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A stretch a day keeps the doctor away

Flo Kahlstorf, owner of Minnesota Pines Therapy, is teaching a course about stretching. "If you are not stretching all four sides of the body, then you aren't releasing all of the restrictions that can be limiting movement there," she explains. (Shannon Geisen/Enterprise)

Aches and pains?

Flo Kahlstorf may have answers.

Bringing 20-plus years of experience as a massage therapist and personal trainer, Kahlstorf aims to educate young and old how to stretch major muscle groups.

Her business is called Minnesota Pines Therapy.

Through Park Rapids and Laporte Community Education classes, she is teaching the secrets of how, when and why to stretch.

"My goal is to empower everyone to become familiar enough with their bodies to catch restrictions early on to, hopefully, prevent future problems and to promote the ability to release those restrictions on their own," she says.

Imbalances in body structure can throw off a person's stance or posture, causing pain.

This summer, Kahlstorf's "My Stretches" class is focusing only on the lower half of the body "because it takes four hours to cover every muscle group and show them how to do it and how to test it," she explained. "When you experience the class, it's very fast-paced, but I cover a lot of material."

Stretching is a form of preventative maintenance.

Kahlstorf's one-time instructional seminar covers stretches for the toes, feet, calves, thighs, hips, waist, abs and the lower back.

Students leave her class with a customized, 15-minute stretch routine.

Most everyone knows how to stretch their lower back, but not the front of the waistline or hips.

"It's very important, when someone comes in with a symptom on one side of the body, I always check all four sides because usually if it's a chronic symptom, the problem is on other side of the body," she explained. "What I'm teaching in this class is the same theory: Stretch all four sides."

Medical massage is Kahlstorf's passion, and now she's shifted her focus to teaching it.

"It's so rewarding," she said. "You get more out of it than you give. The unique part of what I'm doing here: There's nothing else out there like this."

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