Tag: spa

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!

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 www.sacdt.com.

Sitting too long? Feeling tight and sore?

Most of us, whether at the computer, behind the wheel, hunched over our bicycle or in front of the TV, are spending many hours sitting. And that seems to be what we do in our culture – sit. Because of this, certain muscles are in a shortened position, the body gets out of balance, and we feel achy, stiff and cranky. The hamstrings and hip flexors become tight. And the front of the shoulders and chest have been locked in a forward position, and we start to assume a hunched-over posture. Not good – not healthy! The pain is often felt in the low back, hips and the shoulders, among other places.

What can we do about this? A few self-care stretches and postures can really help:

  1. Lie on your back and wrap a towel or strap around the foot. With the knee straight or slightly bent, pull the leg toward you, stretching the hamstrings. Switch sides. Hold each gentle stretch for 30 seconds and repeat a few times.
  2. In a lunge position, with the back knee on the floor (or a mat), lean forward to stretch the front of the hip. Again, hold and switch sides.
  3. If you’re at the gym, or have access to a large therapy ball, drape yourself over the ball – face up – and let the weight of the arms and legs open the body. Gently rock back and forth. Reach the arms out and then up, breathe, and let the chest and shoulders stretch.
  4. Bend forward, keeping the feet apart and knees straight. Lace the fingers together behind you and extend the arms over your back and head as far as possible. Without changing this position, lift your head back in opposition. Hold for 20 seconds, then bend the knees and slowly come back to an upright position.

Being consistent with these self-care stretches and postures will really help with aches and pains due to sitting for too many hours. Ask our massage therapists or personal trainers for help with this, and for other ideas. There is a great hand-out that we can give you called “Computer Posture Exercises”.

And, of coarse, book an hour massage! You’ll be glad you did. Along with you’re routine at the office, home or gym, a professional massage will give you relief and help reinforce the work you are doing on your own. We can help releasing the hamstrings, hip flexors, chest and shoulders. This will get the body back in balance.

Yes, we do spend a lot of time sitting, but with some consistent self-care and a good massage session, we will feel relaxed and healthy again. Thanks for reading this, and feel free to ask one of us for help.

Ice is Nice, but it can be Even Better

Most people know to ice as soon as possible after sustaining an injury, but did you know that if you ice correctly, you can often avoid more serious injury? By serious injury I mean the kind that causes recurring pain for weeks or more and won’t go away with just rest. The key is simple – as soon as you can, ice in a stretched position and ice until you’ve removed all excess heat from the injured area, so that it’s the same temperature as healthy tissue adjacent to the injury.

Icing in a stretched position is critical. For example, if you strained a hamstring, you would place the ice bag directly under the injury and sit on it, on the floor (or 2 chairs), with your leg completely straight and your torso upright against the wall (or chair back). A strained calf could require slightly different stretches: depending on which muscle is injured (there are several). The entire leg could be straight and the foot stretched back toward you with a strap. Or, the knee should be bent while the calf is stretched, and so on. If you’re not sure of the specific stretch for a certain muscle, (or if you don’t know which muscle is injured) ask any of our yoga instructors, personal trainers or massage practitioners.

Briefly, icing in a stretched position achieves two results. First, placing the muscle in a tight stretch causes newly forming scar tissue to be aligned parallel to muscle or tendon fibers. Icing ensures that the scar tissue hardens or cements in this proper alignment. Misaligned scar tissue can result in re-injury: recurring pain with a specific activity. (A massage practitioner trained in injury treatment can help to resolve the issue.) Second, icing until all excess heat is removed diminishes any secondary injury that may be caused by cell death due to lack of oxygen. (Swelling increases interstitial fluid between cells, spreading them farther apart so nutrients have to travel farther to get to cells.) Icing lowers the temperature and slows cell metabolism, decreasing the amount of oxygen needed to survive.

While we’re at it, stretching need not necessarily be part of your warm up. A “warm up” is just that – increasing the temperature in your muscles. A high velocity, low resistance activity is recommended, such as the stationary bike. Spin like crazy (with slight resistance) until you break a sweat – now you’re warmed up. While I recognize that for elite athletes stretching is a mandatory part of their warm up, it’s probably OK for the rest of us to save the stretching until after your athletic activity, when you are at your very warmest.

I’ll finish with a specific incident: while on break during my massage shift I passed one of our trainers in the juice bar. She had just returned from a run and was alarmingly incapacitated, hardly able to walk, and in a great deal of pain. “Bacon!!” she says, “You’ve got to fix me!!” I told her that, as she had just done it, there was nothing for me to fix yet (scar tissue was only just starting to form). I told her to ice herself in a stretched position. When I saw her next, she was lying on her belly, propped up on her elbows, (effectively stretching her hip flexors) resting on a bag of ice at her upper thigh/groin region. The very next day, she was moving with only the slightest limitation and fully recovered, needing no further treatment.

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 jegersett@sacdt.com 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 www.sacdt.com.

Benefits of Using a Sauna

Many of us utilize the warmth of a sauna for relaxation, to sweat out an over indulgence the night before or for rehab after a strenuous exercise adventure; but what does the sauna really do for your body? Here are a couple of facts about that favorite spot in the locker rooms. (Many of the sauna therapeutic trials used a regular schedule of at least 5 days a week and often daily for one to three months, then several times a week for extended periods)

  • The sauna’s benefits can be used by the aged and even infants over 3 months (for short sessions <3 min) It increases your metabolism and pulse rates; thus increasing blood vessel flexibility and increases circulation to the extremities.
  • Some studies suggest that saunas reduce the incidence of the common cold and can temporarily relieve their symptoms
  • Saunas have been shown to help with depression and anxiety disorders
  • It can improve endurance sports performance through the increase in red blood cell production, decreases systolic blood pressure and increases exercise tolerance.
  • Saunas have been shown to help with chronic pain from rheumatoid arthritis and chronic fatigue syndrome
    The sauna has been shown to reduce stress hormones and increase endorphins, but can increase levels of cortisol hormones.
  • Regular sauna combines with exercise has shown to efficiently clear organic chemicals, solvents, drugs, pharmaceuticals and heavy metals from the body.

If you do decide to use the sauna, start gradually. Stay in only as long as you are comfortable, increasing the time with each visit. Remember that a sauna can elevate your core temperature, and should be used after clearance of your physician if you are child or older person who has heart disease or seizure disorders and those who use alcohol or cocaine are especially vulnerable.