Author: Tod Taylor

Licensed Massage Practitioner, Seattle Athletic Club Downtown

Tips for Massage Clients

Maybe it is your first massage, and you are just not sure what to expect. Here are some tips for the Massage newbie or anyone who may not be sure about protocol.

Before the Massage

Meals – Avoid eating a full meal for at least an hour before a having a massage. Digestion uses energy, it takes work! And the reason you come in is to relax. Digestion can make being massaged a bit uncomfortable.

Punctuality – Be on time to your appointment. It’s counter productive to arrive frazzled and stressed. Be as relaxed as possible to enjoy the benefits of the session. As a general rule, if you are late it may cut into your session time out of consideration for clients scheduled after you.

At the SAC, most members arrive early and shower or steam before a session to be relaxed and warmed up.

Leave your clothes and personal items in your locker and come in wearing a towel. This way you can quickly hop on the table and your bodywork session can begin right away.

After the Massage

Hydration – Drink extra water after your massage. This helps to flush toxins. The cells in your body release wastes from chemicals in your environment, food additives, and other matter your body cannot use (metabolic waste). Massage manually pushes waste out of soft tissue. Hydrating your body allows for more efficient removal of these toxins.

Getting off the table – Don’t get off the table too fast, fluids in your body have been moved and changing positions too quickly could make you dizzy. Take your time, and let your therapist know if you think you’ll need help sitting up or maneuvering.

Post Massage soreness/discomfort – Post massage fatigue or malaise is possible after an intense massage, due to over stimulation of the nervous system. Remembering to hydrate and relax will help to address this. Soreness as if you had an intense workout one to two days after deep tissue massage is normal. An epsom salt bath or soak in a hot tub can ease the discomfort.

Pain during massage – Some pain can be expected for knots and tension, but it should be a “good hurt.” Always communicate any pain to your therapist to make adjustments. Let your therapist know if you bruise easily or if something is too intense or uncomfortable during the massage.

Breathing – Remember to relax and breathe normally.  Breathing helps to facilitate relaxation.  Some clients stop or limit their breathing when a sensitive area is massaged. As long as the pain is not too much, breathe deeply through it and allow the therapist to work and for the muscles to give in and relax.

Communication

Discomfort – During the massage always notify the therapist of any discomfort. This can be from the massage or the environment like room temperature, level of music or lighting. Please ask about anything you are unsure of. We want you to have a relaxing, pleasant experience!

Assumptions – If unsure always ask, and state what you expect. Assumptions can create awkward situations. It’s not fair to assume that if your therapist is really skilled or intuitive that he or she will immediately know your problems areas. Just communicate what’s going on. We want to know what’s bringing you in for bodywork so we can focus on what you want to accomplish in your session and the areas where you want attention.

Multiple Sessions necessary? Massage really has great benefits over time as its benefits are cumulative. The more massages you get, the better you will feel in general. If you suffer chronic patterns of stress and muscular tension, or if you are recovering from a soft tissue injury, it may take more than one session to get you back in order. Regular maintenance massage or a few sessions scheduled closer together increases long-term benefits, especially if you have chronic tension. Your therapist can make suggestions about frequency and number of sessions and advise on lifestyle practices to help you at home. (ie exercises or stretching to complement your bodywork session)

Massage Duration- One hour (55min) is often enough time to address 2-3 trouble spots on the body. However, if you are a larger person or have several areas of discomfort and still want time for a full-body experience or that extra time on your feet or neck, 85min or the luxurious 115min session are best.

Keep in mind that in a 25 min session your therapist may not be able to address all your problem areas. These shorter sessions work better if you just need a quick decompression of stress or perhaps have one or two specific areas of concern. For example: If you are getting ready for a long bike ride and want a quick work-over of your legs and hips to warm things up, 25 min is great. However, don’t let lack of time keep you from coming in. Half an hour of expert attention is better than no attention at all.

The massage team here at the SAC is experienced and skilled in a variety of techniques. Take a moment to read our photo bios outside the locker rooms. And if you see one of us walking around or in the lobby with the massage chair, we are always happy to answer questions and be of service in any way!

The ABCs of HydroTherapy

Hydrotherapy, or water therapy, is the application of water to promote healing. All three forms of water (liquid, steam, ice) can be used therapeutically.

Advantages to hydrotherapy are:

  • It is almost always available.
  • It is easy to learn and perform.
  • It is painless and has no ill side effects.
  • It is inexpensive and can be done at home or at the gym.

The goal of hydrotherapy is to improve the circulation and quality of blood. This is important because blood delivers nutrients to and removes wastes from tissues and organs. If circulation is poor or slow, healing nutrients cannot be delivered and toxins cannot be removed, which causes degeneration of the tissues and organs. By improving the quality of blood, more nutrients are available for cells to use and toxins are managed more efficiently.

General therapeutic uses of hydrotherapy include:

  • Pain and swelling of injuries
  • Fever
  • Elimination of toxins
  • Antispasmodic
  • Improve immune function

Hydrotherapy treatments include the following:

Baths & Showers
Baths and showers can be healthy and healing. A hot bath or shower can encourage relaxation, reduce stress, and flush out toxins. Adding essential oils or herbs to the bath can enhance the therapeutic benefits. Cold baths and showers can be energizing and stimulating. A rinse of cold water after a hot shower can invigorate, boost the immune system, and improve blood flow.

Hot Foot Bath
A hot foot bath is the immersion of both feet and ankles in hot water for 10 – 30 minutes. It is an excellent way to draw blood from inflamed or congested areas of the body. Indications for use are foot and leg cramps, sore throat, cold, flu, nausea, insomnia, and chest or pelvic congestion.

Cold Compress
The compress is an application of a cold compress to an area that is initially cooled by the water and then warmed by the influx of blood to the area. It is an effective therapy for sore throat, cold, flu, and sinus congestion when it is administered to the throat or feet. When the feet are treated, it is also known as warming socks or wet socks treatment.

Contraindications for Compress
Skin conditions irritated by moisture.

Castor Oil Pack
Castor oil has been used therapeutically for hundreds of years, both internally and externally. Castor oil applied topically has many beneficial effects and can be used for almost any malady. The castor oil pack is a simple procedure, yet it can produce wonderful results. Physiological effects of the castor oil pack include, but are not limited to: stimulating the liver, increasing eliminations, relieving pain, increasing lymphatic circulation, improving gastrointestinal function, increasing relaxation, and reducing inflammation.

You can buy castor oil at most any pharmacy or grocery store. Apply liberally to the area to be treated, such as the abdomen. Place a flannel fabric or tshirt (something you don’t mind gettin oily) over the area and place a hot water bottle or other heating device over the fabric. This is a great thing to do just before bed, as the heated abdomen is very relaxing!

Self-care

In today’s fast-paced world of work, home life and working out, sometimes we forget to schedule a little down time for ourselves. A few minutes of self care every day can go a long way towards reducing stress, relieving muscle fatigue and increasing energy levels.

A massage is a wonderful way to treat yourself and give your body the therapy and relaxation it needs in order to recuperate from intense workouts, heavy exercise or a stressful work week. Here are some things that you can do in the meantime to help maintain a healthy body and relieve stress levels when you don’t have enough time for a full hour of treatment from a specialist.

Heat/Sauna
A good sweat every day is not only healthy for your skin and your circulation, but can also help the body flush out toxins and waste products more efficiently. 20 minutes in a nice hot sauna will help the body flush things out and clear the mind after a workout or a long day. After a sauna, an ice dip or one-two minute cold shower helps reduce the body heat and bring blood supply back to the core and organs of the body. The body is like a sponge. Heat and cold are like the hands that help squeeze out the sponge, clearing out waste products and toxicity.

Water
While spending time in a sauna is very beneficial to your health, it’s very important as well to replenish your body’s fluid supply with fresh water. SAC has filtered water with ice at the café station just outside the locker rooms. It’s a good idea to drink two or three glasses of water to help keep your fluid levels up when having a nice sweat!

Electrolytes
In addition to water, electrolyte balance is extremely important when doing heavy exercise or having a sweat. NUUN and Emergen-C are two great products available that contain a good balance of calcium, magnesium, and potassium to help keep the body’s electrolytes balanced. The SAC Cafe and vending machines also stock coconut water, a natural supply of electrolyte balance which has been said to have the closest similarity to blood plasma available in nature. It’s a great way to rehydrate very quickly. And, it tastes best over ice!

Foam Rolling
Many people know the benefits of a great massage. But sometimes when you need a quick fix, a foam roller can do the trick. The SAC has foam rollers in the mat stretch area upstairs available for you to use at any time. Using the foam roller to slowly roll out your IT band, quadriceps, glutes and back can be a great way to relieve tension on the go. Foam rolling, when done correctly, is very beneficial to the tissue and can help relieve tightness in the muscles and tendons. Ask a member of the fitness or massage staff to show you the correct way to take advantage of foam rolling.

Healthy diet
We all know the benefits of eating a healthy diet high in fiber and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Summer is an awesome time to enjoy the benefits of shopping in the market right next to the SAC. Fresh fruits and vegetables from the area abound. And of course we are famous for our seafood and “flying” fish!

If you need additional guidance regarding nutrition and diet, contact our Nutritionist, Kathryn Reed at 206-443-1111 ext. 261 for an appointment.

Take care and have a healthy, active summer!

How Often Do I Get A Massage?

Here at the Seattle Athletic Club members often ask: How often should I get a massage? Should I book a massage treatment before or after a workout?

Listen to your body
Do your muscles feel sore or your limbs heavy? Or maybe you’re just feeling sluggish or in need of a little “you” time. Leading an active lifestyle with regular exercise, work and the general stress of our daily routine can build up stress on the joints and muscles. Whatever the reason, this is a good time to get a therapeutic massage from one of our highly skilled massage therapists here at the SAC.

Post athletic event (marathon, basketball tournament, spin class, a good workout) are great times for a massage. Have you ever felt really sore the morning after a strenuous workout? Or maybe even a couple of days later? Massage can aide in moving the bi-products of muscle use and heavy exercise through the body faster, keeping joints, tendons muscles looser and ready for more activity and a quicker recovery time!

General Benefits of Massage

  • Massage can help break up adhesions or “sticky spots” in the muscles where muscle fibers get adhered from lots of physical activity.
  • Massage can help decrease your stress level and increase the same hormones that are released when you sleep.
  • Bodywork and touch therapies of any kind are good for a sense balanced mental and physical well-being.
  • Add your own benefits here!

Seattle Athletic Club Downtown Massage Therapists
Check the Seattle Athletic Club website or the photos on the wall near the massage rooms in the Men’s and Women’s locker rooms for more information about the modalities and skills of our great team of therapists. From Thai massage to Sports massage; specific injury treatment or just a relaxing hour of healing touch, you’re in good hands with our specialists her at the SAC!

Call 206-443-1111 to book your next massage.