Category: Massage

New State Laws for Massage

The State of Washington has passed new laws and regulations regarding massage. These laws will be taking effect in July or August. Our aim is to have a digital system up and running by the end of June to be in compliance with these new regulations.

These new laws will require a full intake for every client and member, for every massage performed. We will need HIPPA forms signed as well as written consent for certain techniques. The cool thing is that you, the client, will have access to fill out most of the needed paperwork before your appointment so that none of your precious, hands-on time will be affected. Also, you will have full access to your records and can share them with other health professionals to better assist with your care and rehabilitation. Since we will be going the digital route, you will be able to take care of these needed forms from any tablet or device.

We are doing our best to make this a smooth transition for these needed changes. Our aim is that these new policies will not affect how you receive your massage here at the club.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns-

Be in touch!

Jessie Jo Egersett LMP

Maryann Kuchera LMP

Ayurvedic Oils 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 itself 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. With an added assist 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 carry here at the club! I use these oils 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 two.  Tridoshic Shakti 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! It is great for use in Abhyanga (self-massage) and can be mixed in with other lotions to absorb the herbs there in. Tigress Oil is for bumps, bruises, and other boo-boo’s that cause discomfort. Think analgesics! Both I use regularly and highly recommend. I use the same brand for my massage services here, a bit more of a dense, viscous variety that is blended for Ayurvedic massage.

If you are curious, stop by the pro shop and try it out! They are made with love by Sarada Anastasia in Ojai, California and Kerala, India. They are made upon order, very fresh and packed full of vitality! Keep in mind that the skin is the largest organ of the body and deserves the very best!

Be well!

Jessie Jo Egersett, LMP 206.443.1111 x.276

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!

How to find a LMP when you’re traveling outside Seattle

If you will need bodywork while outside the Seattle area, the best way to find a recommendation is to ask your current LMP. Massage practitioners study and go to conferences all over the country and they might be able to give you a name.


If your LMP has no referral, head to the America Massage Therapist Association website

In the gray area of the upper left hand corner click “find a massage therapist.”


The AMTA is the massage industry’s professional association. They require a minimum number of hours of education, continuing education, and adherence to a code of ethics to be a member. Their standards help ensure you are getting a high-quality LMP.


There is also the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork: At their site on the lower left, go to “find a” then click “Therapist”. They have requirements as well.
Finally, try looking up full-service athletic clubs, like ours. They often work with professional and amateur athletes just like we do, and they may have a high-quality LMP in their club.

Managing Stress with Air Travel

We all have stress in our lives, and those who travel with work – especially those on airplanes – can deal with it even more.  Planes, airports, and unfamiliar hotel beds can get the body out of balance, and upset our sleeping rhythms. And there is nothing natural or healthy about changing time zones, or trying to nap on planes or in airports.  What are ways to manage stress when out of town, or just returning home?

Just thirty minutes of exercise can do wonders for our physical and mental health, especially when we are out of our regular routine. A run, walk, swim, yoga class, or any type of workout can help keep us relaxed and balanced. With our lives turned upside down, these activities can keep us grounded and keep the body in something of a routine. Just that half hour of activity can help manage anxiety and stress.
Another way to get ourselves back in balance is to get a massage. Having a session after returning home can calm the body down and make it easier to sleep. The neck, shoulders, and back in particular can hold tension from travel, and having a professional massage can be exactly what’s needed to get back into the routine. An hour on the massage table can help relieve muscle imbalances and tightness in those problem areas, and leave you feeling both relaxed and rejuvenated. Book an appointment after traveling-it may be exactly what you need. There are licensed therapists at the club every day of the week. They are all skilled and have a ton of experience. Try a massage after traveling and you will be happy that you did.

Pregnancy Massage

A woman’s body undergoes profound physical and metabolic changes over the course of pregnancy and massage can be a powerful tool for supporting these changes by soothing and balancing the nervous system and improving many of the symptoms that may develop as the fetus grows.

Many women experience headaches, muscle pain, fatigue, or swelling, and an experienced therapist can reduce and sometimes alleviate any or all of these. Touch is an effective tool for balancing the sympathetic(fight or flight) and parasympathetic(rest and digest) branches of the autonomic nervous system. When in balance, our bodies function better; this is especially important during pregnancy. Massage also increases levels of serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins in the bloodstream, which decrease pain and increase restful sleep and feelings of well being along with other benefits.

There are special considerations for massage and pregnancy, and it is good to consult with your healthcare provider to rule out any complications that could be contraindicated for receiving massage. It is also important to be properly positioned on the table to protect and support the health of the child, either side-lying or with specialized body cushions. Which we do have here at the club and can use upon request. A licensed practitioner will have received basic education in pregnancy massage, and many of us have gone on for more advanced training. Let us know if we can help, we are always available to assist with your  bodywork needs.

Introducing Carrie Nelson!

Carrie came to us with a long history in the Massage field. She graduated from Seattle Massage School in 1996 and has been licensed since 1997. Her interests in massage include sports massage, injury treatment, manual lymphatic drainage, and energetic work.

Prior to her career in massage, Carrie studied anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry at the University of Hawaii. Carrie has a lifelong fascination with science and the natural world and spent 20 years as a medical research technologist at the University of Washington School of Public Health. She loves helping people through touch and attention to detail.

Outside of her work in massage, she is an avid skier, hiker and lover of the natural world. She hails from many places, West Virginia and Minnesota to name a few. She has lived here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest since 1987. She is very happy to be part of our team here at the Seattle Athletic Club and looks forward to being of service wherever it’s needed!

Tricks of the Trade: How We Make Muscles Relax

There are several tools that can be used so loosen tight muscles without causing any pain, and in many cases, banishing any feeling of pain in the muscle that might have been felt before treatment. There is Hold/Relax Stretching, Reciprocal Inhibition, Positional Release Therapy, and Eccentric Contraction, to name a few.

Hold/Relax Stretching is an osteopathic technique in which the practitioner passively stretches a muscle until a small amount of resistance is felt, at which point the patient is asked to contract with equal effort against the resistance provided by the practitioner. This results in an “isometric contraction” in which no movement occurs. This sequence is repeated several times (where each point of resistance is felt) until there is no more stretch to be had, resulting in the muscle reaching its normal length. When this type of stretching is used to remove skeletal deviations when tight muscles pull bones out of alignment, it’s called Muscle Energy Technique.

Next we have Reciprocal Inhibition, which takes advantage of the way the body is “wired.” Most muscles have opposing muscles, such as biceps/triceps or hamstrings/quadriceps. If one wanted to put an ice cream cone to his/her mouth, they would be contracting their biceps. Your body is “hard-wired” so that the opposing muscle (triceps) will automatically relax, allowing the biceps its action. So, say a person was lying on their back, knees up and feet together. We want to make the inside muscle (adductor) relax, but if we try a Hold/Relax stretch, the adductor hurts as we ask it to contract. No problem: we have them press against our resistance on the outside of their knee with their opposing muscle, hold for several seconds, and the adductor will lower into a stretch, pain free!

Positional Release Therapy (PRT) is a technique consisting of passively placing clients’ limbs in various positions, each of which constitutes complete slack (and is painless) for a tight muscle being treated. Each position is held for 90 seconds, which is sufficient time for the nervous system to decide that, since there is no pain at that site, it no longer needs to send a guarding signal. Passive replacing of the limb renders the muscle’s tender point pain free. This is a very relaxing protocol for the whole body (mentally as well as physically), and is particularly effective for neck and low back areas, IT Bands, etc.

Eccentric Contraction is the perfect way to not only get a muscle to “let go,” but also make it’s movement very clean and not restricted in any way. (For the bicep muscles, this is the action of slowly lowering one’s self from a “chin-up”.) Let’s say one has a tight left piriformis, or lateral rotator of the hip. The patient would be lying prone with the left knee bent at a 90 degree angle so the calf is perpendicular to the thigh. Pulling the calf outward (to the left) is restricted. I would take the calf at the ankle all the way over to the patient’s right, then have them “resist me, but let me win” as I pulled the bent leg over to the left. We would repeat this action several times, each time getting farther, and producing freer movement. I suspect this exercise somehow “scrubs” muscle fibers clean of adhesions, which allows the muscle to stretch to its full length, with noticeably more freedom of movement.

By communicating with the nervous system, and using several forms of muscle contraction such as eccentric (“putting on the brakes” as the muscle is stretched), isometric (contraction, but no movement occurs), reciprocal inhibition (contracting the opposing muscle), as well as just placing a muscle in a position of complete slack (Positional Release Therapy), we can easily obtain relaxation for muscles, as well as full range of motion – all without solutions which are often time-consuming … and painful!

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!

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.


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!