As the founder of Get the Knots Out Therapeutic Massage, based out of Saddle Brook, Diane Cherico was giving 110 percent in every massage she had given for the past three years, and it was starting to take a toll on her. She started getting migraines so bad that if she moved the wrong way she had to lay down all day with ice on her head and neck. Her lower back was hurting and she was starting to experience sciatica.

She had seen flyers for Active Isolated Stretching (AIS), but didn’t believe that one practice could treat multiple injuries. However, after her own experience with injury, she decided to take a course for AIS.

AIS is based on holding a stretch for two to three seconds, rather than 30 or 40. Despite common belief, the longer you hold a stretch is not actually better.

“It just makes the muscle tired and angry,” explains Cherico.

The first time she took the course in 2003 she was overwhelmed with information and says she only used about 3 percent of what she learned. She started stretching her neck using the AIS therapy, but even she admits that she was skeptical in the beginning. Regardless, she continued to stretch and eventually noticed a difference. She decided to take the course again in 2005. By that time, she had come back ready to practice on her clients.

When Cherico describes the type of people she helps, it’s pretty simple.

“People who are in pain,” says Cherico. “People usually come because they have severe pain and have been through the medical gamut. That’s my favorite client because they’re ready to try anything.”

While Cherico believes that physical therapists and doctors are important, she considers herself and other medical massage therapists the true “muscle doctor.” She says that she’s had clients return to their doctors and physical therapists after using her stretching techniques and they were surprised at the results.

Cherico charges $75 an hour in her office and $95 for an in-house session, but doesn’t necessarily want you to keep coming back. After she sends you home with the AIS techniques, she has one request: that you stretch 10-15 minutes every night before you go to sleep.

“My goal right now is to start the natural solution revolution,” says Cherico.

Though it has a ring to it, it’s not just a slogan. Cherico is really adamant about natural solutions due to the fact that many people who are in pain are prescribed muscle relaxers or other kind of pain relievers that never actually fix the problem. Further, unfortunately, people tend to get addicted to them. Cherico says these medications are cover-ups.

“It’s not pulling that muscle back to its original length,” Cherico explains. “When something hurts we tend to baby it and then it kind of gets better. But something got it that way, so whatever you do in your life, it’s likely it’ll come back.”

She explains that anyone as young as a 3-year-old and as old as 90 can do AIS. It’s not a question of physical shape; it’s a matter of healing. Cherico adds that people are so quick to jump into a yoga class but will rarely make the time to stretch at night.

So, how does Cherico plan to share the natural solution revolution with the world?

“I want to get this video out there, a simple 52-minute video that can really change a lot of lives,” she says.

Her video, which sells for $25, includes multiple stretching techniques that can be done on your own and an optional stretching rope for an additional $8.

Her desire to take care of people turned into the opening of her medical massage practice in 1999 and her desire only grows as she reaches a bigger audience, even if that means sacrificing a little bit of money.

“People think I’m losing, but I’m actually gaining,” she says.

If you need to see it to believe it, Cherico has a total of 28 testimonials on her website of people praising AIS and her expertise. Her goal is to sell enough videos so that she can open her own family therapeutic center.

“I would really love to have a place that’s not money oriented but is set out to help families and people who can’t afford it. I’m really passionate about what I do,” she says.

For more information on Cherico and her services, visit www.

By Natalie Zisa

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