East Bay Massage: Welcome


I am a Certified Massage Therapist through the state of California and am certified to practice Esalen massage through the Esalen Institute. I also practice Craniosacral therapy and draw on these modalities to tailor each session to the client’s needs. Other modalities I practice include pregnancy and infant massage, deep tissue, hot stone, and Reiki.

I work primarily as a massage therapy vendor for the employees of SAP-Dublin. My office here is open Monday-Friday, and I book appointments beginning at 11 am. If you are an employee of SAP-Dublin, you can schedule your appointment by clicking the “online scheduling” button and selecting the service you are interested in. You can also email me at Amanda.Flasck@sap.com, or ring x 8116. Discounted packages of three are available for any service!

For the public, I have an office in the lovely Montclair neighborhood of Oakland, CA. You can find me at the Montclair Wellness Center located at 5737 Thornhill Dr., Suite 203. I am currently taking appointments for Sundays here. You can book a session by clicking the “online scheduling” button and selecting the service you are interested in. Be sure to select “Amanda Flasck–Montclair” as the provider. You can also email me at amandaflasck@massagetherapy.com, or call (510) 282-6248.

The source of my interest in the healing arts has always been my curiosity in the connection between the mind and the body. We truly embody our thoughts, beliefs, trauma, and stress in the expression of muscle tension, chronic injuries, and protective posturing. Bodywork, through the practice of therapeutic touch, can serve to ease dysfunction and pain while encouraging the body to find natural balance– its unique expression of health.

I look forward to working with you in the pursuit of greater health.

Be well,

Amanda Flasck, CMT

Buyer, Be Aware!

Do you know what you’re getting when you opt for the “cheap” massage?

It seems it’s hard enough to make time for ourselves—“self-care” can feel all too often like a luxury of time and money. We may be struggling to give ourselves permission to be first for a moment. It makes sense that when we do decide to replenish our dwindling reserves that we would want to be sure it fits within budget.

We’ve all seen those $25 massage specials advertised. Compare that to the $85 massage place, and it can seem that there’s really no comparison at all, right? Why pay more for the same service? Isn’t being a good steward of money important, and don’t we deserve the best value?

The answer to both those questions is yes. It is important to use money wisely, and you do deserve the best value you can find. But do you know what you’re getting when you patronize places that sell massage for $25 an hour? The answer concerns both you and the person providing your service.

In most cases, your massage therapist does not get to keep the money they charge for the service provided. Most spas keep at least 50% of the cost of your service, many pay out a flat fee to their therapists, or simply pay minimum wage. Some businesses partner with discount sites and pass on the reduced fee to their massage therapists, which means they earn even less on the massage than usual! Add on to that the fact that oftentimes, massage therapists work within complementary health care clinics where tipping is atypical or even not allowed, and the take-home pay for that session can be alarmingly low.

Massage is such a unique combination of skills—it requires physical stamina, specialized education, and a personal quality that allows clients to relax in your presence. Most professional massage therapists are physically unable and ill-advised to perform more than 25 hours of hands-on time per week. Massage therapists can fall victim to the same conditions for which their clients seek massage. Repetitive stress injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, lower back pain, sprains/strains are all common enough injuries massage therapists endure when they tax the reasonable limits of the body.

It may seem that massage is no big deal—you may trade shoulder rubs with your partner on movie night. No one’s gotten hurt yet, right? It’s not like getting a massage could actually hurt anyone! Wrong-o! Massage professionals know the best techniques in their tool kit to help you most effectively. They know what to watch out for, and can suggest you see your medical doctor if they notice anything amiss. A colleague once ended a massage much to her client’s annoyance due to symptoms of a deep vein thrombosis she noted. In this instance, the therapist recommended a trip to the ER where DVT was diagnosed. Had she proceeded with the massage, her client would have been put at risk of complications, even damage to the heart. Obviously, massage is not always appropriate—during infections, immediately following an injury, or if the client is taking certain medications. Massage therapists are not only educated in anatomy, pathology, and massage techniques– they have your best interests at heart and in mind.

Massage therapists also need to possess a certain something. They need to be both confident in their treatment plan and receptive to your personal preferences and needs. They need to be able to communicate effectively, and know when to stop talking so that you can relax. Massage therapists need to have clear professional boundaries so that you can fully let go into their care, knowing that you will be treated with the utmost of respect. Not everyone is capable of touching the human body with the respect it requires at all times. Massage professionals hold themselves to high ethical standards for good reason.

In the community where I live, an enormous human trafficking syndicate was recently exposed. Those who traded in human life will hopefully be brought to justice and those who were enslaved (some of them minors) will hopefully receive the care and support they need to recover from their kidnapping and torture. Human trafficking is alive and well in many of our communities, occurring right under our noses. And guess what? Some of those victims are forced to work in disreputable “massage parlors” where the real money is not in providing therapeutic massage. It’s important to distinguish between choosing sex work as a living freely and being forced into it against one’s will or before one is even old enough to make the choice. I can’t tell you how upsetting it is to massage therapists to think that the service they provide to improve the communities in which they live can serve as a front for human trafficking.

When you opt for the cheap massage, the person providing you with this meaningful service is likely earning pocket change or worse yet, nothing at all. An establishment that can afford to offer the cheap massage may not be taking care of its massage therapists financially or even be providing an adequate working environment. One law enforcement official who spearheaded massage parlor investigations shared that unsurprisingly, many of these places fail to pass health inspection or to have the necessary permits and licensing. Worst case scenario, your massage therapist is someone working under duress, in fear for their life.

How do you know who you are patronizing when you purchase a massage? Buyer, be aware!

There are lots of qualified massage therapists who want to provide you with the therapeutic relaxation you need. Massage shouldn’t be a once a year luxury. Everyone needs healthy touch and deserves the stress-management and symptom-relief massage offers. When you patronize a locally-owned spa or a small-business owner, you are investing in your community. When you pay a fair price for your massage, you are ensuring that the professional working with you is making a fair wage—it will pay for their kid’s trumpet lessons or allow them to take that massage training they’ve been saving up for. When we bargain basement shop for therapeutic massage, we may actually put ourselves or others at risk of exploitation.

All this is not to say that every cheap massage office is harboring nefarious criminals within or is guilty of human trafficking. The best way to be sure of what you’re getting is to ask questions and listen to your gut. It’s totally legitimate to ask to see documentation of licensure, insurance, and business permits. It’s also totally legitimate to turn around and walk away if something just doesn’t feel right to you. You have the right to stop your massage at any time for any reason.

Paying fair market value for massage is important. It truly is an investment in your health, and you want the best, most qualified, educated, and experienced person providing for your care. Many of us have other degrees that complement our massage training. One colleague completed osteopathy medical school, another completed a master’s degree is Eastern medicine, and I myself recently completed a master’s degree in somatic psychology. Massage therapy meaningfully impacts the body and can improve your health in measurable ways. Wouldn’t you want to be sure the person performing your massage is passionate about holistic healthcare, to be well-educated, and to be there because they want to help you? I sure do!

I’m proud of this profession and I believe you deserve the best.

Thanks for visiting East Bay Massage!

Introducing Rachel Stegman, Massage Therapist

How time flies when you’re having fun! It’s been a long time since my last post– I’ve been so very busy massaging people! It became clear I needed to start looking for a talented massage therapist to help support my growing business. I am so grateful to my clients for creating this need, and SO excited to introduce Rachel Stegman to you! Check out her guest post today and get to know Rachel. We’ll be posting on massage in the workplace, how massage can help with certain conditions, client appreciations, and life lessons learned while practicing massage.

<3, Amanda

In the 13 years that I worked in a chiropractic setting, I watched clients seek massage for a variety of reasons. Many clients came to the office for pain reduction, due to work injuries, or as the result of a car accident. Some had tight muscles or knots due to typing all day at a desk. Others came in for help after a hard work out, or sporting event. If you have had a massage after any type of muscular exercise, you have witnessed that it feels good, seems to reduce pain, and helps muscles recover. Studies show it also reduces inflammation, improves blood flow, and reduces muscle tightness.

If you do not have sore muscles, many mental health symptoms listed by the American Psychological Association can also benefit. Massage therapy plays an important role in stress reduction and mental clarity. Research has shown that it can lower your heart rate and blood pressure, relax your muscles, and increase the production of endorphins. Serotonin and dopamine are also released through massage, resulting in a feeling of relaxation that makes chronic or short-term stress much easier to overcome. I invite you to come in and see us, so that you may experience these many benefits for yourself.
-Rachel Stegman, Massage Therapist




East Bay Massage: Walnut Creek Office Closure

It’s hard to predict how life will unfold. After two years of building up my Walnut Creek business, I must admit that the practice seems to have a mind and direction all its own. If I follow its lead, I am guided to a place that asks me to focus my attention and my intention on my practice as a corporate vendor, a once part-time position that is now expanding and growing. Responding to the direction that the business is headed, I am both thrilled and a little sad to be moving forward.

In order to simplify, organize, and focus my energies, I will be closing the Walnut Creek office by February 15, 2013. Current clients have already been informed, but potential clients would obviously have no way of knowing yet. The new office is  dedicated for the use of employees of the corporate office.

As of right now, the Montclair office is still operating on Sundays.

Please accept my heartfelt thanks for your trust, your business, and the good times at the Walnut Creek office.

East Bay Massage: Massage and the Immune System

Happy Holidays! 

To keep healthy during this cold and flu season, be sure to take some time out of the hustle and bustle for massage. In addition to relaxation and relief from muscle fatigue, bodywork helps keep the body healthy by increasing the germ-killing cells in the immune system. This is the body’s way of protecting us against this season’s inevitable exposure to bacteria and viruses. Additionally, massage improves circulation overall within the body, making it more effective in delivering those killer cells to areas of the body under siege from germs that would otherwise send us to bed with a box of tissue. Aromatherapy oils can be added to your session to enhance your body’s natural defense against sickness– eucalyptus can help to clear the sinuses, peppermint cools the body and calms digestion, and lavender helps to maximize the body’s natural relax response to soothing touch. Massage is infinitely more enjoyable that a flu shot– why not bolster your immune system the natural way? Shot or not, your body will benefit from massage by relaxing into fighting off infection.

Thank you for visiting East Bay Massage!

East Bay Massage: Massage and Holistic Health

A recent New York Times article took an interesting perspective on why massage is good for us. The author was given an assignment to try out as many local massage therapists as possible, and to review his experience receiving bodywork (way to go, NYT!).

What I appreciated the most about John Jeremiah Sullivan’s article was the insight into his personal experience as a client receiving bodywork. Oftentimes, we massage therapists and holistic health educators are quick to cite all the many physiological health benefits of massage. Lowering blood pressure, increasing lymph flow, immune system boost, increasing range of motion, decreasing aches and pains– these are all legitimate, medically proven benefits to receiving bodywork.

Sometimes it can be difficult to articulate the other piece– that making an appointment for a massage is making time to take our attention, so often outwardly focused on accomplishing tasks, maintaining personal or professional relationships, processing information about events in our communities or around the world, politics, projects at home or at work, etc., etc., etc., and turn that attention inward. In this way, we can experience the anatomy of emotion as it resides inside us. Sullivan says:

After all, even if there’s something inherently funny about massage, down to the very word, massage, there’s also something unavoidably intense about paying that much attention to your body, not as an abstract concept but as the physical dying fact of it, lying in all its animality like a study by Lucian Freud. At certain moments I missed my old mode, which was to proceed as if I had no body at all…

In order to tolerate sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day, not including that commute to and from work, it may require a little bit of droning out the messages from our body. In order to comply with societal norms, we are taught from a very young age to sit still, to complete tasks, to take things in passively. To accomplish this, we have to learn how to either manage our lives to include other opportunities for movement or for mindful stillness, or (commonly) we have to learn how to play by the rules and shut out messages from the body. This often to our detriment.

One recent client described to me how she had been working a string of 12 hour days, taking only two breaks a day to use the restroom. This kind of living pulls the life energy upwards from the body and fuels the brain, privileging its functions and awareness over the intelligence found throughout the body. We are amazing creatures, capable of such focus and will! But it’s important to give ourselves the opportunity to rest and to notice our own aliveness.

While receiving craniosacral therapy, the author also noted:

Whether something was being effected through the laying on of hands, perhaps through some unknown mechanism of the physical world, I can’t say. It seemed to matter less and less. Maybe that’s what massage is to a lot of people, those who don’t have chronic pain or migraines — it’s enforced meditation for those of us too distracted to meditate. You’re paying someone to meditate you. It’s not anything they’re doing, necessarily. It’s that they open a little window. They give you an excuse to lie there in silence and pay a deeper attention to the fact that you exist. The true value of shamanism may be a concealed one, that it holds us in place and says this.

Holistic health, a concept that includes a multiplicity of perspectives on health, includes this piece. Not only are we bodies with aches and pains, rheumatoid arthirits, or migraines, we are alive creatures, sensate beings that process the world around us. We are in relationship with the world, and we are in relationship with ourselves. Sometimes the greatest therapeutic benefit of massage is simply the opportunity it gives us to notice that we exist.

Thank you for visiting East Bay Massage.

East Bay Massage: Pregnancy and Massage

Being pregnant changes things forever. At the end of these nine months, you’ll have a precious little baby to fall in love with, to learn about, and to whom you will devote untold amounts of energy, attention, and love. Being a parent changes life, starting literally from the inside out.

When you are pregnant, you can reasonably expect to feel fatigued, especially in the first trimester. Growing that little bean takes a lot of energy! Be kind to yourself– take naps, eat well, and drink plenty of water. You may experience nausea, either sequestered to only one part of the day, or, more commonly, periodically and across the day. If this is the case, I feel for you! Be sure to get rest and fluids, and don’t lose hope that you will once again remember what it was like to not feel perpetually hung-over.

Many women find that by the second trimester, their energy levels have increased and their nausea has decreased. This is a great time to start receiving massage! You can continue to receive regular bodywork up to and including labor.

As you well know, ligaments are stretching and becoming more flexible in order to accommodate the birthing process. You may experience lower back aches as the sacro-uterine ligament is taxed by the growing baby in your uterus. This also changes a woman’s center of gravity, so be mindful about how you use your body. As breasts grow ready to produce milk, you may experience upper back/shoulder tension. Receiving massage during this time can help to relieve tension at the shoulders and around the shoulder blades.

Receiving massage while laying on your side gives your body the chance to be supported. Taking the load off your lower back in and of itself often brings delightful relaxation. From this side-lying position, work can be done around the shoulder girdle and scapula. 

Women commonly experience leg and foot cramping during pregnancy, especially if they are on their feet all day at work. The extra weight and increased fluid volume in the body can tax the lower extremities. Rexflexology for the feet is effective in relieving tension and can be done while side-lying.

Be sure to tell your massage therapist if you have vericose veins, high blood pressure, or gestational diabetes. While these conditions do not necessarily rule you and baby out for massage, your therapist needs to know in order to tailor the session to your unique needs.

If you’re expecting, do yourself and baby a favor and get some good bodywork! Relaxation is therapeutic, especially when you’re growing a person!

Thank you for visiting East Bay Massage!


East Bay Massage: Why Did I Cry During My Massage?

I can say from personal experience both as a recipient and as a practitioner of massage that sometimes, people cry during massage. As a recipient, it was such a powerful experience that it inspired me not only to move into the field of therapeutic bodywork, but to learn more about my self, too. Post miscarriage, I was in the throws of profound hormonal flux, and felt lost in grief. Massage gave me a window into my own pain at a time when I thought it was too overwhelming to navigate.

As a grad student in somatic psychology now, I am gaining in understanding as to how this happens and what can be done to support this process. As a massage therapist, my scope of practice includes craniosacral therapy and massage that allows for and supports people when they are negotiating intense emotions if they are ready to be expressed. Some clients think they are signing up for physical therapy-style deep tissue and are shocked to find how powerful touch is– even the gentlest, mellowest variety.

Because touch outside of very discrete circumstances (like, fighting, doctor’s exams/procedures, and sex) is culturally unusual for us Americans, we are often deeply impacted when we allow ourselves to truly feel what it feels like to feel. The truth is that it is normal and healthy to notice emotions!

Emotional release happens because we are finally in a position to let our guard down– we begin to notice how sensations are paired with emotions. For instance, the sensation of a tight throat is often paired with the emotion of sadness. The sensation of a tight chest is often paired with anger. The sensation of pain across the shoulders is often paired with a heavy sense of responsibility. If we feel safe enough, we might finally allow those emotions to fully manifest. While this might seem impossible or dangerous in our regular lives, sometimes the power of touch can guide those emotions into expression.

Most massage therapists are aware that touch can bring up intense feelings for their clients. Sometimes all you need is to be offered a tissue and the space to shed a few tears. Sometimes, in addition to receiving that massage, you can use your breath to let go of the hiss of anger. Next time you receive a massage, just try noticing if any emotions come up for you before, during, or after the session. Simply notice if there is anything there. If not, allow yourself to fully drop in to the experience of relaxation. If so, see what it’s like to have them with you.

Increasing awareness of the experience of your body from the inside– that is, its sensations and emotions– can go a long way in alleviating stress. Bodywork is a wonderful opportunity to get some therapeutic massage and a great chance to learn more about your self, too.

Thank you for visiting East Bay Massage!

Previous Older Entries