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November 15, 2006 5:14 AM   Subscribe

Recommendations for one-on-one intensive flexibility therapy in London.

I'm looking for something that's not quite sports massage, not quite regular massage, but something that will specifically increase my flexibility.

My flexibility declines rapidly, even with regular stretching - and I know a thing or two about stretching. In particular my shoulders, calves and hamstrings shrink rapidly. Any therapist working on my calves always tells me to stretch them, to which I answer "I do", and the rejoinder is always "Then do it more." But I digress.

What I'm after probably qualifies as the "lazy person's stretching alternative": is there some sort of physical therapist who can stretch, twist and contort me while I lie back and think of England? I'm specifically after stretching here, I go elsewhere for injury treatment.

This question is inspired in part by memories of a TV programme about some western guys visiting a bath-house in Turkey. After being soaped and scrubbed, they were subjected to the attentions of a wizened old geezer, who twisted them in knots and stretched them like elastic. Maybe I'm after a sanitised (i.e. safe) version of this? If so, what is it called? Where can I find it? Specifically, can anyone tell me where to get this sort of treatment in London (UK) and does anyone have any experience of it?

I'm currently trawling through search-engine results for "Turkish massage in London", and maybe I'll look for Thai and Indian massage too. However I'd really like personal recommendations and experiences. Also I'd really like to know the name of what I'm looking for!

Caveats: I'm not asking about joining a gym, nor going to any sort of classes like yoga, pilates, Feldenkreiss (sp?), Alexander technique, etc. I want one-on-one attention. I'm also not looking for advice on stretching routines, thanks anyway. (Seriously, I am *not* looking for this advice, I'm pursuing those enquiries elsewhere.)
posted by ajp to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total)
don't shout at me; I know you said no yoga classes. but you did say one-one one attention, and I did find this: Yoga Therapy

From the link: Both one-to-one consultations and specialised group classes are available for people who wish to use yoga therapy to help them with their medical conditions (emphasis mine). They're based on Pentonville Road.

Also (and you've probably already found this): Thai massage in London: "This unique and complete system of Yoga therapy combines rhythmic massage, acupressure, gentle twisting, deep stretching and meditation." Based in Knightsbridge.

No personal recs, I'm afraid, although I am tempted myself (as a yoga fan) to try both of these.
posted by corvine at 5:52 AM on November 15, 2006

Aye, a Thai massage is what you're after.
posted by the cuban at 5:55 AM on November 15, 2006

Is there a reason your sports therapist doesn't already do this? I know mine does. Are you going to athletic physical therapy or just regular injury therapy. If the latter, I would look specifically for the former.
posted by dame at 6:40 AM on November 15, 2006

Thai massage or Thai yoga bodywork is definitely what you're looking for.
posted by smich at 7:25 AM on November 15, 2006

If you're looking for flexibility gains above everything else, try looking into PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation) or AIS (Activated Isolated Stretching) practitioners.

I've had a lot of success with AIS on my own, but both of these techniques are designed primarily for a patient-therapist pair.

Thai massage will likely help, and will make you feel better, but if you're really interested in maximizing your flexibility, look into these techniques and find a practitioner (no personal recs, as I'm several thousand miles away)

(Note, PNF takes a decent amount of effort on your part to contract certain muscles as the therapist works. AIS fits more into the lie-back-and-become-flexible category)
posted by sdis at 10:50 AM on November 15, 2006

Second the AIS recommendation. Strongly.
posted by callmejay at 12:56 PM on November 15, 2006

I've had some success with ART. It's quite amazing how well it works.
posted by aeighty at 1:12 PM on November 15, 2006

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