The Coast News Group
Angie Cohen (bottom row, left of center) with Stretchlab staff at the franchise’s new studio in Solana Beach. The studio had garnered 200 memberships by the time it opened its doors in mid-December, after hosting several “pop-up” booths in the community. Photo by Lexy Brodt
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Local fitness studio brings ‘flexologists’ to mainstream

SOLANA BEACH — As a wave of fitness options takes hold of Solana Beach, the Beachwalk Shopping Center’s Stretchlab studio offers a “flexibility journey” for anyone from the sedentary to the fitness guru.

A national franchise founded in Los Angeles, Stretchlab has found its first San Diego home in Solana Beach. Stretchlab offers assisted stretching, in which a certified “flexologist” works hands-on with a client to reach their fitness and flexibility goals — whether that means up’ing an already active life, or soothing a chronic injury.

For owner Angie Cohen, a 10-year Solana Beach resident, what really attracted her to the Stretchlab franchise was the openness — “it’s for everybody and for every body,” she said, mentioning that stretches can be customized per individual.

“It doesn’t matter what your background is, or who you are, this is something that everybody can do,” she said.

Stretchlab opened its doors on Dec. 20, with seven flexologists on staff offering stretch services to clients. The part-time staff come from all walks of the fitness world: the holistic pain management practitioner, the physical therapist, the pranayama yogi. What they all have in common is a two-year national certification in health and wellness and 100-plus hours of training in theory and hands-on technique.

For Cohen, building the right team for Stretchlab meant creating a community space and family atmosphere.

“I wanted to build a little family amongst my employees, and that has always been at the forefront,” she said. “Because I know if I take care of them, they’re going to be happy and satisfied, and take care of the community.”

All staff are trained in a stretching method called proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF), which involves a flexologist positioning you in a stretch, and having you contract specific muscles.

Cohen, who has endured her fair share of injuries, said she has seen PNF work wonders for people — individuals who have tried everything are in tears after their sessions because something was “unlocked” after years of failed attempts. Cohen calls the concept a “newer modality in the self-care and recovery space.”

Cohen used to be a regional sales manager for a pharmaceutical company for 15 years. After experiencing a debilitating back injury and pushing for a more fitness-forward lifestyle, Cohen was looking to get involved in the fitness world beyond her frequent spin sessions — which she said is where her passion lies.

Although she looked at other franchise options, Cohen said that Stretchlab checked all the boxes, and fulfilled her desire to open up a community-oriented business close to home. She looks forward to offering a high-end environment to those in the community, bringing assisted stretching to the mainstream.

“We’re making sure everyone has an experience when they walk in the door,” she said. “ … we’re here to make people feel good.”

Stretchlab offers 25-minute or 50-minute one-on-one stretches as well as group stretches, with monthly rates from $139 to $449 a month. The studio will have its official grand opening on Saturday, Jan. 12.