My massage career – since 1992, when I graduated from Brian Utting School of Massage, and became Nationally Certified for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork – is rewarding, creative, adventurous and challenging. I often combine my skills – as both an LMP (licensed massage practitioner) and an RN (registered nurse) – when treating my clients.
An Auspicious Bike Ride
It was through sports massage that I originally realized how beneficial massage is. In 1989, I rode my bicycle from Canada to Mexico with the American Lung Association. One day when we were passing through Big Sur, CA, in pain, I crawled off my bike and onto the massage table, next to the road overlooking the beautiful Pacific Ocean. At the end of the massage, I happily jumped back on my bike and rode the next 440 miles. A couple of years later, I became a massage therapist. That massage changed my life!
Sports Massage at Olympic Games and Other Sports Events
In 1996 I volunteered at the Olympic Games in Atlanta as an RN, where I massaged world-class athletes in the Olympic Village. (See the center fold of Massage Therapy Journal, Vol 35, No 4, Fall 1996.) I also gave massages at the Olympics in 2000 in Sydney, Australia, and in 2002 in Salt Lake City. Since 1993, I’ve been a member of the Washington Sports Massage Team and in 1997 earned national certification in Sports Massage. Sports massage is a really important and exciting part of my career.
|Centerfold Massage Therapy Journal, Vol 35, No 4, Fall 1996|
Massage for Disaster Relief
In 1998 and again in 2005, hurricanes devastated massive areas of the southern U.S., Mexico and Central America. Though these events were horrendous, they brought me more than one opportunity of a lifetime in which I combined my massage and nursing skills. After Hurricane Mitch destroyed Honduras, I traveled there with my massage chair in hand, to provide healthcare – massage for relief workers and victims of the hurricane and nursing at make-shift medical clinics in remote regions of the country. In Tegucigalpa, the capital, I taught small classes in stress reduction and self-massage, working primarily with women who were living in refugee resettlement areas, church basements and schools.
Massage Manual, Authored By Nikki, in Spanish
After about two months of volunteering, I was invited to write a basic massage manual in Spanish in collaboration with a Honduran health care provider, Auristela Velasquez. The AMTA Foundation, now called Massage Therapy Foundation awarded me a grant, and the United Methodist Church also donated funding for the project. After the 72-page book Manual Basico de Masaje Tearpeutico was written, Auri and I used it to teach massage to health promoters throughout the country. (Nichols, Nikki, “Creative, Challenging Adventure: Teaching Massage in Honduras”, Washington Massage Journal, publication of AMTA-WA chapter, Vol.16, No 3, pg.1 & 8, May 2000.)
I also taught massage in Mexico, Nicaragua, El Salvador (Nichols, Nikki, “Healing Hands in El Salvador”, Washington Massage Journal, publication of AMTA-WA chapter, pg 12-13, May/June 2004) and to farm laborers in the Skagit Valley, WA. This writing and teaching project was one of the highlights of my entire life! And it completed a full swing effort, which began in nursing school at Creighton University, when I won an award for my clinical paper entitled “Health Care for the Undocumented Hispanic Alien.”
Education and Massage Around the World
Education is an important part of my massage career – both taking continuing education (CE) classes and teaching massage classes myself. My CE studies have taken me many places, including China where I studied Tuina; Peru, where I studied the Incas; and Port Townsend, Washington, where I completed a 250-hour course in Advanced Certification in Orthopedic Massage. I’ve enjoyed teaching massage to small groups of adults in various settings in Seattle and in Latin America, as well as teaching graduate students at Bastyr University.
Presently, I practice the art of massage in northeast Seattle near Matthews Beach. The focus of my work is to correct physical imbalances resulting from injuries, and to help athletes achieve their peak performance.
When I’m not doing massage or nursing, I’m engaged in gardening, outdoor recreation, photography, teaching piano lessons (having majored in music education at St Olaf College), and community activities: building community/citizen diplomacy in El Salvador with my church, and singing and serving on the Board of directors of the Seattle Peace Chorus.
As a medical practitioner and triathlete, I understand the importance of recovery to my training. Since receiving massages from Nikki I have noticed fewer injuries and improved recovery times between hard sessions. Nikki is attentive to what my muscles need. I highly recommend Nikki Nichols as a massage therapist to any sports person.
– Dr Gavin Sandercoe, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon
My patients have been very pleased with the work you do, and so have I. With one of them in particular, you did great, great work! You are the heroine in her case. I believe you provide a very needed service. I truly appreciate the work that you do.
– Janet E. Ploss, MD, Occupational Medicine physician, Group Health Cooperative
I found Nikki to be skilled in both the assessment and treatment of a variety of musculoskeletal conditions, providing warm and caring, clinical and professional massage therapy. Her expertise extends to her charting and communication skills: she keeps accurate records and writes regular reports to referring care givers. I highly recommend her for your wellness and health care needs.
– Diana L. Thompson, LMP, President of Massage Therapy Foundation President and Author of “Hands Heal: Communication, Documentation, and Insurance Billing for Manual Therapists”
This massage was the best I’ve ever received. It’s the first time in 10 years that I’ve been pain free.
– Karrie Peterson, Seattle librarian