One Hockessin business has developed a new, unique wellness service aimed at helping people feel more flexible, have less pain and move easier.
Dubbed “StretchPlex,” Performance Physical Therapy developed the program to promote “wellness that you can feel,” said Steve Rapposelli, co-founder and CEO of Performance Physical Therapy.
Through a wide range of offerings, including therapeutic and healing massages, individualized stretching programs, personal training, compression boots and percussion guns, Rapposelli hopes to improve his patients’ quality of life by boosting their physical strength and flexibility.
StretchPlex is available through a membership program that allows customers to choose services a la carte, in bundles, or via a subscription service, which Rapposelli said delivers the best value.
Prices range from $20 for 15 minutes of assisted stretching, called Stretch-N-Go, to $99 for the Gold Membership, which includes 20% off of unlimited wellness services, one 30 minute compression session a month, one 30 minute Stretch-N-Go session a month and one 30 minute massage session a month.
Customers can also purchase training packages ranging from $40 to $680.
“StretchPlex was designed for active adults wanting to improve their range of motion, reduce muscle tension, increase strength and improve balance,” said John Bradley, co-founder and president of Performance Physical Therapy.
“After the stress of the last 18 months, there’s a renewed focus on individual wellness. People are playing a more purposeful role in their own health. We did the research – there’s a need for wellness services for active adults who want to feel better and optimize their health. StretchPlex delivers exactly that.”
StretchPlex services include:
- Stretch-N-Go: A full body stretch for tight and achy muscles.
- Personal training: Strength, balance and cardio training that will help patients reach their fitness goals.
- Rejuvassage: A combination of stretching, percussion gun therapy and compression therapy that “completely rejuvenates your body.”
The idea for the StretchPlex innovation came from three decades in the physical therapy practice, according to Rapposelli.
“What we found over the years is that when we were finished up with people in physical therapy from their injuries, they’d say to us, ‘What do we do now?’ And we didn’t have good answers,” he said. “So we opened up a fitness center and that seemed to be a really good answer to help people improve their health.”
Often, Rapposelli and his colleagues would be asked by customers to provide stretching assistance.
“People say ‘At the end of the day, I feel tight, I feel tired, my legs hurt, my arms hurt — I would just come in here if you’d just stretch me out.’ Well, if you hear that for half a dozen years, it finally dawns on you: hey, maybe there’s something to this.”
That’s when the Performance Physical Therapy team began to develop the concept that would later become known as StretchPlex. Rapposelli said the wellness program bypasses all the obstacles patients typically face within the healthcare industry.
“If you’re sitting in front of a computer all day and your shoulders are up by your neck, you can just go online, schedule an appointment with one of our body coaches, come in and get assisted stretching and walk out 20 minutes later feeling like you’re an inch taller,” Rapposelli said. “That’s what StretchPlex is.”
Every StretchPlex body coach has a professional degree in some applied science, whether it be exercise science, kinesiology, massage therapy or personal training. Coaches are also required to complete additional training to be certified in stretching and flexibility by the National Academy of Sports Medicine.
Performance Physical Therapy pays for their training and then has coach-candidates shadow current coaches, “almost like an apprenticeship,” Rapposelli said.
He believes that StretchPlex is the first program of its kind in the state — and possibly beyond Delaware, too.
Rapposelli has already received calls from physical therapy professionals around the country looking to license the program.
“We’re definitely going to license the intellectual property that we’ve developed over the last year,” he said. “In other words, we’ve made every mistake so far.”
He said that in developing the service, he’s had to make adjustments to the pricing structure and tweaks to the offerings.
Having made those mistakes and course corrections, Rapposelli said he’s left with a “playbook” that others could refer to in order to get off the ground running.
The pandemic was another factor in Performance Physical Therapy’s decision to launch StretchPlex.
“What we found was that COVID added such a safety concern for our patients that we pretty much shut down the fitness center,” Rapposelli said. “So this once-thriving component of our physical therapy business had to be stopped for health and safety reasons.”
That’s what inspired his team to develop a program that allowed patients to exercise and practice wellness without being in a crowded, enclosed gym setting. Patients enjoy being able to come in and have a dedicated coach to give them one-on-one fitness instruction.
Now, something that started as a side-project to adapt to the demands of the pandemic has evolved into a core business component for Performance Physical Therapy.
The company even offers “ladies nights,” during which groups of friends “come in and get the whole place to themselves,” Rapposelli said. “They get a massage session, a leg compression session, an assisted stretching session, and complimentary glass of champagne.”
But wait, there’s more — Ladies nights are BYOB, meaning “customers can bring in their own drinks if they want, have some hors d’oeuvres, and they’re in and out in about an hour and a half and they get to go socialize with their gals feeling like brand new people.”
Rapposelli said ideas like that have made it hard to keep up with demand.
Having just launched StretchPlex in September, Performance Physical Therapy has already gone from 120 sessions per week to 180.
Rapposelli said StretchPlex is just another example of the First State being first in innovation.
“I have the playbook and it’s successful,” he said. “If it works in Delaware, it’s probably going to work across the country.”
While StretchPlex does accept walk-ins, Rapposelli recommends customers make an appointment online.
To learn more about StretchPlex, visit pptandfitness.com/stretchplex.
Raised in Sussex County, Charlie Megginson graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science and philosophy from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Charlie previously served as a Legislative Aide within the Delaware State Senate. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Delaware Submarine Association, which serves as the civilian support organization for the USS Delaware, Delaware’s namesake warship. To contact Charlie with story ideas or comments, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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