Stretching used to be something you squeezed in before or after a workout. Often overlooked in terms of importance, reluctant runners and gym-goers would lazily tug on their hamstrings for a few counts, unaware at how neglecting their flexibility was impacting their overall health and well-being.
Sam Gray on the other hand, a native Jewish Detroiter and Waterford-based chiropractor who has been serving the community for more than 30 years, is no stranger to the importance of flexibility.
“The No. 1 complaint that my patients have is that they feel tight and stiff,” said Dr. Gray. “I truly believe that flexibility is something that we lose as we age if we’re not constantly working on it.”
Jordan Gold, the founder and chief stretching officer of Stretch Zone, also recognized this problem. Gold noticed his clients lack of mobility while he was working in the health and fitness industry in Florida in the early 2000s which led him to create Stretch Zone, a practitioner-assisted stretching studio, in Miami in 2004. By focusing and expanding upon the therapeutic benefits of stretching, Gold created The Stretch Zone Method, taking stretching to an entirely new level and completely reinventing the concept of “the stretch.”
Gray discovered Stretch Zone when he was visiting relatives in South Florida in 2015. Always curious about wellness-based approaches to healthcare, he connected with the corporate team and begin the process of bringing this concept back Detroit. Gray was confident that Stretch Zone would do well in his hometown, he just wasn’t exactly sure where.
Enter Howard Luckoff, Gray’s lifelong friend and an attorney with more than 30 years of experience in real estate law. Finding the perfect location for a Stretch Zone would be no problem. It was the ideal opportunity for the longtime duo to collaborate on something they were both passionate about while bringing a much-needed service to their hometown. With a friendship that spans over 50 years, the two have watched each other age and lose mobility in the process.
“Sam and I met each other on the second day of kindergarten,” said Luckoff. “We have worked on other wellness-based projects together. Flexibility, specifically, has been something that we both realized we needed to personally address. We assumed if we were feeling this way, other baby boomers in the metro Detroit area were feeling this way as well.”
Gray and Luckoff are both involved in the Detroit Jewish community. Luckoff currently serves as president on the JARC Board of Directors. Gray is the lead singer in the Foster Brooks Band, a local cover band that performs at Jewish charity events and neighborhood hotspots.
“From the elite athlete all the way to the senior citizen, having increased motion and flexibility will allow you to perform at a higher level when it comes to having an active lifestyle or performing activities of daily living,” said Gray. “I have encouraged my patients to stretch on their own for 30 years, my guess is that they don’t do it. There’s now a place where people of all ages can go to receive the benefits of stretching while a certified stretch practitioner does the work for them. People are amazed at how they feel when they get off the treatment table.”
The pair now has five locations across the Metro Detroit region; Bloomfield, Royal Oak, West Bloomfield, Livonia and Downtown Detroit, with more in the works. Where exactly next? They don’t know yet, but one’s things for sure; they’re flexible.
Interested in trying Stretch Zone? Visit www.stretchzone.com to find the location nearest to you and set up a free 30-minute trial stretch.