More Than a Stretch: The Archer, a homegrown exercise revolution | Culture Features | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

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More Than a Stretch: The Archer, a homegrown exercise revolution

The Archer, designed by a Bend, Oregon local, is a device that allows for a more complete back stretch.


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It was necessity, the mother of all inventions, that led Londi Palmisano to come up with a better way to stretch. A former massage therapist for 10 years, Palmisano was working in Austin in the 1990s when she started noticing how many of her clients were complaining of back pain and tightness. Palmisano knew the answer was better stretching, primarily in a backward direction. Even bending down to touch your toes requires a certain degree of flexibility, and certainly bending in a backward direction with ease was nearly impossible.

So Palmisano began to imagine a simple device that would put her clients in the right position and allow them to stretch in a backward direction comfortably and effectively. After talking to a builder, friend Palmisano sketched the outline of her idea.

What emerged was something that looked like a rocking ottoman. The name has a two-fold meaning. It perfectly describes the position that users find themselves in throughout the stretching regimen, arched, and it happens to correspond to Palmisano's astrological sign, Sagittarius, The Archer, which is how it got its name.

Palmisano, who also works as a copy editor at the Source, perfected the design and secured a patent on the Archer more than a decade ago. After moving back to Los Angeles, she ultimately licensed the production of her product to NordicTrack after a representative of the company saw her demonstrating the Archer at a Southern California trade show. Unfortunately for Palmisano, NordicTrack, which has been through its share of problems over the past couple of decades, backed out of the agreement and the Archer was never commercially produced. However, Palmisano has sold more than a few of the simple yet efficient product using independent builders over the years. Her own Archer sits in her living room and gets daily use. She emphasizes that because the Archer is "furniture quality," it can be part of your living space, making it handy for getting an effortless whole-body stretch in just a few minutes a day.

"Most exercise equipment ends up being used as a clothes hanger," said Palmisano. "The idea is to have fun with [the Archer], relax, let go and s-t-r-e-t-c-h."

Recently, Palmisano brought the Archer into the Source offices and confirmed what many of us have suspected for some time - we are an incredibly tense bunch. No matter, after a few minutes of gently rocking while splayed across the Archer, gravity was tugging at muscles and tendons that most of us didn't know we had. The Archer was designed to be more stable than an exercise ball, a device that many might substitute for similar stretching exercises. The stretches were effective and it only takes about as much effort to effectively "Arch," as it does to get out of a chair, though Palmisano was quick to point out that a more a intense stretch can be had with the addition of ankle weights and lightweight dumbbells. The idea, said Palmisano, is to let gravity and your own body weight do the work while using the Archer to tweak your relative position, distributing the stretch throughout your body.

Of course, you won't find the Archer on the shelves of your local super store - at least not yet. You won't even see it on a late night infomercial. To get your hands on one, you'll have to e-mail or call Palmisano directly, something she encourages anyone to do if they are interested in learning more about the Archer.

For more info: or call the Source, 541-383-0800 and we'll put you in touch.

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