Renew Movement. Photo by Aimee Heckel

Renew Movement: A New Kind of Bodywork


As a CrossFitter, Ashley O’Connell knows firsthand the challenges of pushing your body hard. Soreness, tight joints, mobility issues, overused muscles, a pinch here, a click there.

But O’Connell also understands the passion behind sports — that compulsion to challenge yourself and push your limits, even when it get uncomfortable. The typical Boulder athlete knows you don’t just stop when your body’s alarms start flashing. For many, quitting just isn’t a conceivable option.

Yet pushing through those warning lights can lead to more serious injuries that ultimately force an athlete to forfeit.

O’Connell thought there had to be a better way to mitigate that pain, weakness, tightness and limited range of motion — a method that addressed more than just muscles or the skeleton or one isolated part of the system.

She began searching for a more holistic way to solve the body’s most common dysfunctions at the root, and when she didn’t find what she was looking for, she pulled from a variety of existing modalities, added some unique techniques and invented a solution herself.

She calls it Renew Movement.

Renew Movement recently opened its first facility at 1061 Courtesy Road in Louisville.

The lobby of Renew Movement. Photo by Aimee Heckel

It began in 2014 as a training company, but it grew over the years, as O’Connell continued creating, testing, building and refining the techniques. Her she pulled from her degree in exercise physiology, her 200-hour yoga teacher training and her background in Reiki, Fascial Stretch Therapy and numerous other energy modalities.

In 2016, her path crossed with several other coaches, who would later join her in becoming founding members of the business. Renew Movement founded in 2018 and opened doors December 2018.

The community response has been overwhelmingly positive, O’Connell says, drawing world-class athletes across all kinds of sports, as well as non-athletes who just want to live without aches and pains. Clients typically deal with repetitive-use injuries, chronic pain, aging or sports injuries. The response has been so big that just weeks after its grand opening event, Renew Movement was gearing up to open a second location in Denver.

The specific techniques of Renew Movement are proprietary, but it is a fusion of bodywork and movement. Clients (fully clothed) meet with a coach, who does a detailed health intake and tries to identify the sources of the issue (often not at the source of the pain or tightness, which may be a compensation for another dysfunction).

Renew Movement. Photo by Aimee Heckel

The coach uses specific types of pressure and pinning, and coaches you to move your body through certain patterns. This releases fascia and muscle adhesions (knots), which opens up the joints and body. These deep knots are often the root cause of painful conditions, and Renew Movement helps dissolve them.

As Renew Movement’s website explains, “Your body needs space to move.”

In the true Boulder spirit, Renew Movement also brings in the mind-body connection.

“Everyone has a complex equation of physical and emotional energy. Finding the right energetic space that allows for maximum release is a knack of mine,” O’Connell says.

Meet the Masters

All of the Renew Movement staff has been trained as “master coaches,” and they have a wide range of backgrounds.
For example, Kirsten Dunn worked for 23 years as a personal trainer, has a master’s in exercise physiology with a concentration in biomechanics and specializes in pelvic obliquity.
Jim Fricker has been licensed in massage therapy since 1992. Mary Decker has a background in multiple sports. She has studied kinesiology and exercise science.
Then there is Emily Wishall, who has a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and is a certified Rolfer, Art of Feminine Presence teacher and a Reiki practitioner.
Finally, Em Geeves is a registered yoga teacher, level 2 Fascial Stretch therapist and a certified “trauma-informed” yoga teacher.

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