Category Archives: Massage

Best Bay

3 YEARS IN A ROW!!! Thank you for voting us “Best Massage”. As we all know- The SF Bay Guardian has been the “go to” source for finding the BEST of what San Francisco has to offer. We are honored to have been the pick for best massage 3 years in a row, and we are super sad that the Guardian has recently closed up shop. They have left quite a legacy though, and we couldn’t be more ecstatic to have been a part of it all. R.I.P Guardian

Shhhh…please whisper inside


Step into relaxation; your first visit at Project Zen will begin at the door. A greeting from our front staff “Sa Wa de ka”, a hello from Thailand- relaxation fills the air with our blend of essential oils. Ahhh the smell of harmony! Step into our slippers- in many Asian cultures, it is customary to take off one’s shoes upon entering a home. Our sanctuary is committed to providing peace and relaxation as your step out of your everyday urban activities and into our cozy oasis.

A brief intake form will be given to you, which therapist will use to specialize your session. Project Zen’s Massage Therapists specialize in Swedish, Thai massage, Deep Tissue, Prenatal, Trigger Point, Foot Reflexology, Shiatsu, Hot Stone, and Thai Herbal Press. We encourage all clients to thoroughly ask our staff while booking which therapy will be best for you. With our wide variety of massages and talented therapists we are confident we can find the best modality suited for your bodywork needs.

Starting your session 
After your therapist has reviewed your intake form, they will show you back to your room. There will be a basket for you to place your personal belongings and a hook for hanging your coat. Undress to your level of comfort for our Western style massages such as Deep Tissue and Swedish. Some people choose to disrobe completely, while others feel more comfortable with undergarments left on. Your level of comfort is most important to us, our therapists have been highly trained in our services, draping of the sheets will be used throughout your session accordingly. Exposing only the body part that is being worked on. We will provide you with a change of clothes for our Eastern Style massages such as Thai and Shiatsu- these services are fully clothed massages. You can expect a tranquil, cozy and comfortable visit- you are in great hands!

During your session 
Feel free to communicate any requests that would make your massage more comfortable (please do so quietly out of respect for others in relaxation). Your therapist will only communicate with you to check in on the level of pressure they are using. We are here to provide you with a massage that fits your personal needs, so please let your therapist know if more or less pressure should be used or if you would like another blanket or pillow to enhance your relaxation and comfort.

The end of your session 
Your therapist will step outside of the room while you dress and will meet you in our reception area with a cup of our soothing Project Zen herbal tea. Your therapist may go over some at-home techniques you can use to keep the body in balance in between massages! At this time if you have any questions, you may address your therapist for some advice.

Now that your tea is finished, the front desk staff will assist you with checking out. We will also provide a therapist tip-envelope here at the desk, so that you may leave gratuity for your therapist. Cash tips are always preferred, but we will provide the option of swiping a credit card as well. (The industry standard for tipping is between 15% and 20% depending on your level of satisfaction). Re-booking appointments at this time is also encouraged!

Don’t forget to slip back on your shoes…


-Kayla Bennett


Why is massage beneficial for athetes?

Many athletes have stated that they include massage therapy in their regular training schedules to stay at the top of their game, and they are right to do so. Massage therapy is good for athletes not only physiologically, but psychologically as well.

When receiving a massage, it affects your cardiovascular system. Massages help promote circulation which enhances blood flow and provides fresh oxygen for the body. It also helps remove wasteful products and toxins from your body.

According to Health and Fitness magazine, massage can help relax muscles and reduce soreness which results in an increased range of motion and flexibility which can help lead to a better athletic performance. We at Project Zen recommend a Traditional Thai Massage which includes compression work and stretching to help keep your muscles loose.

Deep Tissue Massages and Swedish Massages can also be beneficial to athletes. With a relaxing massage you can help reduce stress and anxiety which can help you sleep better and everyone knows that the better your sleep the better your performance!

-Desiree Hasley


Incorporating Mindfulness into Daily Life

How to Incorporate Mindfulness Into Your Daily Life
What does it mean to be mindful? It means to be aware, present, or in the moment of what is happening here and now. Spending too much time worrying about what we have planned tomorrow, next week, or even next month can cause us to worry – and we know that worrying can lead to stress and unhappiness! It is easy to forget that incorporating mindfulness into our every day lives isn’t a hard task at all.


We all have a morning routine that we feel actually helps us get through the day; I know that I wake up at the same time so that I can ensure I get my morning coffee, breakfast and shower in before it’s time to make my commute to work or school.


One of the easiest ways to incorporate mindfulness into our daily lives is to take ourselves off of autopilot and actually take the time to think about what we are doing. Instead of moving from one task to the next, think about the flavors of what you’re eating and take the time to savor the taste. In addition, when waking up, take time to sit and be with yourself before you check your phone, email, or the news – you’ll feel more at one with yourself and everyone knows that waking up feeling good can set you up for a positive day!


Don’t forget that when it comes to being mindful you don’t need to set aside a large amount of time to relax. It may not be realistic for you to block out a couple of hours for a massage, yoga class, or meditation space; that’s why incorporating mindfulness into each day as a way of life will help you to feel more relaxed and fulfilled overall. Sometimes it can be more effective if you take multiple breaks to take in your surroundings and practice gratitude. Make a list of everything you’re grateful for – throughout the day take maybe 5 minutes and choose something from that list to think about- you’ll feel much more at peace.


Lastly- laugh. It’s good for you and for those around you. Everyone enjoys laughing.


-Desiree Hasley

Massage for Stress Reduction

In a perfect world we would all be carefree, enjoy life around us, and be all-around happy people. Unfortunately, we are busy and can let our hectic, on-the-go lives consume us. When we become so absorbed with juggling all of our priorities – work, family, friends, school – it can become a bit too much and we begin to stress ourselves out and carry all of that weight on our shoulders.

While there are known “good stressors” that we can feel while doing things like planning a wedding or running a marathon- it’s the negative stressors that we feel that can cause sleepless nights, upset stomachs, or angry outbursts. Lucky for us we have massage therapists who knead and stretch us into relaxation.

Did you know that in addition to your massage therapist loosening your sore muscles, they are also helping to lower your stress levels? A massage can help increase the circulation of your blood flow and lower your heart rate. Why would you ever want to take an anti-anxiety medicine again when you can get a massage instead? Setting aside time for regular massage sessions on a weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly basis is a step in the right direction towards maintaining lower stress levels. And if you aren’t able to afford massage on a regular basis, make sure to set aside some regular time to do other stress reducing activities such as yoga, meditation, or even setting aside some white space in your schedule to read a book. All of these activities should not be looked at as luxuries- when honored on a regular basis and treated as a priority, they will actually help you to become more grounded, efficient, and productive in all other aspects of your life.

Instead of looking at your next massage as a “spa day” or a way to “treat yourself”, look at it as taking a step into a new and healthier you – your body will thank you.

-Desiree Hasley


What to Expect During Your First Thai Massage

I’m not typically a fan of rougher massages – I can do a firm Swedish massage at most. There are times though where you just know you have to go for the results rather than relaxation. Due to a reoccurring injury, I frequently suffer from neck and back pain that a Swedish massage unfortunately just can’t help with. I woke up on Tuesday with a little bit of neck pain and by Thursday, I could barely turn because the pain had spread to my back. That’s where Thai massage came in. I had never received a Traditional Thai massage before, so I was a little unsure about the strength level but definitely excited about the stretching.


The Thai massage is very interactive, and while you can receive softer pressure, I knew that a stronger massage would work out best. The therapist immediately found my knots and began working on them. After what felt like 30 minutes of massage, my therapist began the stretching and it was such an amazing feeling. Someone once described a Thai massage as “assisted yoga” to me, but in my opinion this was even better; This was someone helping me mold my body back into the condition that it once was. I was a little worried about being overstretched (as if there is such a thing)- or that my neck was going to crack in the wrong way, but I was so pleased with how I felt when I left my massage. The greatest thing about my Thai massage is that the following days I could feel the pain in my back going away little by little. By the third day after my massage I couldn’t feel the pain anymore.


A traditional Thai massage hits a lot of pressure points and energy lines of the body, so I felt relaxed throughout my massage but re-energized as well afterwards. It can also help to increase flexibility and improve your range of motion so I would recommend this massage for anyone who is feeling a bit of body stiffness. If you’re feeling skeptical about trying a massage that is described as interactive, I would say to push that thought out of your mind and give a Thai massage a chance. As much as I love Swedish massages, I can’t imagine not doing a Thai massage again.
-Desiree Hasley

DIY ROOM SPRAY using essential oils


Essential oils have been used for thousands of years and are great for a variety of things ranging from stress relief to digestion.   At Project Zen we like to use a proprietary blend of Orange oil, Lemongrass, and Eucalyptus to promote an uplifting and relaxing mood for massage.

Some of my other favorite essential oils are:

Bergamot: Uplifting, inspiring, confidence building

Clary Sage: Centering, euphoric, visualizing

Fennel: Nurturing, supportive, restorative

Grapefruit: Refreshing, cheering

Ylang Ylang: Sensual, euphoric

There are hundreds of DYI ways to incorporate oils into your daily life, from making your own perfume, scenting your own aromatherapy lotions, blending your own oils to burn- the list goes on, but my newest favorite use for essential oils is making my own room freshener / body mist. Store bought air fresheners often contain a long list of carcinogens, toxic corrosives, and even pesticides. Sure- they might smell good, but the payoff is not worth it. Why inhale toxic chemicals when you can make your own blend that will smell even better AND have healthy and therapeutic effects?

It’s incredibly easy as well.  The recipe I am sharing below is my personal favorite blend that took me less than 5 minutes to make. I call it my “Bliss Spray” because it combines the uplifting qualities of Bergamot with the euphoric qualities of Ylang Ylang.


You will need distilled water, Ylang Ylang essential oil, Bergamot essential oil, spray bottle.

 STEP 1: Measure 4 oz of purified water (tap water is fine too) and pour into your spray bottle

 STEP 2: Add 7 drops of Ylang Ylang and 5 drops of Bergamot

 STEP 3: Shake and spray!!

It’s that easy. Have fun experimenting with your own blends of oils.  The possibilities are endless.


What every woman should know about Prenatal Massage

Prenatal Massage can be an effective treatment, helping reduce stress, muscle cramps, myofascial pain and tightness in the neck, shoulders, lower back, hips and legs. Pillows and cushions will support the legs and belly during our Swedish or Deep Tissue sessions. Our focus is to design a treatment tailored to your specific needs and discomforts, allowing you to leave with an at ease mind, feeling refreshed and ready to take on your new role as a mommy. Pregnancy massage may also help aid in digestion and sleep leaving both mom and baby soothed and relaxed.
Project Zen therapists offer a soothing design for Prenatal Massage for both Mom and Baby; a tranquil relaxation massage for our nurturing soon-to-be mother’s. Our Prenatal Massage is now being offered in our Burlingame and San Francisco locations.