In 1999, Jorden Gold was just visiting with his grandfather. As the two spent time together, Gold started gently stretching his bedridden grandfather’s limbs. Although the stretching seemed to feel good, it accomplished something even more important: It helped Gold’s grandfather regain mobility.
“He was able to walk and eventually even dance,” says Tony Zaccario, president and CEO of Stretch Zone, the business that grew out of Gold’s experience. Although not everyone has such dramatic changes in physical ability, doctors and physical therapists have long touted the benefits of stretching, including improved flexibility of muscles and joints, decreased chance of injury and better athletic performance.
“Jorden’s idea was that everyone’s grandfather needed this – in fact, everyone could benefit from this – and he wanted to take it to the masses,” Zaccario says. The difference between the Stretch Zone modality and yoga or stretch classes at a gym is the use of what’s known as “practitioner-assisted stretching.”
In one-on-one sessions, clients lie on a table while trained practitioners use a patented strapping system to help hold and stretch specific muscles. “The straps act as a second pair of hands for the practitioner and really help isolate the muscle groups,” Zaccario says. He adds that the technique allows clients to remain relaxed during the session, which is designed with individual goals in mind.
“We work to help reprogram the nervous system’s stretch reflex with gradual, repetitive stretches,” Zaccario explains.
Gold first took his stretching modality to professional sports teams before opening storefront locations for the general public. The business began opening franchises in 2017 and now has more than 400 locations, with at least three new locations opening each week through the rest of 2021, Zaccario says.
The Chesterfield Stretch Zone is owned by former St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Shildt, together with his wife, Michelle, and brother-in-law, Joe Morrisey. “Chesterfield is a Midwestern town with lots of activity, from golf courses and country clubs that appeal to an older crowd [to] colleges that serve younger generations, so it was important that we introduce a company that connects with individuals of all backgrounds and athletic abilities,” Michelle Shildt says.
Zaccario anticipates additional Stretch Zone locations will open in the metro area eventually. “We want people to be aware of the power stretching has to improve your life, from athletic performance to performing everyday tasks to sleeping better because your muscles aren’t tight or cramping,” he says. “I’d encourage everyone to give it a try and see for themselves.”
Stretch Zone, 1636 Clarkson Road, Chesterfield, 636-244-9321, stretchzone.com/locations/chesterfield