SWAMPSCOTT — A married couple and their longtime friend are banking on the staying power of the latest health and wellness trend.
The trio believes their professional backgrounds in the banking industry, health and wellness, and education provide the perfect combination to be successful in the fast-growing StretchLab franchise.
Craig and Julie Tucci, and John Vaccarezza have opened an assisted stretching boutique on Paradise Road, and plan to open two more StretchLab studios, the next one being in North Reading.
The California-based company was founded in 2015. The number of StretchLab studios operating in the United States has more than doubled from pre-pandemic levels, from 72 to 150, according to a CNN report. Another 600-plus franchises are in development in the U.S. and abroad, the same report said.
The Tuccis said they believe in the benefits that assisted stretching brings to people of all ages. Since their soft launch in early April, the Andover couple said their clientele has run the gamut, from athletes looking to recover from overuse injuries or prepare for races, to sedentary people who need to increase their blood flow and range of motion.
The Vinnin Square studio also attracts a fair amount of older clientele, who are dealing with muscle tension and want to increase their mobility, Craig said.
Not to be confused with yoga, the couple said assisted stretching — which is performed by flexologists who undergo a rigorous training and certification process — can also serve as a supplement to a person’s exercise regimen.
“We try not to label it as fitness,” said Craig, 45. “It certainly benefits folks that are active. It really benefits the whole population.”
“It doesn’t take the place of yoga, but it helps to improve your yoga, running, strength training, or day-to-day tasks,” added Julie, 42.
Julie said they were looking at different franchises to invest in and StretchLab caught their attention. The pair tries to stay active, and for Julie, who has been in the wellness industry for a long time and has worked as a dietician, it was about investing in an industry that she already had experience in, she said.
Also factoring into their decision, the couple said, was that they had both tried and benefited from an assisted-stretching session in a different StretchLab studio.
“Being an avid runner and practicing strength training and yoga myself, StretchLab has helped with the recovery process, improving my performance and mobility,” said Julie. “The more you go, the more benefits you are going to see. As people work harder and get older, they will soon see it is the missing puzzle piece within their wellness and health routines.”
StretchLab offers a variety of one-on-one personalized stretching services, including a 25-minute stretch that concentrates on the client’s current stretching needs, as well as a 50-minute head-to-toe deep stretch that addresses all major muscle groups. Monthly memberships are available for four to eight visits per month, as well as drop-in stretches.
The Swampscott studio will also offer the TRX MAPS machine, which StretchLab describes as a revolutionary machine that identifies movement inefficiencies across four major critical categories: mobility, activation, posture and symmetry. The MAPS score is created using 3D technology to perform a total-body-movement assessment scan in under 30 seconds, as users perform three body-weight squats.
Results are delivered on-screen and via email, which will allow StretchLab’s flexologists to better serve the needs of its diverse members, the company said. This creates a customized movement plan and offers a measurable way to see progress in flexibility.
Given StretchLab is still being introduced in town, Craig said they are also offering 15-minute demo sessions to give people a chance to try out assisted stretching before they commit to a full membership. He said their full-body-stretching sessions are tailored toward each individual’s needs.
Julie said the attraction to assisted stretching is in line with the change that has been seen in the approach to health and wellness. For the past 20 years, the focus has been about how hard someone can push their body, to achieve an optimal fitness level. But now people seek out exercise to take better care of themselves, she said.
“There’s been a change to health and wellness being about self-care,” she said.
Vaccarezza added: “Our goal is to create an inviting atmosphere where all ages and body types are welcome. Stretching is a practice we all know we should do more often and we are here to support each individual’s needs in order for them to feel the best they ever have.”
A grand opening for the Swampscott StretchLab is scheduled for May 20.