In January, Lymbr opened its doors. But don’t be mistaken, this isn’t a new yoga class; it’s a personalized elongating session with a “stretch therapist.” Yes, overworked parents and over-exercised millennials can pretend they’re Gumby, for thirty minutes to an hour.
When I walked into the new studio, I expected to find a workout class packed with millennials in athleisure, going through a series of elaborate poses. Instead, Lymbr is more like physical therapy, with a dash of a chiropractic session thrown in for good measure—but they don’t accept insurance.
Lymbr promises to expand “the boundaries of health and wellness through personalized stretching.” They use their own special method, called Progressive Dynamic Stretching, to move bodies through a series of overhead movements—i.e. the type of stretches you learned in gym class, where you move your arms above your head and behind your back.
Each session is customized to the client and either focuses on the arms or legs, which can become especially tense or sore from an excessive schedule of spin or barre classes (in fact, they often team up with nearby fitness studios to offer a dedicated post-class stretch).
The sleek, open studio houses about a dozen padded tables for guests who want to stretch their legs, each one separated by opaque panes of glass. There’s also a section of padded leather chairs, for those who want to focus on arms. I opted for arms, which meant that I stared at myself in a mirror for thirty minutes while I moved my arms above my head by small measures, then in front of my body, then by my sides, continuously swinging out and back. Basically, I moved my arms in every position I’ve ever thought of, plus plenty that I hadn’t.
Each time I thought my arms shifted as far as they possibly could, my personal stretch therapist assured me that they could go farther up, down or around my body. Of course, my therapist checked in regularly to make sure she wasn’t hurting me, as the experience isn’t about being uncomfortable–instead, it’s about moving your body in ways you usually wouldn’t, but probably should if you’re particularly active. It was akin to a seated massage, only I was doing half of the work.
Each therapist has to graduate from Lymbr Academy, where they undergo 100 hours of training. Many hold degrees in personal training, sports medicine, physical therapy or massage therapy. Their technique is devoted to continual movement, focusing on muscles you usually don’t think about, even if you consider yourself a bonafide yogi. No matter how much you workout, you’re probably not used to pushing your stretches to the limit, with help from a trained professional.
While a stretching studio seems peak Manhattan, it’s actually existed for two years in similarly bougie locals, including Darien, Connecticut, Boca Raton, Florida and Newton, Massachusettes. And they just keep popping up, with Power Stretch Studios in Montclair, New Jersey and Washington, D.C.’s Bendable Body.
It might seem like an absurd endeavor, but the dedicated studios allow people to move past their natural resistance points. It’s like when your yoga teacher moves you deeper into Downward Dog, only your entire body is involved.
The sessions are a bit of a splurge for something you could do in the comfort of your own home, considering 30 minutes costs $55 and a full hour costs $100.
At that price, I would personally prefer a massage, where I could zone out, without flailing my arms around wildly. I’d even prefer a visit to the chiropractor, as their adjustment tools make it seem like you’re getting your money’s worth. But after my visit to Lymbr, I felt more relaxed than I had in recent memory, and I experienced far less neck and back cracking than normal.
If you don’t feel like doling out $100 for a session at Lymbr, you’re better off just taking a yoga class followed by a massage. It will practically guarantee the same results.