I can hear a voice somewhere in the distance and can feel my body going through some intricate manipulations, but I’m miles away. It’s not that I’m relaxed; it’s that I’m so relaxed I feel I could be on the precipice of a glorious coma-like transcendence. Welcome to the world of Fascial Stretch Therapy (or FST to those in the know). The go-to treatment for everyone from elite and professional athletes through to tightly-wound corporates and anyone suffering mobility issues due to age, injury or illness, FST is like the love child of the best massage and yoga sessions you ever had.
I bowl up to Restore Prehabilitation & Recovery tight through the shoulders and neck from long hours chained to the desk following rolling end of year deadlines and lightly achy in the spine due to the heavy lifting of the homemade-railway-sleeper-outdoor-furniture-variety. I’m greeted by the visions of health that are Restore Prehabilitation & Recovery’s owners Barry Adams and Liv Bates, whose decades-spanning experience in the health and fitness industry, along with their own health issues, led them to the US-based Stretch to Win Institute. The pair, the South Island’s only Institute-trained and certified FST practitioners, explain what FST is: a stretching regime targeting the connective tissue – ‘fascia’, which surrounds muscles, bones, joints and organs – that regular stretching can’t reach. They then take me through a full-movement assessment (note to self – do more lateral core work) before the treatment itself.
I lie down on the FST table, which is similar to a massage table but with elasticated leg restraints, and Liv instructs me to relax as she begins stretching the lower half of my body. “Be like a jellyfish,” she says, “Your legs belong to me now.” She manoeuvres my legs in all directions, rotating and manipulating joints, and wrangling my body into stretches and postures I never knew my body could make. It feels like an epic workout and while there’s some slight discomfort with some of the more elaborate stretches that are new to my body, it’s a pain-free and blissful disconnect. By the time Barry tags in to stretch my upper body, I’m well on the way to Zensville. Having worked my entire body, the treatment reaches its crescendo with a frisson-inducing neck stretch.
Groggy, spent and deliriously euphoric, I ease myself up on the table, and after a few moments to pull myself (somewhat) together, Barry takes me through a ‘body reset’. I feel taller, leaner and there’s literally zero tension in my body. What’s more I’m super-connected and aware of my movements, while a niggling, 30-year-old injury that’s restricted the movement of the toes on my right foot is seemingly reversed – said digits are now able to pick up a pencil off the floor. The next day (following one of the best sleeps ever) some handy ‘homework’ pops up in my inbox – tips on whipping that errant core into shape. I don’t want to say FST might have changed by life, but …
Restore Prehabilitation & Recovery
03 379 9929
2/494 Manchester Street