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March 12, 2014
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FitLoft, massage therapist and physical therapist team up for one-stop wellness

EDWARDS — It’s a typical day at the FitLoft studio in Edwards — a cyclist is getting measured for a bike fit, someone else is arriving for a workout in the gym, while next door physical therapist Laina Eskin goes through exercises with a client who will then step to the back of the office for follow-up massage work. It’s a one-stop location for a comprehensive approach to fitness and wellness.

That’s the idea behind FitLoft, a new fitness and bike studio tucked away on the second level of the Edwards Commercial Park. Personal trainer and bike fit specialist Jake Wells works with people of all fitness levels, specializing in dynamic bike fitting. The system, the only one of its kind on the Interstate 70 corridor between Denver and Grand Junction, analyzes a cyclist’s movement to find the optimal fit on the bike.

The small, but well-equipped studio is also headquarters for personal trainer Curt Nash, who has worked with a number of the area’s elite cyclists in the gym. But what makes this small outfit even more unique is what’s next door — Eskin is a physical therapist who specializes in a full-body approach to imbalances and injury at her clinic, AlignVail. Jake Wells’ wife, Linda, of Linda Wells Massage, shares the office and has skills in massage, craniosacral work and manual lymphatic draining.

Of course, each of the four see their own individual clients and have worked individually in the Vail area for a number of years. However, when Jake Wells decided to open a bike-focused studio this winter, he saw a chance to create something more. In the few months since the studio opened, the four have already worked together on a number of clients, with notable success.

“The most unique part is that we are all on the same page and are looking at the whole body in a way that encourages successful mobility and strength,” said Jake Wells. “We speak a common language that we all understand, and we know where each person is coming from when we are working with a shared client.”

A full-body approach

Eskin comes from a fitness and Pilates background but turned to physical therapy, partly due to some back problems that plagued her. She found success with her own problems when she stopped focusing on what hurt, and started looking at the rest of her body and the way she moved. The concept, called chain reaction biomechanics, analyzes your whole body under the idea that tightness or incorrect movements in one joint can cause a ripple effect to other parts of your body.

For example, if someone comes in with rehabilitation for a sprained ankle, Eskin might barely look at the ankle itself but instead ask you to walk around the room and do different movements. The problem might come from an inflexible hip, which is then causing your stride to be off, which in turn might have been the cause of the twisted ankle.

“Traditional PT focuses on the part of the body that’s hurting,” said Eskin. “I look at movement patterns. It’s about how one stiff or dysfunctional part can affect all the others.”

A wellness team

When it comes to working with the trainers and massage therapist, Eskin’s work with a client can change the way the Wells’ and Nash structure their sessions.

If Eskin sees a concerning movement pattern, Jake Wells can fit their bike with that in mind, and he and Nash can incorporate exercises that will help correct the problem. Aside from addressing the aches and pains from exercise, Linda Wells can continue the work that Eskin starts with stretching and loosening the muscles.

It goes the other way, too.

“Jake will look at movements he sees in training, and I’ll do an assessment and we can incorporate stretches and exercises that will address the body’s needs,” said Eskin.

The partnership began when Jake Wells, a professional cyclocross racer, discovered the benefits of that approach in his own training. He attended a movement workshop that Eskin held for cyclists, looking to address some lower back pain. What he thought was a weakness was actually caused by the way he was moving his pelvis and tight hips.

“We both saw the benefit of putting together a similar program for a couple of our clients, and with the addition of Linda doing tissue work, we have seen a lot of success,” he said.

Clients see the benefit of working with a whole team of specialists.

“We discuss a person’s whole picture,” said Linda Wells. “They like that we have a team of people there to help them. They’re finding relief from pain, freer movement and more vitality. When we tell someone, ‘We discussed you,’ they are blown away at that idea. They’re glad to have all our resources together to help them.”

Assistant Managing Editor Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2927 or at mwong@vaildaily.com.


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The VailDaily Updated Apr 2, 2014 12:11PM Published Mar 12, 2014 03:42PM Copyright 2014 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.