The Edmond Sun

November 9, 2012

Stretch U helps develop flexibility, mobility

Patty Miller
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Physical therapist John Carey took what he was trained to do for athletes, and has turned it into a business that just keeps growing. Now Carey’s techniques for professional athletes are available to the rest of the population.

“Everyone should be doing some type of stretching,” Carey said.

He has been a physical therapist since 1992 and said he studied manual therapy under one of the top physical therapists is the country.

“I worked and helped her teach at St. Anthony’s spine center in Oklahoma  City,” Carey said. “My fellowship training was at Oklahoma City for seven years and while there I rehabbed Senior PGA golfer Bill Glassen.”

After working with Glassen part-time and the university full-time Carey started working with OSU baseball players including Josh Holliday, who is the new head coach at OSU.

Working with his brother, Matt, who is a professional baseball player, led him to work with additional professional athletes including Lou Scott with the St. Louis Cardinals and Scott Baker with the Minnesota Twins.

Moving to Tulsa he became the director of the South Crest Wellness and Sports Medicine Center before quitting his job to become the personal strength coach with a major league baseball team.

“Stretch U came about because Matt started working with the St. Louis Cardinals and I had family in St. Louis,” Carey said. “My brother-in-law, Joe Horton, and a friend were training for triathlon and I started working with them. Joe said, you shouldn’t just be working with athletes, you need to bring this to the general public.”

Carey, Joe and Rod Myer started Stretch U a year ago.

“We realized that there are a lot of places to work out, but no place to go for flexibility and mobility,” Carey said. “We decided flexibility is the most neglected part, and there was nothing out there just focusing on that.”

Carey drew up a systematic stretching technique.

“I wanted to create something consistent, safe, affordable. Something that would be an effective stretching program. I took my background and came up with the program used at all Stretch U sites.”

Professional athletes have always had the opportunity to work with trainers, but Carey said the emphasis of the company is to bring the program to the general public.

“Right now our oldest client is 94,” Carey said.

As one ages they sometimes become less active and lose muscle tone and ligaments and tendons begin to tighten. This tightening reduces range of motion, Carey said.

“Stretching has been shown scientifically to improve many facets of one’s physical well-being. Some of the health benefits of being flexible include:

• Reduced muscle tension,

• Increased range of motion,

• Enhanced muscular coordination,

• Increased circulation,

• Increased energy levels,

• Improved athletic performance and

• Improved quality of life.

“We researched the market and as far as I know, Stretch U is one of the first specialized places to offer a systematic approach to stretching health,” Carey said.

All of the managers at Stretch U have degrees in athletic training.

Stretch U is also endorsed by Dr. Calvin Johnson, founder of Oklahoma Sports Science and Orthopedic Hospitals; specializing in sports medicine, joint health and cartilage regeneration.

The first stretch is free, Carey said. “This will let you try out the service and you can see for yourself the benefits stretching can provide.”

With shops in Edmond, Nichols Hills, Yukon, Norman and St. Louis, Mo., Carey has been franchising new facilities for almost a year. The Edmond facility has been open for four months.

Valerie Hart is the manager at the Edmond site, 2000 W. Danforth, Ste. 124 (east of Super Walmart).

Call ahead for an appointment or walk-in for a 20-minute session. A 20-minute session is $30. Packages are available making per-session prices lower.

For those who have heard that getting older means not better, they might want to take a second look at Stretch U.