Seattle Culture

Tips for Post-Workout Wellness and Recovery

How to avoid injury and recover from your workout

By Sarah Murphy and Jennifer McCullum February 15, 2017


This article originally appeared in the February 2017 issue of Seattle magazine.

Peace and Quiet 
The bustling heart of downtown Seattle is likely the last place you would think of searching to find your Zen, but that’s just what Urban Yoga Spa (UYS) offers. The one-stop shop for workout, recovery and relaxation—spread over 9,000 square feet—houses three studios for hot and non-heated yoga classes, and, on the second floor, a dedicated spa space where aspiring yogis can find relief for aches and pains as well as activate their bodies’ natural healing process with Reiki and massage sessions. On their way out, customers can grab a cup of Stumptown brew or freshly pressed juice at UYS’s newly renovated coffee bar. The 360 overhaul of UYS was completed last year when Andrew Hirsch purchased the studio after deciding to leave his product development job in tech, embrace his inner peace—and create a community. “When you come to Urban, you will feel welcomed by all,” he says. We can say om to that. Urban Yoga Spa, downtown, 1900 Fourth Ave.; 206.420.0222; 

Seeing Spots 
When all eyes were on Rio last summer watching the U.S.’s elite athletes pursue gold in the name of red, white and blue, another color caught everyone’s attention: purple. Specifically, the dark, circular bruises that dotted celebrated Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps’ back. The marks were a result of the ancient Chinese healing method of “cupping,” believed to speed recovery and reduce pain. The practice entails placing glass cups upside down on the skin and using heat or air to create suction, which pulls the skin away from the muscle and causes capillaries to rupture, creating the telltale bruising. Cupping proponents say it stimulates blood flow, balances the body’s chi (the vital life force that sustains all of us internally, according to traditional Asian medical philosophy) and provides a release for built-up toxins.

Cupping marks from a treatment at Yuan Spa

Modern medical science offers mixed reviews about the efficacy of cupping, but Yuan Spa in Bellevue is among the local places that offer the treatment ($65 as a 30-minute additional service or $120 for 60 minutes), so you can test the results for yourself. “Our clients who come in for this service can’t do without it,” says Sasha Sampson, the spa director. “While they might not be Olympic athletes, their muscle tension is just as intense to them, and cupping offers a world of difference in alleviating it.” Yuan Spa, Bellevue, 1032, 106th Ave. NE; 425.449.8788; 

Damage Control
Sports physician Jon Drezner, M.D., has seen all kinds of injuries and issues of overuse in his work with the city’s top athletes, including players on the University of Washington men’s basketball team and the Seattle Seahawks. But he knows how to help athletes of any ability stay healthy. Here’s his advice for avoiding injury and improving fitness.

• Warm up. “As we get older, we need more time to warm up, are more prone for soft tissue injury, and our joints have more degenerative problems.” When starting a new program, begin and build slowly. “That means increasing slowly over two to four weeks, even months, to allow your body to be fully adjusted.” 

• Be patient and consistent. “The consistency of exercise is more important than the intensity of exercise,” he says. “You can get a lot of the health benefits from walking, gardening, playing sports; doing a minimal amount of physical activity can take many forms.” 

• Do a physical activity you enjoy, for 30 minutes from three to four times a week. “If you’re doing something you like, that feels good, you’re more likely to continue,” he says. “The goal is for everyone to remain active for life.” 

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