In military circles, the term “R&R” is often associated with leisure activities when members of the armed forces spend time away from their usual duties. An abbreviation for “rest and relaxation,” the meaning refers to both mental and physical aspects of the individual.

For those with demanding jobs, such as professional athletes or those who perform manual labor tasks on a daily basis, prioritizing rest and relaxation is an essential aspect of the necessary recovery that must take place to maintain optimal performance on a consistent basis. Reliable work requires repeated physical exertion and human beings are not robots.

This paradigm was not always been properly emphasized by personal trainers and fitness guru’s of the 20th century. Even today, well-meaning, good-intentioned instructors may fail or forget to articulate the importance of allowing the body to recover after a stressful, strenuous workout.

As this wise fitness counsel has spread across the country in recent years, the industry has taken notice. Some of the newer products and services now available in the marketplace were spotlighted in an article published this week by Good Morning America. Story author Katie Kindelan expounded on the burgeoning movement, writing:

Five to six times a week, Danielle O’Brien, a 32-year-old nutritionist in New York City, hits the gym or a boutique fitness studio for a workout.

Sounds typical, but on top of those workouts, O’Brien adds into her workout schedule an of-the-moment trend in the fitness world: recovery. 

She invests nearly $400 a month in a membership at ReCOVER, which bills itself as New York City’s first dedicated recovery studio. The studio also offers a la carte treatments that range in price from $25 to $130. …

O’Brien now incorporates into her weekly fitness schedule sometimes twice-daily sessions at ReCOVER, doing everything from sitting in an infrared sauna to resting in what almost looks like a spaceship but is actually a CVAC (Cyclic Variations in Adaptive Conditioning) system that fluctuates atmospheric pressure.

She also uses the studio’s NormaTec Air Compression sleeves, which look like another prop from the space age but actually “deliver a rhythmic air massage to help mobilize fluid in different parts of your body,” according to ReCOVER’s website. …

Recovering from a workout is something that seems intuitive but has actually taken a back seat for many exercisers infatuated with the thrill of intense workouts like spinning, CrossFit and high intensity interval training (HIIT). Now, as those workouts catch up with people’s bodies, recovery is taking center stage, experts say.

Trends in the 21st century move quickly, as boutique exercise was once perceived as a fad and is now considered a mainstay in the fitness landscape. Will the same be true for acute recovery treatments?

To read Kindelan’s full writeup, which includes quotes from O’Brien, click here.