05 September 2009

New stretching technique debuts in valley

Active Isolated Stretching has had impact across nation
Stretching has long been considered an important part of maintaining a limber and healthy body. However, most men and women, whether they are pro athletes or an average exerciser, neglect stretching. In addition, how one should stretch is a constantly changing issue.

Working thousands of hours to develop a foolproof stretching method, Aaron Mattes, a registered kinesiotherapist and a licensed massage therapist, created Active Isolated Stretching, or AIS.

"I heard about Aaron through a friend of mine who had tennis elbow," said Sun Valley resident Kiril Sokoloff. "I was told Koby Bryant goes to Aaron after every game for four hours."

Sokoloff said Mattes is an extraordinary physical therapist and has a passion for healing. Mattes' method is used by professional and top athletes, and has been adopted by physical therapists and trainers at Zenergy at Thunder Spring.

"It is active isolated stretching, which is very focused on breathing," said AIS-certified therapist Winston Purkiss. "It is a short stretch hold of no more than two seconds. This is the most effective stretching method ever introduced to me."

Purkiss said Mattes is based in Florida and his AIS method came to Sun Valley because of Sokoloff.

"The method has received a research grant by the National Institutes of Health," said Purkiss. "My wife had a stroke and was unable to use her right arm. Sokoloff flew her to Florida to meet Aaron and she was able to drink from a glass. It is not a miracle cure, but it is a method that continues to be effective."

The AIS method is about movement. Mattes created stretches for people to do alone and with a therapist. The AIS method is in a book for $35 available at Mattes' Web site, stretchingusa.com. In addition, Mattes has a variety of inexpensive materials and stretching apparatus available on the Web site.

"You feel more energy through this method of stretching because of the oxygen going through the body to the tissues,; Purkiss said.; AIS helps Parkinson's disease patients, people who are wheelchair bound, stroke patients, people with bunion problems, people with cerebral palsy and those who have had replacement surgery for hips and knees."

Sokoloff is working on bringing Mattes to Sun Valley next June to expose more people to AIS and to do a full training seminar presented by Zenergy.

Lots of people in the valley do a lot of running, biking and a great deal of exercise and need to stretch properly," Sokoloff said. "My wife is pregnant, and she has been doing AIS and has not had any pain. We plan to have work done on our baby too. I believe in AIS. Young children can advance mentally and physically with stretching."

Valley resident Pat Schott, 45, is a full-time painter and avid cyclist. He said he was suffering from back pain and hamstring issues and was almost crippled when he ran into AIS therapist Diane Calvero. Calvero gave Schott AIS sessions at Zenergy, which sold him on the benefits of stretching.

Schott enjoys cyclocross racing and mountain biking; during cyclocross season he is racing every weekend. He said he is up and down ladders all day and the combination of his job and cycling does not do well for the body.

"It's the same breathing as yoga but different," Schott said. "AIS is quick and the results are immediate. I highly recommend AIS."

Appointments for AIS sessions can by made at Zenergy. They cost $85 for members and $100 for non-members. To make an appointment, call Personal Services Manager Mollie Holt at 725-0595, ext. 124.

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