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Health Club Management

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features

HCM People: Alina & Anna EpeykinaFlexology: co-founders

Realising that people simply didn’t understand how beneficial stretching is for your health, we started thinking about how we could bring stretching to the wellness industry in the UK

Published in Health Club Management 2020 issue 1
Alina & Anna Epeykina
Alina & Anna Epeykina

Can you explain the Flexology concept for us?
We’re the UK’s first dedicated stretch studio, using our own method of stretching, which is safe, well researched and backed up by science.

Our first site, which launched in London’s Canary Wharf in October, is a wellbeing oasis offering a three dimensional wellness experience, combining assisted stretching with healthy snacks and smoothies at the on-site café.

The studio has a futuristic spaceship feel, combined with elements of nature, to create an out-of-reality experience. This offering is a new experience for most people so we wanted the space to feel different, while also keeping an organic and natural environment, because there are not that many relaxing spaces for people living in London.

For each of our stretch methods, we have a different smoothie. For example, to accompany our energising stretch, we have smoothies with ginseng and turmeric, while our fortitude range has chocolate and protein, which is good for recovery and building muscle.

Where did the inspiration for Flexology come from?
We are sisters with a background in ballroom dancing so, for us, stretching was second nature. When we came to London from Russia, we tried lots of different fitness classes, but found stretching was given a very low priority. Only about five minutes at the end of the class, and lots of people were in such a rush that they skipped it.

Realising that people simply didn’t understand how beneficial stretching is for health, we started thinking about how we could bring stretching to the wellness industry in the UK. We spent one year researching different types of stretching and partnered with a movement specialist to develop the method.

What are the benefits of assisted stretching?
Assisted stretches work everything in the body – the muscles, nerves and tissues – and this has a positive impact on both physical and mental wellbeing. When you stretch nerves it impacts your whole body and how you feel. The combination of movements elongates joints and ligaments, unlocking the connective tissue and opening up the nervous system, helping to release muscle tension on a whole new level.

Who is your target market?
Everyone can benefit from stretching, but at our Canary Wharf site our clients are mainly office workers. Most of them sit for long hours in front of a desk, which causes back problems and a loss of flexibility and range of motion.

Also, we are working with those who exercise a lot – runners, footballers and athletes – who use assisted stretching to improve their range of motion, reduce the risk of injury and stop the build up of lactic acid. Yogis are also coming to us as stretching can help improve their practice.

We offer different programmes depending on the client’s goals. For example, the performance stretch for athletes incorporates a lot of push and pull techniques, working with their nervous system and breath, it’s very intense. The relaxation stretch involves holding stretches for a long time, which helps to release muscle tension.

What have been the main challenges with getting the first site up and running?
Educating the market has been the most difficult part, because a studio dedicated to stretching is an alien concept. People like the space we’ve created and assume we offer massage, or yoga, so our flexperts have to explain a lot about the benefits of assisted stretching and we have had to be proactive with the marketing, creating pop-ups in offices. However, we’ve found that people are open and excited to trying something new.

Lots of people ask why they can’t stretch themselves, or why can’t their PT stretch them, but the truth is most people just don’t do it! Flexology provides a real estate environment where individuals can stretch and push their boundaries. Our flexperts can safely push them to their limits.

Were you tempted to include other body work services such as massage or yoga?
Although all of our flexperts have a specialism in some type of body work – whether that be osteopathy or Pilates – we were clear from the outset that we just wanted to provide stretching, in order not to dilute the message or create unnecessary confusion.

What are your plans for the future?
I think assisted stretching will become very popular in the UK, as people start to understand that they need to take care of their bodies and then start to feel the benefits of assisted stretching. We have only been open a month and we still have lots of exciting opportunities to explore and enquiries to follow up.

One thing we are looking into is partnering with local health and fitness operators, sending flexperts into their clubs to offer sessions. Going forward, we are also planning to create a Flexology Institute, where therapists can do the training and become certified flexperts, even if they are not working with us.

Our second London site will open imminently, and then we plan to open one every six months, focusing on London to start with, but eventually going international. London is an ideal city to establish the concept, because it offers so much and people are always open to new ideas.

Stretch menu

Six different assisted stretches are on offer:
1. Executive stretch for office workers
2. Re-energise to kickstart the nervous system, body and mind
3. Unwind – a relaxing session
4. Perform – for athletes
5. Build your own stretch – tailor made for the individual
6. Flex assess – a signature in-depth assessment which is complimentary with every membership or purchase of a bundle of 10 sessions

Pricing

Three treatment lengths are on offer: 15, 25 and 55 minutes.
• A single 15 minute session: £28
• A single 55 minute session: £80
• 10 x 15-minute sessions: £220
• 10 x 55-minute treatments: £700
• A number of secondary revenue generators have also been created: a non-slip stretch mat, water bottles, a loose fitting stretch outfit, fascia release balls and foam rollers, as well as a range of toiletries.

Alina and Anna knew from their background in ballroom dancing how important stretching is for overall health
Alina and Anna knew from their background in ballroom dancing how important stretching is for overall health
The majority of clients at the Canary Wharf studio are desk workers
The majority of clients at the Canary Wharf studio are desk workers
Flexology offers different stretch programmes based on clients’ goals
Flexology offers different stretch programmes based on clients’ goals
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/imagesX/212740_751803.jpg
HCM talks to the sister duo behind the launch of Flexology, one of the UK’s first stretching studio brands...
Alina and Anna Epeykina, Flexology,stretching, stretch studio, Canary Wharf, assisted stretching, Alina Epeykina, Flexology, Anna Epeykina
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features

HCM People: Alina & Anna EpeykinaFlexology: co-founders

Realising that people simply didn’t understand how beneficial stretching is for your health, we started thinking about how we could bring stretching to the wellness industry in the UK

Published in Health Club Management 2020 issue 1
Alina & Anna Epeykina
Alina & Anna Epeykina

Can you explain the Flexology concept for us?
We’re the UK’s first dedicated stretch studio, using our own method of stretching, which is safe, well researched and backed up by science.

Our first site, which launched in London’s Canary Wharf in October, is a wellbeing oasis offering a three dimensional wellness experience, combining assisted stretching with healthy snacks and smoothies at the on-site café.

The studio has a futuristic spaceship feel, combined with elements of nature, to create an out-of-reality experience. This offering is a new experience for most people so we wanted the space to feel different, while also keeping an organic and natural environment, because there are not that many relaxing spaces for people living in London.

For each of our stretch methods, we have a different smoothie. For example, to accompany our energising stretch, we have smoothies with ginseng and turmeric, while our fortitude range has chocolate and protein, which is good for recovery and building muscle.

Where did the inspiration for Flexology come from?
We are sisters with a background in ballroom dancing so, for us, stretching was second nature. When we came to London from Russia, we tried lots of different fitness classes, but found stretching was given a very low priority. Only about five minutes at the end of the class, and lots of people were in such a rush that they skipped it.

Realising that people simply didn’t understand how beneficial stretching is for health, we started thinking about how we could bring stretching to the wellness industry in the UK. We spent one year researching different types of stretching and partnered with a movement specialist to develop the method.

What are the benefits of assisted stretching?
Assisted stretches work everything in the body – the muscles, nerves and tissues – and this has a positive impact on both physical and mental wellbeing. When you stretch nerves it impacts your whole body and how you feel. The combination of movements elongates joints and ligaments, unlocking the connective tissue and opening up the nervous system, helping to release muscle tension on a whole new level.

Who is your target market?
Everyone can benefit from stretching, but at our Canary Wharf site our clients are mainly office workers. Most of them sit for long hours in front of a desk, which causes back problems and a loss of flexibility and range of motion.

Also, we are working with those who exercise a lot – runners, footballers and athletes – who use assisted stretching to improve their range of motion, reduce the risk of injury and stop the build up of lactic acid. Yogis are also coming to us as stretching can help improve their practice.

We offer different programmes depending on the client’s goals. For example, the performance stretch for athletes incorporates a lot of push and pull techniques, working with their nervous system and breath, it’s very intense. The relaxation stretch involves holding stretches for a long time, which helps to release muscle tension.

What have been the main challenges with getting the first site up and running?
Educating the market has been the most difficult part, because a studio dedicated to stretching is an alien concept. People like the space we’ve created and assume we offer massage, or yoga, so our flexperts have to explain a lot about the benefits of assisted stretching and we have had to be proactive with the marketing, creating pop-ups in offices. However, we’ve found that people are open and excited to trying something new.

Lots of people ask why they can’t stretch themselves, or why can’t their PT stretch them, but the truth is most people just don’t do it! Flexology provides a real estate environment where individuals can stretch and push their boundaries. Our flexperts can safely push them to their limits.

Were you tempted to include other body work services such as massage or yoga?
Although all of our flexperts have a specialism in some type of body work – whether that be osteopathy or Pilates – we were clear from the outset that we just wanted to provide stretching, in order not to dilute the message or create unnecessary confusion.

What are your plans for the future?
I think assisted stretching will become very popular in the UK, as people start to understand that they need to take care of their bodies and then start to feel the benefits of assisted stretching. We have only been open a month and we still have lots of exciting opportunities to explore and enquiries to follow up.

One thing we are looking into is partnering with local health and fitness operators, sending flexperts into their clubs to offer sessions. Going forward, we are also planning to create a Flexology Institute, where therapists can do the training and become certified flexperts, even if they are not working with us.

Our second London site will open imminently, and then we plan to open one every six months, focusing on London to start with, but eventually going international. London is an ideal city to establish the concept, because it offers so much and people are always open to new ideas.

Stretch menu

Six different assisted stretches are on offer:
1. Executive stretch for office workers
2. Re-energise to kickstart the nervous system, body and mind
3. Unwind – a relaxing session
4. Perform – for athletes
5. Build your own stretch – tailor made for the individual
6. Flex assess – a signature in-depth assessment which is complimentary with every membership or purchase of a bundle of 10 sessions

Pricing

Three treatment lengths are on offer: 15, 25 and 55 minutes.
• A single 15 minute session: £28
• A single 55 minute session: £80
• 10 x 15-minute sessions: £220
• 10 x 55-minute treatments: £700
• A number of secondary revenue generators have also been created: a non-slip stretch mat, water bottles, a loose fitting stretch outfit, fascia release balls and foam rollers, as well as a range of toiletries.

Alina and Anna knew from their background in ballroom dancing how important stretching is for overall health
Alina and Anna knew from their background in ballroom dancing how important stretching is for overall health
The majority of clients at the Canary Wharf studio are desk workers
The majority of clients at the Canary Wharf studio are desk workers
Flexology offers different stretch programmes based on clients’ goals
Flexology offers different stretch programmes based on clients’ goals
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/imagesX/212740_751803.jpg
HCM talks to the sister duo behind the launch of Flexology, one of the UK’s first stretching studio brands...
Alina and Anna Epeykina, Flexology,stretching, stretch studio, Canary Wharf, assisted stretching, Alina Epeykina, Flexology, Anna Epeykina
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Mindfulness app provider, Headspace, is making a bid to support US-based healthcare professionals curb anxiety ...
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Nearly two thirds (64 per cent) of the world’s health and fitness clubs are currently ...
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Although the facts may seem less relevant now due to the coroavirus pandemic, new numbers ...
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Featured supplier: ZIVA & Physical Company: A new partnership to meet all needs
Physical Company and ZIVA have announced a new distribution partnership that will see Physical Company become the exclusive UK distributor of ZIVA's commercial products.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: RLSS UK - First choice for all aquatic rescue, pool management, first aid qualifications and training
The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) is proud to be the industry leader in water-related safety qualifications and training. More than 40,000 pool lifeguards qualify with a RLSS UK National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ) every year.
Opinion
promotion
The modern training gym champions functional fitness in a small group personal training model, with a premium service experience at its heart
Opinion: Overcome membership attrition with this surprising new industry trend: the modern training gym
Video Gallery
Temple Gym - Nautilus Equipment
Core Health & Fitness
Temple Gym - Nautilus Equipment Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: Focus Training
Focus Training is a leading provider of Active IQ and YMCA Awards certified Personal Trainer ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Technogym
Founded in 1983, Technogym is a world-leading international supplier of technology and design-driven products and ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Management software
Fisikal: Management software
Exercise equipment
Technogym: Exercise equipment
Trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
Fitness software
Go Do.Fitness: Fitness software
Gym flooring
REGUPOL/Berleburger Schaumstoffwerk (BSW): Gym flooring
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Lockers/interior design
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers/interior design
Property & Tenders
Greywell, Hampshire
Barnsgrove Health and Wellness Club
Property & Tenders
Derby City Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
19-24 Apr 2020
tbc, Beijing, China
Diary dates
04 Jun 2020
Marriott Forest of Arden Hotel & Country Club, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
13 Jun 2020
Worldwide, Various,
Diary dates
17-18 Jun 2020
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
06-07 Jul 2020
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Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2020
Loews Coronado Bay Resort, Coronado, United States
Diary dates
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Diary dates
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Diary dates
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