We all know that stretching is important, but do we know why? Not only is stretching beneficial to muscle flexibility, strength and joint health, but it also helps with stress relief and offers our mind a mental break. In addition, it gives us the opportunity to recharge and stimulate the blood flow throughout our body, resulting in a tranquil and peaceful mindset.
During my 31 Days of Wellness journey, I sat down with Dominique Young—a wellness advocate and stretch therapist at Stretch Workz—to discuss the importance of stretching and how it strengthens our overall health. We even had our own stretch session (which helped me release SO much tension) while chatting about how she discovered her passion and purpose to serve as a stretch therapist.
What is stretch therapy? How is this practice BENEFICIAL to one’s overall well-being?
Stretch therapy, also know as partner assisted total body stretching, is designed to lengthen and realign the muscles in the body while eliminating tension, stiffness and joint pain that one may be experiencing. During the practice, clients are instructed to completely relax their bodies and allow the stretcher to have full control over stretching their bodies, which provides a release of pressure in the muscles.
You are very passionate about stretch therapy and its benefits. How did you discover the profession, and what do you enjoy most about being a stretch therapist?
I began my career as a part-time personal trainer. As I was developing in that field, I learned about partner-assisted stretch modalities, which sparked my interest in stretch therapy. I have transitioned from personal training to strictly focusing on stretching my clients, and I love it. I am very passionate about what I do. I actually consider myself a healer because that’s exactly what I have been purposed to do. When I finished undergrad, I had a friend who took her life. During the funeral, I distinctively remember her sister approaching me to express how much I helped her sister through some of her most difficult times. I just couldn’t conceptualize how I helped her. Now, being in this profession where I can literally see how I am helping people heal, it all makes sense.
As a stretch therapist, my goal is to help people find freedom in their body and relieve any muscular or stress-related issues they are experiencing. When I began my career in stretch therapy, I noticed that a lot of my clients were experiencing a strong release during our session. They often say to me, “Dominique, you are really helping me feel better through stretching my body.” This feedback allows me to fully embrace my calling as a healer because I can actually see results in my clients who visit me regularly. Even when individuals visit me for the first time, they instantly feel relieved after their session.
I really enjoy building relationships with my clients by talking with them during our sessions. Stretch therapy is a form of counseling for some of them as they open up to me and invite me into their lives. My clients talk to me about their dreams and aspirations, and they are inquisitive and equally interested in knowing mine. I’ve even gotten to know some of them personally, including their families. This is the first time in my life I can truly say I am content with the type of work I do. I’ve had jobs in the past I felt I could not contribute anything meaningful to. Being a stretch therapist has allowed me to embrace a part of myself that I didn’t know existed, and I am happily living in that.
The compassionate nature of being a stretch therapist leaves you vulnerable to absorbing your client’s energy. How do you prioritize self-care and wellness to prevent emotional burnout?
To be honest, it can be extremely difficult. There have been days when I’ve left the studio really sad, and I have no idea why. I don’t have room to carry anyone else’s vibrations, so when I finish working for the day, I put my hands on the ground to transmute the unwanted energy back to the earth. I would love to hold space for people, but I just can’t carry any excess energy. The earth can carry anything; it carries us every day, so I release the unwarranted vibes back to the earth.
I define wellness as feeling good in my body and in my soul. Wellness is very important to me because it creates an opportunity to be intentional about my self-care, and it helps me embrace myself as a woman who is purposely taking care of herself. After turning 25, our bodies start to change frequently, so we have to be more intentional about wellness. Stretching is one of the ways I prioritize wellness to avoid emotional burnout from work. Even though being a stretch therapist allows me to be stretched professionally whenever I need a session, I find creative ways to stretch myself daily. It keeps me conscious of how I view and situate my body. It also helps me with confidence because I pay close attention to how I exude myself.
I am so glad that you were able to participate in the #31DaysofWellnesss challenge, and I hope you found it very rewarding. Tell me what you valued most about the 31 Days of Wellness Journal Prompts?
The 31 Days of Wellness Journal Prompts are very eye opening. Specifically, Day 5: “Describe a challenge you are facing,” and Day 6: “Define solutions to overcoming this challenge,” of the journal prompts were the most meaningful for me. It gave me 24 hours to think about how I can redirect my energy to discover solutions to the challenges I identified the day before. Those prompts gave me so much clarity about the importance of putting thoughts on paper and reviewing them. I also enjoyed day 9: “Meditate for 10 minutes and then free write.” It was so freeing for me! I have actually adopted that exercise to be a part of my consistent journaling practice.
Images by Paquilla Jones
Any final words about stretching that the readers should know?
STRETCH. I cannot stress the importance enough! If you want to be fluid, mobile and flexible when you become elderly…start stretching now. The benefits are plentiful, instant as well as long term. Add stretching to your self-care plan, and make it a priority in your wellness journey. I promise you will grow to love and appreciate the practice.
If you are in the DMV area and you are interested in learning more about stretch therapy or you would like to have a personal stretch session with me, please contact me.
I absolutely enjoyed my first stretch therapy session and will be visiting Dominique at Stretch Workz regularly. If you are looking for a way to boost your well-being, this is the perfect addition to any self-care ritual.
Have you have ever been to a stretch therapist or plan to go? I want to know how it went! Let me know below. I wish you wellness…