Up until March 16, 2020, I spent almost every Monday – Friday of the last 21 years getting up, getting ready, driving to work, working an 8 hour day, interacting with colleagues, and driving home. Day in and day out, it had been my routine for half of my life.

On March 16, 2020, my boss told everyone to pack up their laptops and we’d be back in two weeks as we waited out COVID. Two weeks turned into nine months and counting. While I was very excited to finally try out teleworking, the lack of routine, the lack of interaction with others, my home and work life becoming blended, video meeting fatigue, gyms closing, the dark Pacific Northwest days settling in, seeing my friends get sick, seeing people die from COVID – I found myself becoming more sad and stressed as the days continued. I needed a recharge. I needed something to change internally.

I found that at Yuan Spa in Bellevue.

I was contacted by Yuan Spa to try out one of their massage packages. The only massage I’ve ever had in my life was in 2008 and it was a terrible experience (literally just a bunch of oil on my back that got in my hair and it didn’t feel therapeutic at all). Having experienced the Yuan Spa hydrotherapy pools in 2016, I was ready for the real deal. Bringing my best friend Mishana with me, we each booked the Yuan Chinese Signature Massage. We received our confirmation emails of who our massage therapists  would be, where to park, what to expect day of, a text reminder the day before and soon, it was our much needed appointment day!

After checking in, I met my therapist, Tyler. He has worked at Yuan Spa for five years and was recruited directly from the Bellevue Massage School. I added the Hot Stone Therapy to my Yuan Chinese Signature Massage. This particular massage is the Yuan Spa owner’s “Signature blend of Chinese Tuina, Acupressure, Table Thai (where the therapist may get on the table for counterbalance stretching), Tapotement (rhythmic tapping) and Lomi Lomi massage, this uniquely therapeutic treatment is designed to both balance and energize your body working with the Chinese meridian lines of your body and centuries old Asian techniques.” The warmth from the hot stones helps relieve tight muscles and increases circulation.

Tyler left the room as I placed my mask onto a mask tray, undressed and laid on my stomach on the massage table and put the blankets over me. I was surprised at how warm the table and blankets were, but I immediately felt relaxed. As someone who runs hot most of the time, Tyler did turn the temperature down a little for me, which was perfect. Then we began my evening of self-care pampering.

(Photo Credit: Yuan Spa)

Since I talk a lot in general, I found out both Tyler and I work out quite often (yes, I do CrossFit and yes I do talk about it, I know, I know).  Because of this conversation however, I was able to explain to him what hurts when I’m doing certain movements, where I carry my stress (my upper back, shoulders, neck and jaw) and for the next sixty minutes, he worked his magic. I had muscle knots galore and I could feel every single one being released – let’s just say it’s was a bit painful, but in a good way. And for my CrossFit friends who use a lacrosse ball like me to try and do our own self-massages against a wall, let me tell you, his hot stone therapy was way more effective! There were some points that I felt my arms almost going numb during his treatment but afterwards, to no longer feel like my back was seizing up and maybe I could do dumbbell push jerk without my left shoulder hurting like a you know what – it was WORTH IT! I definitely plan to book with Tyler again as he will also be able to help me with my hip flexor issues (I’ve had to go to physical therapy for my hips, they are in constant pain).

(Photo Credit: Yuan Spa)

After my hour of getting my body and mind right again, Mishana and I met up and I got to hear about her experience!

Mishana was introduced to her massage therapist, Deanna, and they headed to her room where Deanna explained the safety procedures in place due to COVID and what to expect during her massage. Deanna has been a massage therapist since 2013 and has worked for Yuan Spa just over a year. As mentioned above, Mishana selected the Yuan Chinese Signature Massage as well and added an enhancement of the Cupping Spot Treatment. Cupping Therapy uses suction cups to stimulate skin and muscles, decreases pain, promotes an increase in blood circulation, and draws out toxic cellular build up. When Mishana laid down on the warm table, she melted away. She chose to just lay back, relax, and enjoy the massage to the fullest. I think she was trying to tell me I talk a lot. Haha. Not cool, Mishana. Not cool.

Mishana also mentioned that from the second she walked in, to the moment she left, she felt comfort and relaxation the entire time. The entire spa flowed with wonderful inviting feelings and a relaxing ambiance. She felt like a new person; she felt at peace. She will return!

Before we left, Tysan, the Spa Director, told us about the ASMR Tranquility Therapy – which is now on my 2021 to do list. I better tell Tyler I need him to work on my hip flexors, do some cupping and ASMR therapy! He has a lot of work ahead of him. 🙂

What is the ASMR Tranquility Therapy you ask?

“This deeply relaxing service uses our patented Comfort Zone Tranquility brushes and feather-light finger movements down the meridians of the body. Comfort Zone Tranquility Oil and Body Lotion combine lavender and other soothing essential oils to tap into your body’s olfactory and parasympathetic nervous systems to help you rediscover your inner calm, and repair your body’s sleep rhythms.”

Just hearing Tysan talk about it gave me those ASMR feelings.

(Photo Credit: Yuan Spa)

I definitely want to make Yuan Spa a part of my 2021 and I plan to book regular appointments for my boyfriend and myself in the new year. I eventually would love to have a little girl’s day out there once COVID restrictions are lifted as well.  I want everyone to feel as relaxed and as good as I did leaving! I highly recommend an hour or two of pampering for yourself at Yuan Spa! Trust me, you need it!

As Mishana and I were there to write and film our experience at Yuan Spa, we were given access to the hydrotherapy room to film and photograph. Keep in mind, this area is  normally a cell phone/camera freeze zone but is also currently closed due to COVID restrictions. Check out our experience at Yuan Spa on the Lesley and Mishana Show below! PS: Those robes will be some of the most comfortable robes you’ll ever wear.

Logistics and What to Expect During COVID

If you are new to Yuan Spa, prepare to fill out the Yuan Spa intake form and the COVID Wellness Form within 24 hours of your appointment.

The best place to park is in the retail garage of Belcarra Building just north of the spa. Once you find Jimmy John’s off 106th Ave NE, turn right at the alley and you’ll see the Retail Parking sign. 

Masks are required. The door will be locked but you can easily grab the attention of the front desk staff. They will take your temperature upon entering and you will fill out another quick form, which will then be given to your therapist as a witness to sign off on.

During whatever service you choose, if you have a session where you will be laying on your stomach, you will not need your mask as they have created a head cushion with material under it that acts like a mask. If your treatment requires you to lay on your back, you will wear your mask (and if you are like me where you started on your stomach and then turn onto your back, your therapist will have you flip under the covers and provide you with your mask again). Therapists wear full PPE during your visit.

Let’s say goodbye to what 2020 did to all of us – book a self-care session at Yuan Spa today!


Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received two comped massage treatments  for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

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