The Backfolde Sanitarium

The term strep­to­ma­nia is de­rived from words strep­to- (Greek: turn, twist, bend) and -ma­nia (mad de­sire, com­pul­sion). Its mean­ing rough­ly cor­re­sponds to "com­pul­sion to stretch" or "com­pul­sive stretch­ing".

Some of the fun­da­men­tal com­po­nents of strep­to­ma­nia in­clude re­cur­ring in­tru­sive thoughts, im­po­tence to re­sist the com­pul­sion to en­gage in stretch­ing, and the re­lease of pres­sure fol­low­ing the act of ex­treme con­tort­ing.

There is a dif­fer­ence be­tween or­di­nary stretch­ing and strep­to­ma­nia: or­di­nary stretch­ing (whether planned, like yo­ga ex­er­cis­es, or im­pul­sive, like a morn­ing stretch) is de­lib­er­ate and is mo­ti­vat­ed by the re­ward won from the act of stretch­ing (such as phys­i­cal com­fort, fame or mon­e­tary val­ue in case of cir­cus acts and the like), where­as with strep­to­ma­nia, there is the re­cur­rent fail­ure to re­sist im­puls­es to stretch one­self even when stretch­ing is com­plete­ly ir­rel­e­vant to one's cur­rent sit­u­a­tion and sur­round­ings (such as rais­ing one's leg to the stand­ing split po­si­tion in a bus, do­ing splits be­tween the seats in a plane, spi­der-walk­ing down the street, sit­ting with one's leg be­hind the head dur­ing school lessons, etc.)

The Back­folde San­i­tar­i­um is the world's first and biggest men­tal clin­ic for youths suf­fer­ing from strep­to­ma­ni­ac dis­or­ders, with or with­out hy­per­mo­bil­i­ty. Re­sults from the on­go­ing study of the phe­nom­e­non of hu­man flex­i­bil­i­ty al­low us to fo­cus on con­stant im­prove­ment of the qual­i­ty of ser­vices, in­creas­ing the ther­a­peu­tic ef­fec­tive­ness on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.

The clin­ic's pri­ma­ry fo­cus is to bring the pa­tient's pas­sion in or­der and turn him from a "spine­less psy­cho" in­to a ra­tio­nal con­tor­tion­ist who can con­trol his nat­ur­al pas­sion and knows ex­act­ly when it is ap­pro­pri­ate to show off his skills and when not.

For that pur­pose the clin­ic has spe­cial­ized gyms where pa­tients can work on their flex­i­bil­i­ty guid­ed by pro­fes­sion­al in­struc­tors, most of whom are for­mer con­tor­tion­ists and cer­ti­fied yo­ga teach­ers.

Pub­lic halls let the pa­tients learn to demon­strate their flex­i­bil­i­ty to an au­di­ence in an or­der­ly man­ner, one flex­i­ble po­si­tion al­ways fol­lowed by a spe­cif­ic oth­er po­si­tion. The se­quen­tial method had proven to great­ly re­duce the ar­bi­trary im­puls­es to stretch right in the street, at school, etc.

The clin­ic pro­vides padded cells for pa­tients in crit­i­cal con­di­tion, al­so known as "rub­ber rooms", spe­cial­ly de­signed for pa­tients ex­pe­ri­enc­ing pe­ri­ods of un­con­trolled ex­treme con­tor­tions.

The Back­folde San­i­tar­i­um is not just a clin­ic. It is a great cen­ter for the "dif­fer­ent" youths where they are able to re­hab and find friends with the same men­tal dis­or­der. Price­less!

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