07 Jul 2020 World leisure: news, training & property
 
 
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SELECTED ISSUE
Health Club Management
2020 issue 1

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Leisure Management - Alina & Anna Epeykina

HCM People

Alina & Anna Epeykina


Realising that people simply didn’t understand how beneficial stretching is for your health, we started thinking about how we could bring stretching to the wellness industry in the UK

Alina & Anna Epeykina
Alina and Anna knew from their background in ballroom dancing how important stretching is for overall health
The majority of clients at the Canary Wharf studio are desk workers
Flexology offers different stretch programmes based on clients’ goals

Can you explain the Flexology concept for us?
We’re the UK’s first dedicated stretch studio, using our own method of stretching, which is safe, well researched and backed up by science.

Our first site, which launched in London’s Canary Wharf in October, is a wellbeing oasis offering a three dimensional wellness experience, combining assisted stretching with healthy snacks and smoothies at the on-site café.

The studio has a futuristic spaceship feel, combined with elements of nature, to create an out-of-reality experience. This offering is a new experience for most people so we wanted the space to feel different, while also keeping an organic and natural environment, because there are not that many relaxing spaces for people living in London.

For each of our stretch methods, we have a different smoothie. For example, to accompany our energising stretch, we have smoothies with ginseng and turmeric, while our fortitude range has chocolate and protein, which is good for recovery and building muscle.

Where did the inspiration for Flexology come from?
We are sisters with a background in ballroom dancing so, for us, stretching was second nature. When we came to London from Russia, we tried lots of different fitness classes, but found stretching was given a very low priority. Only about five minutes at the end of the class, and lots of people were in such a rush that they skipped it.

Realising that people simply didn’t understand how beneficial stretching is for health, we started thinking about how we could bring stretching to the wellness industry in the UK. We spent one year researching different types of stretching and partnered with a movement specialist to develop the method.

What are the benefits of assisted stretching?
Assisted stretches work everything in the body – the muscles, nerves and tissues – and this has a positive impact on both physical and mental wellbeing. When you stretch nerves it impacts your whole body and how you feel. The combination of movements elongates joints and ligaments, unlocking the connective tissue and opening up the nervous system, helping to release muscle tension on a whole new level.

Who is your target market?
Everyone can benefit from stretching, but at our Canary Wharf site our clients are mainly office workers. Most of them sit for long hours in front of a desk, which causes back problems and a loss of flexibility and range of motion.

Also, we are working with those who exercise a lot – runners, footballers and athletes – who use assisted stretching to improve their range of motion, reduce the risk of injury and stop the build up of lactic acid. Yogis are also coming to us as stretching can help improve their practice.

We offer different programmes depending on the client’s goals. For example, the performance stretch for athletes incorporates a lot of push and pull techniques, working with their nervous system and breath, it’s very intense. The relaxation stretch involves holding stretches for a long time, which helps to release muscle tension.

What have been the main challenges with getting the first site up and running?
Educating the market has been the most difficult part, because a studio dedicated to stretching is an alien concept. People like the space we’ve created and assume we offer massage, or yoga, so our flexperts have to explain a lot about the benefits of assisted stretching and we have had to be proactive with the marketing, creating pop-ups in offices. However, we’ve found that people are open and excited to trying something new.

Lots of people ask why they can’t stretch themselves, or why can’t their PT stretch them, but the truth is most people just don’t do it! Flexology provides a real estate environment where individuals can stretch and push their boundaries. Our flexperts can safely push them to their limits.

Were you tempted to include other body work services such as massage or yoga?
Although all of our flexperts have a specialism in some type of body work – whether that be osteopathy or Pilates – we were clear from the outset that we just wanted to provide stretching, in order not to dilute the message or create unnecessary confusion.

What are your plans for the future?
I think assisted stretching will become very popular in the UK, as people start to understand that they need to take care of their bodies and then start to feel the benefits of assisted stretching. We have only been open a month and we still have lots of exciting opportunities to explore and enquiries to follow up.

One thing we are looking into is partnering with local health and fitness operators, sending flexperts into their clubs to offer sessions. Going forward, we are also planning to create a Flexology Institute, where therapists can do the training and become certified flexperts, even if they are not working with us.

Our second London site will open imminently, and then we plan to open one every six months, focusing on London to start with, but eventually going international. London is an ideal city to establish the concept, because it offers so much and people are always open to new ideas.

Stretch menu

Six different assisted stretches are on offer:
1. Executive stretch for office workers
2. Re-energise to kickstart the nervous system, body and mind
3. Unwind – a relaxing session
4. Perform – for athletes
5. Build your own stretch – tailor made for the individual
6. Flex assess – a signature in-depth assessment which is complimentary with every membership or purchase of a bundle of 10 sessions

Pricing

Three treatment lengths are on offer: 15, 25 and 55 minutes.
• A single 15 minute session: £28
• A single 55 minute session: £80
• 10 x 15-minute sessions: £220
• 10 x 55-minute treatments: £700
• A number of secondary revenue generators have also been created: a non-slip stretch mat, water bottles, a loose fitting stretch outfit, fascia release balls and foam rollers, as well as a range of toiletries.


Originally published in Health Club Management 2020 issue 1

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