – and less stressing – is working!

Stretch Me by Let’s Relax has four locations at ICON SIAM (5th Floor), Central World (1st Floor), 101 The Third Place (2nd Floor) and at Hotel Nikko (2nd Floor). For more information, visit www.stretchme.studio.

 

 

Catherine Napalai Faulder
Catherine is Bangkok born and bred and knows the angles of the city and its people very personally. You'll often catch her writing about the upsides of Thainess, the richness and diversity of Bangkok's third cultures and the true meaning of wellness.