Hi, I’m Leah Kangas.
I'm a passionate massage therapist & movement educator versed in a multitude of movement modalities including Pilates, yoga, kettlebells, CrossFit, cycling, hiking & climbing ... but my utmost speciality is solving problems related to running.
About the time I was able to support myself on two legs, I began running & Nordic skiing. I hold dear vivid memories of being a five year old running laps around the house & in my mind as a dreamer, standing on the Olympics’ gold medal podium & providing interviews to the eager media. My love for simple endurance activities continued as I traveled to my father’s Nordic skiing & bicycle races most weekends throughout grade school & by fourth grade was introduced to a one-mile running race by the high school cross-county coach who invited the top runners to the team’s banquet at the end of the season. I found my passion for challenging myself & was hooked. Throughout middle & high school participated in cross-country running, track, soccer & Nordic skiing, moving on to embrace Pilates, yoga, backpacking, rock climbing, triathlons in my adult years, in addition to my first love: running. Most especially, I've enjoyed the many 50K and 50 mile endurance runs I’ve completed, Starting in middle & high school cross-country & track & continuing while finding my love for the trails, running my first 50K & 50 miler in 1996 when I was 20, r
I've been working full time in Seattle since 2001 & I understand the movement you love because I love it too! I’ve spent my life immersed in endurance sports as observer, as athlete, as coach, as massage therapist & as lead support for some crazy amazing endurance performances.
I know quality movement & how it’s achieved. I know what commonly stresses our bodies unfairly & how to help you find pleasure & success in YOUR movement.
Introduced to massage in my late teens as a somewhat injury-prone runner, I immediately noticed the positive effects on my body & became an instant convert. My interest in providing massage professionally developed when I received a sports massage book from a friend while in college. The hands-on work felt natural to me & my curiosity about the body piqued.
I completed my first formal massage training in Minnesota at Eagle’s Nest Institute in 1996 & spent the following years reading textbooks & practicing on friends. After moving to Seattle in 1999, I studied at the Brian Utting School of Massage (now Cortiva Institute), becoming a graduate in 2001 & moving into full time practice.
body connectivity training
Real life experience is my biggest influence in considering how the body’s stability & movement patterns contribute to pleasure & efficiency, or lead to injury.
I have learned much from competing in ultramarathons & further from closely teaming with my ex-husband Scott Jurek during the prime of his career, from 1996 – 2007. I take great pride in the intuitive advice & assistance I offered in guiding his training as well as during critical moments in his most important events. From 2003 – 2007 we hosted multi-day trail running camps & clinics, assisting runners with form, strengthening, stretching, mental preparation, training philosophies & programming.
I moved to Seattle in 1999 to help friends open a running shoe store. My experience there exposed me to the oft confusing process of purchasing the modern running shoe. We set up a treadmill with slow motion video to analyze running form & the typical pronation evaluation. I noticed most people ran really well in a more neutral shoe. I started questioning a lot of the commonly asserted ‘correction’ all of these other shoes were offering & continued to carry this question into my massage practice & coaching. Are we broken?
My personal transition to minimalist & barefoot running came naturally. In 2008 I began running in huaraches given to me by my friend, Born to Run famed Barefoot Ted. Since I had previously been known to forget running shoes or have such severe blister troubles, I’d run miles upon miles in sandals or barefoot. But when I intentionally began incorporating this method of running into my routine, I noticed the technique concepts I’ve always been mindful of occurred much more naturally. It was easier to engage my core and stability muscles, easier to stay open in the front of my hips, easier to run lightly. The feedback from the ground was instant, allowing the body to be engaged more fully & running felt much more fluid to me, exactly as I’d always been aiming for. It didn’t take much time for me to ditch all my modern running shoes.
The most important concept I bring to my teaching is to consider that when we’re experiencing pain, our body is telling us to pay attention. I feel strongly that it’s our responsibility to believe in our bodies & treat them well, allowing them to reach their potentials of health & balance.
I'm licensed to practice massage in Washington State by the Department of Health, am nationally certified by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, a professional member of the American Massage Therapy Association & Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals.