“You are exactly as powerful as you think you are, regardless of what people say about you.”
Activities: Calisthenics, Strength Training, Stretching, Pole Fitness
Social media: @fasciadancer
Career: Stretch Therapist
Song: Universe by Ty Dolla Sign ft Kehlani
Stretch Therapy is becoming a valuable tool in the arsenal of anyone who is a fan of body work therapy Most athletes are familiar with and often get body work done, to increase recovery time, repair injuries, perform better, or just minimize overall wear and tear. From Acupuncture to E-stim to Cryotherapy there are a litany of therapies that have been developed solely to provide more comfort and overall efficiency of movement.
I became aware of Stretch Therapy, when I met Rebecca almost two years ago. I, like many, was mindful of the importance of stretching, but not the depth of what stretching, therapeutically, can do for one’s overall well being. I asked Rebecca to be a part of MCBMI, because as a former dancer and medical student, I believe her vast knowledge of the human body along with her experiences in therapeutic body work, are vital tools for self care. Now, more than ever before, self care must take priority. Thank you Rebecca for agreeing to be a part of MCBMI and sharing your story of self-acceptance, and knowledge of self care.
Please take the time to read this interview and then join us Sunday Feb, 7th at 2:30 (EST) for a LIVE CHAT on the MCBMI IG page. Feel free to bring your questions for Rebecca!
Q: Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Mineola, NY. My family and I lived in Flushing the first three years of my life, then moved to Valley Stream in Long Island I’ve been a L.I. girl ever since.
Q: Describe your childhood, what was growing up like for you?
Growing up was interesting. We were one of the first biracial families in our area. Kids wouldn’t believe me when I told them my father was black, so I literally would make him come to school to prove he was black. My parents had very different upbringings, being that my mom is a Jewish Caucasian woman and my dad is a Black Dominican man.
Q: Did you play sports as a kid? If so what?
I played a lot of different activities when I was younger. kickball, volleyball, soccer, I participated in school plays, and field days. My mom put me into dance classes at age of three. Best investment in my life thus far was being inundated with movement from childhood.
Q: Everyone goes through a difficult period in their life, a struggle of coming into who you were created to be. Do you feel you went through that , if so, when was it and what was the experience and how did you come out of it?
There are two major experiences that stand out to me.
During my senior year of high school, I decided I was going to be a doctor, and not just a doctor but a surgeon. I am the type of person who when I set my mind to something it is hard if not impossible to let go of. When I found my craft I had to mourn the death of who I thought I was going to be and allow who I was meant to become to shine through. It was probably one of the most trying and tough experiences in my life, I felt like a piece of me had died, but like a Phoenix I was reborn.
The second, was when I found my craft but was dealing with “Imposter”syndrome. The struggle of buckling down to actually commit to it and my business. I was in a toxic relationship, my family was not behind me 100% so I felt really alone with myself and my thoughts; however, I continued to invest in my knowledge and my craft. Once I began to actually believe that there was a space for me, I began to reap the benefits of my craft. That is when FasciaDancer Inc. was born.
Q: Talk about your best life experience so far.
Hands down, my best experience was living in Ghana for a month. I went there for an internship to get first hand experience of different specialties at Koforidua Central Hospital. I always wanted to go to Africa so it was a win, win situation. I was blessed to travel up and down the west coast of Ghana. I stayed at resorts, hiked up mountains, travelled through the simplest of villages, and best of all assisted with surgeries. Being in an operating room is like a high that I cannot explain. My favorite surgery was when I assisted with a leg amputation. As it was sawed off(with a standard saw that you would buy at Home Depot) I caught and held the leg. It was the coolest shit I have ever done.
Q: Before I met you, I had never heard of a “Stretch Therapist.” How did you come across the position and what made you decide to do it for a living?
I owe it all to my brother, he is an incredible football player. Back in 2017 he got injured during a game and could lift his leg more than a few inches off the ground without limitation or excruciating pain. Someone I went to highschool with did FST so for his birthday I brought him in for a session. By the end of that first session, he regained complete range of motion in his leg, I will never forget the look on his face when he could actually move his leg again. It was at that moment I realized either this man performed literal magic in front of me or I could do the same thing, if not better because of my background. The rest was history. I got my Level 1 certification in Nov 2018 and haven’t looked back since.
Q: What is the best career path to take for someone interested in becoming a Stretch Therapist?
The best path to take is to understand that you are forever a student. Read and learn everything. The Fitness and Health Industry is constantly shifting. You have to be ahead of the curve to provide value to your clients. Always stay on top of new updated information. Also NETWORK, NETWORK NETWORK. Your network is your net worth.
Q: How often should one stretch?
You should stretch everyday. If possible multiple times a day.
Q: Can you over stretch? If so, how can you prevent it from happening?
Absolutely, if you are someone who is rather sedentary and you do an intense flexibility class you are likely going to be super sore over the next couple of days because your body is not used to it. It is best to listen to your body and not your ego when stretching. That is always the best injury prevention.
Q: Should you stretch before you workout?
Yes and no, I believe it really depends on what the focus of your workout is. I believe light stretching with mobility work is the ultimate warmup.
Q: Do you believe foam rolling complements stretching?
You know it is very rare, if ever, that I foam roll. It depends on the individual and what their body likes. My brother foam rolls daily and it makes him feel amazing.
Q: What are the benefits to using a stretch therapist and how often should you see one?
A great stretch therapist will take you down a path of execution to your movement goals. Whether that is doing a split or just being able to tie your shoes without pain.
They also will cater your program to what your body needs and not what their ego feeds off of.
Ideally you should see your therapist once a week. If that’s not feasible every two weeks is also great. However, one must begin doing their homework in the interim and not wait for the therapist to “save them”.
Q: Should you warm up before you do a stretch session? If so, do you recommend static or ballistic stretches for the warm up?
There Is no need to warm up. A great Stretch Therapist will assess your body accurately to know what the body needs to move optimally.
Q: There are obvious benefits to stretching, what are a few benefits that are not as well known?
A few benefits many are unaware of are: mental clarity, improved breathing, stress relief.
Q: What do you do to stay active?
Other than stretching clients, I go for walks everyday, stretch, do calisthenics and strength training. My favorite workout is pole in my exotic heels.
Q: When working on increasing flexibility, what can you do to prevent damage to connective tissue?
The best things you can do are: listen to your body, breathe and don’t let your ego get in the way.
Q: Do you find stretching can relieve ailments that one would not think are connected to tightness?
100% yes. It can bring relief from TMJ, migraine, neuropathy, ocular migraine, gut disorders, plantar fasciitis, and so much more.
Q: Can your diet affect your range or motion? If so, what things can someone incorporate into their diet to improve range of motion?
100% yes. Ideally for optimal movement one needs to be drinking plenty of water, eating water filled foods. If you are eating processed acidic food you are literally filling your body with garbage and that is what you are operating on.
Q: What advice would you give your younger self?
You are exactly as powerful as you think you are, regardless of what people say about you.
Q: Give me a song that you love to listen to. A go to favorite.
Right now the song giving me life is Universe by Ty Dolla Sign ft Kehlani
Q: Do you have a healthy recipe you would like to share for breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
My favorite breakfast is when I juice two Apples and Strawberries then blend that juice with Blueberries, Blackberries, Papaya, and Dragon fruit
Q: Why did you agree to be a part of MCBMI?
I feel like it challenges the standard of what strong means. It is not just about being physically strong. It is mental, emotional, neurological, and spiritual. Which are all things I like to live by day in and day out.