Author: Jessie Jo Egersett

LMP, Massage Director, Seattle Athletic Club Downtown

Tips for cooling down for the summer ahead from your SAC massages department.

*The application of cooling oils such as coconut, Brahmi (Gotu kola), or Mahanarayan. You can do this at home using the art of Abhyanga: self-massage or self-love.

*Adding a drop or two of peppermint or camphor to your oils or body lotions will also increase the cooling effects as well. I find that one drop of peppermint or spearmint on the back of my neck in the hot summer months cools me down a notch. Always do a patch test if you are applying any essential oils directly to your skin as some of us can have adverse reactions and some oils need to be diluted.

*Drinking more cooling liquids- not necessarily cold liquids, as cold liquids dampen the digestive fire from an ayurvedic perspective. Cooling liquids such as coconut water, cucumber water, or water with a little lime in it. There is a reason all those coconuts grow in hot tropical environments!

*When exercising outdoors, bring a neck cooling wrap such as a bandana that you can soak in ice water or even the lake! There are some funny jelly bead-filled neck wraps out there as well. They work wonders for keeping you in the game when it’s hot outside.

*Eating cooling foods! According to Ayurveda, sweet foods fall under the cooling category, Yayyyy! Ripe watermelon, cherries, cantaloupe, cucumber, pears, and mangoes soaked in a little water to remove the heat or urushiol, the chemical that naturally occurs in mangoes that some are allergic to. Avoid hot, spicy, and sour foods to keep your inner thermostat happy.

As always, we are happy to apply cooling oils and lotions to you here at the club as well!
Take care and stay cool!

Inspirational Member of the Month: Ethan Kelly

Those of you who have spent any amount of time here in the early morning know Ethan Kelly.

He has been a dedicated member at the club, pretty much since it’s inception. He’s the guy who always has a smile on at 5 am and is front and center at 6:30- yoga, that is after he’s run a bazillion miles or taken a spin class!

Ethan has a special kind of cool, it’s that gentle, easy-going cool that rubs off on everyone in close proximity. He is super warm, super nice and super strong. He’s the kind of guy you want in your corner routing for you, which is why he has so many fans here at the club. His biggest fan is  his amazing wife, Connie Kelly. One of the many things I admire about Ethan is how loving and dedicated he is to Connie, a true gentleman.

The reason we nominated him this month is to highlight how inspiring he truly is. Ethan had a bout of really serious appendicitis a couple months ago. So serious in fact, that his dedication and athleticism was put to the test and it paid off in full. He spent a lengthy stay at the hospital and came out swing’n! After loosing a good deal of weight, Ethan got right back on that horse and started riding! By the time you are reading this, I’m sure he will be back at his normal healthy weight and training for some sort of marathon! That kind of ability, the ability to move ahead and embrace the present is rare and Ethan has it. I want to thank him for being part of my life and my community here at the Seattle Athletic Club. I know I speak for many of us when I say “We Love You, Ethan!”

November's Inspirational Member of the Month, Ethan Kelly
November’s Inspirational Member of the Month, Ethan Kelly


Abhyanga: The good old practice of self-massage.

The body of one who uses oil massage regularly does not become affected much even if subjected to accidental injuries, or strenuous work. By using oil massage daily, a person is endowed with pleasant touch, trimmed body parts and becomes strong, charming and least affected by old age.’

Charaka Samhita Vol. 1, 88-89

Abhyanga is the Ayurvedic (East Indian Medicine) practice of oil massage. The word for oil in Sanskrit is, Sneha. Sneha can also be translated as, Love. In effect, this practice of oiling one’s body has many therapeutic applications from; the tissues of the body, to the tissues of the heart. Abhyanaga can induce a deep feeling of warmth and stability.

The benefits of abhyanga are many. Ayurvedic medicine teaches that we have 7”dhatus” or tissue layers in the body. As you move deeper into the body, each layer is more saturated with the juice of life. It is taught that to reach the deepest layer, it should be massage for roughly five minutes. Thinking about the whole body and all of its many wonderful layers, 15 minutes would be a great place to start.

Here is what you need for a good session of Self Abyhanga (massage).

  • An oil good for your body. You can start simple with a food grade oil that you have at home; olive, almond, coconut or sesame. If you would like to get more specific you can research the doshas and find which oils are good for you. It is common in Ayurveda to use medicinal oils, oils that are good for your specific constitution or dosha. In Ayurveda there are 3 constitutions (doshas); vata, pita & kapha. There are wonderful tridoshic blends that are good for all types. The club carries one made by my friend, Sarada. It is chalked full of herbs and therapeutic grade essential oils.
  • Warm ¼ to 1/2 cup oil just above body temperature. An easy way to do this is by placing the oil in a vessel that you can put in a mug or bowl of hot water.
  • Find a warm, quite place to sit where you can easily clean up oil if need be.
  • Imagine the oil is infused with sneha, love.
  • Massage the oil into your entire body! Beginning at the limbs and working your way towards the middle section of your body, ending at your abdomen & low back area.
  • Massage the abdomen and chest in broad, circular motions. On the belly area, always massage the large intestine in clockwise circles to move in line with the natural digestive motion. Move up on the right and down on the left.
  • Don’t forget to get the ears! Pay close attention to the lobes and don’t be shy, place a little on your finger tips and work around the opening of the ear canal.
  • The scalp is also a good place to focus, this can be done with or without oil.
  • Hands and feet love it too!
  • After you feel complete, sit quietly and enjoy for as much time as you can spare. Even a minute or two is beneficial.
  • Enjoy a warm shower or bath there after! Ta-da! All abhyanga-ed up!


The benefits are too many to list. Just taking the time to self-care on a regular basis is such a meaningful gift to give one’s self. One of the other wonderful things about abhyanga is that is can be shared with the family. Babies and children benefit greatly from loving, warm touch and partners often appreciate it too!

Inspirational Member of the Month: Dr. Anthony Back

If you have ever spent any time with the morning crowd here at the club than you probably know Anthony Back, also known as, Dr. Tony.  To put it into simple terms, Dr. Tony is an amazing human being in every way.

He’s the guy you see doing everything.  Doing everything consistently and doing it with a smile on his lips and a twinkle in his eyes. He is involved with everything from training to Pilates, he’s in the pool & he explores Feldenkrais too! All of this is done mostly at 6 am, with a few exceptions for worldwide travel in service to humanity which we will get to.

One of the things (of which there are many) I love most about Dr. Tony is his ceaseless curiosity. He has the wonder of a 6 year old child about all things! Dr. Tony never ceases to ask questions, questions that inevitably lead to more questions which creates a deep and often profound search for answers. He is never bothered if an answer does not readily present itself- the answer is in the journey itself and he always seems satisfied with simply exploring.

For such a profoundly accomplished man, he carries himself in a genuinely humble manner. An unsuspected hero of sorts. See, Dr. Tony is intimately involved with the process of dying. He travels the world training doctors, health care providers and hospice workers on subject. He delivers hard news to patients and families with the presence of the Grand Canyon. He is an advocate for all of us as we transition into the inevitable stages of the end of life.

Dr. Tony recently created an app that will help Doctors remain present, open, and patient with clients as they have difficult conversations. He maintains a clinical practice at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance as an oncologist who specializes in the gastrointestinal system & travels the world incessantly to serve as a patient’s advocate, writing papers and publishing books for the medical community about how to cultivate good communication skills. Dr. Tony is also a professor at the UW & Fred Hutchinson and co-directs the UW Center for Excellence in Palliative Care with Dr. Randy Curtis. He also serves as a light for remote societies around the globe, helping to educate communities about the stigma surrounding illness and death. He is truly a Master in having “difficult conversations”.

Dr. Tony shares his exuberance of  life, and it is infectious. I am in awe of his deep spiritual studies and commitment to the betterment of human kind. For so many reasons, Dr. Tony, I bow to you!


Happy December and News from your local Massage Department!

Jessie Jo here, Director of Massage at the club, and I have an important announcement to make in regards to our senior staff members; Julie Bacon and Maryann Kuchera. If you have ever had a massage from one of these two gals then you know what I am about say. They are amazing assets to us down here at the club and without them- I am not sure where our department would be. They really are both rock stars and solid rocks for us.

Julie Bacon started here at the club not long after it opened in 1982. She came to us already well steeped in the industry and has gone on to be a legend in the massage world here in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Maryann arrived on the scene about a decade after in 1992 and has spear headed many things for our department. Including chair massage, and the addition of a second massage room.

Because of their tenure here at the club and dedication to the field of massage we have decided to put them in their own tier, Master Massage Practitioners. Julie and Maryann’s rates will be going up $10 per session as of January 1st, 2015. This is a way for us to recognize their dedication and commitment to us, here at the club. As well as a method to help them as they mature into leaders of our community and educators for us about our bodies!

The rates for all other practitioners here at the club will remain the same moving ahead. We have established that after 20+ years at the club, it’s a good thing to reward the service and loyalty to all of us.

If you have any questions or concerns, I am always available here at the club.

Ayurvedic Oils at the Pro Shop!

New Ayurvedic Oils available in the Pro Shop.

As a long time student of all things yoga since the tender age of 12, I decided to make a commitment to the sister science of yoga; Ayurveda. Ayurveda; the word it self meaning “life knowledge, is the medicinal system of India. The origins date back to 5000 BCE. It began as many ancient practices did, orally. Later it evolved into written form and its roots are evident in the Vedas, primarily the Atharvaveda. I stumbled upon Ayurveda when I met my mentor, Dr. Robert Svoboda while on a yoga retreat high in the mountains of Utah in 2001. He has helped me vastly in the art of living and extracting the best out of life in how I care for myself and others. Part of that journey has involved meeting other

extraordinary practitioners of all kinds. One of which has crafted the oils we are now carrying here at the club and I use primarily in my practice and in my life.

They are of a super special quality, full of Ayurvedic herbs and medicines of the naturopathic vein. I have chosen 2. One is a daily oil that can be used as one would use lotion. It takes a bit longer to soak in after the shower but trust me, it is worth it! The other is for bumps, bruises and other boo-boo’s that cause discomfort. Think analgesic’s. Both I use regularly and highly recommend. I use the same brand for my massage services here, a bit more of a viscous variety that is blended for Ayurvedic massage. If you are curious, stop by the pro shop and try it out! It is made with love by Sarada Anastasia in Ojai, California and in India. Feel free to ask any questions about it that might arise!


Be well!

Now Offering Craniosacral Therapy at the Seattle Athletic Club

What is it?

Craniosacral is a form of manual therapy that focuses on the pulse of cerebrospinal fluid and the subtle motility of the cranial bones.

Where did it come from?

Originally it came out of Dr. William Sutherlands osteopathy in the cranial field in the 1930’s and later evolved into craniosacral therapy around the 70’s. It was headed at the time by John Upleadger and has continued to evolve over the years.

Who would best benefit from it?

People who have sustained head trauma or any kind of trauma that prevents them from receiving or tolerating deep touch. It is also very helpful in addressing headaches and jaw pain.

What can it do for me?

It uses many mainly gentle techniques on the head, face and spine to address held tension or trauma. It also implores the use of intraoral techniques to address deeper structures of the jaw.

Jessie Jo recently completed a 260 hour formal training in CST. If you have any questions about this new-to-the-club style, feel free to be in touch.

Welcome Back, Massage Therapist Janice Eng!

Janice Eng returns to the Seattle Athletic Club Downtown massage team! For those of you who have not been at the club for over two decades, let me introduce Janice Eng. Janice started here when the club first opened in 1982 and was the person responsible for hiring our infamous Julie Bacon on board as well.

Janice has been in the field of bodywork for many years – graduating from the Brenneke School of Massage class of 1980 and receiving a BS from Bastyr in 2001. Janice has gone on to study many modalities of wellness including counseling, neurolinguistics as well as non-violent communication. She also teaches communication skills in prisons and as workshops to those who are interested.

The style of massage that Janice currently provides is very relaxing. She has many skills in the energetic realm of bodywork such as; Reki, Body Talk and Thought Field Therapy. Janice also gives a very nurturing Swedish relaxation style of massage.

Janice is available Sundays 10:00am – 2:00pm and Mondays 11:00am – 3:00pm. To book an appointment with Janice please call the front desk at 206-443-1111 or access her schedule through the member reservation link at

It’s a New Year! Time to Really Take Care of Yourself.

The time has come for those New Year resolutions to be enacted in full-effect! This is the best time of year to get connected with our amazing massage staff here at the SAC, start off the year off on a “good- well-massaged foot”. I tell most of my clients to listen to what there bodies need as the best guide to tell when they are due for a massage. For some, that is once a month and others, once a week.

We all need some good endorphins every so often, I tend to keep a bar of chocolate in my bag at all times and get a good massage every 2-3 weeks. It helps keep the cortisol levels down and the levels of serotonin and dopamine elevated. Researchers have also found increased levels of oxytocin and white blood cells!

If you are looking for a good New Year resolution, getting regular massage definitely fits the bill! If you have any questions about massage or the SAC’s massage staff, feel free to ask questions! Contact Jessie Jo Egersett at or 206-443-1111 ext. 276. To book a massage just talk to our friendly front desk staff or go to the Member Reservation link at

R. I. C. E. What Does That Really Spell?

Rest (keeping movement at a minimum)
Ice (cool it off with an ice pack)
Compression (apply an ace bandage to keep the swelling down)
Elevation (allow gravity to work for you- keep blood from pooling in an already inflamed area)

This is a great acronym to keep in mind after any kind of sprain or strain. It will assist in many ways by keeping any tissue or joint damage to a minimum. In the end it really spells – happier muscle and connective tissue!

Keep in mind massage can also work wonders for your recovery process! Come see us anytime!

Massage rates are as follows:

  • 25 minutes $40
  • 55 minutes $70
  • 90 minutes $100

Have a wonderful spring- with no sprains!!