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Health Club Management

Health Club Management

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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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    Latest News
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    Latest News
    A new industry support association, Fitness United, launches today (1 June) to bring suppliers and ...
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    Corporate broking and advisory firm, Peel Hunt, has issued a 'buy' recommendation for shares in ...
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    Opinion
    promotion
    Hedgehog Concept Ltd has developed software that allows its clients to track usage and customer volume on a minute to minute basis.
    Opinion: Is your software fit for COVID-19?
    Featured supplier news
    Featured supplier: Incorpore and MoveGB ink groundbreaking partnership to transform corporate wellness offering
    Incorpore and MoveGB have entered into a landmark partnership, combining the UK’s largest provider of corporate gym memberships with the nation’s biggest network of classes.
    Featured supplier news
    Featured supplier: Bicester hotel opens purpose-built performance facilities to attract new target audience
    The Bicester Hotel and Spa has launched purpose-built fitness and performance facilities to create a standalone, unique offering to attract a new demographic to the site.
    Video Gallery
    Technogym mywellness app
    Technogym
    Improve your training experience. All your data in a single app. Read more
    More videos:
      Company profiles
      Company profile: Safe Space Lockers
      Safe Space have over 25 years of experience in the UK leisure and fitness industry, ...
      Company profiles
      Company profile: TRIB3 International Ltd
      First established in Sheffield in January 2016 TRIB3 is a bootcamp boutique studio designed to ...
      Catalogue Gallery
      Click on a catalogue to view it online
      Directory
      Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
      Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
      Design consultants
      Zynk Design Consultants: Design consultants
      Management software
      Fisikal: Management software
      Wearable technology solutions
      MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
      Trade associations
      International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
      Fitness equipment
      Stages Cycling: Fitness equipment
      Locking solutions
      Monster Padlocks: Locking solutions
      Exercise equipment
      Matrix Fitness: Exercise equipment
      Independent service & maintenance
      Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
      Fitness software
      Go Do.Fitness: Fitness software
      Property & Tenders
      Greywell, Hampshire
      Barnsgrove Health and Wellness Club
      Property & Tenders
      Derby City Council
      Property & Tenders
      Diary dates
      13 Jun 2020
      Worldwide, Various,
      Diary dates
      06-07 Jul 2020
      Eastwood Hall, Nottingham, United Kingdom
      Diary dates
      28-31 Aug 2020
      Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
      Diary dates
      21-24 Sep 2020
      Loews Coronado Bay Resort, Coronado, United States
      Diary dates
      01-02 Oct 2020
      Whittlebury Hall, Whittlebury, United Kingdom
      Diary dates
      11-12 Oct 2020
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      Diary dates
      17-23 Oct 2020
      Pinggu, Beijing, China
      Diary dates
      27-30 Oct 2020
      Messe Stuttgart, Germany
      Diary dates
      30-31 Oct 2020
      NEC, Birmingham, United Kingdom
      Diary dates
      27-28 Nov 2020
      Athena, Leicester, United Kingdom
      Diary dates
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