Welcome to Cat Paws Massage!
My name is Skya Fisher, and I am a Licensed Massage Therapist with my office in Bellingham, WA, where I have practiced since 2002. Please note that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, masks are required in all healthcare offices; I can provide one if you forget yours. I use a hospital-grade hydrogen peroxide-based sanitizer after every session on all surfaces touched, I schedule appointments so strangers do not overlap, and I follow all state mandates and recommendations for infectious disease control. I am fully vaccinated for COVID-19, and since I work with at-risk populations, I ask that you please be vaccinated also. Thank you for helping that way!
I offer many styles of massage, but the most unique is Manual Lymphatic Drainage Therapy. This gentle technique was developed in the 1930’s for the reduction of edema and lymphedema, and is most often used in oncology treatment; it consists of moving fluids at the skin level, which enhances the rate of uptake of lymphatic fluid from the spaces between cells, instead of moving tissues and bones. Other benefits include enhanced sleeping ability and pain reduction, and because the lymphatic system is part of the immune system, it strengthens this vital system too. It is safe for most people to receive, and we can discuss the few contraindications when you call for an appointment.
Other styles I am trained in include Swedish, Deep Tissue, Traditional Thai Massage, Reflexology, Neurofascial Techniques, and Manual Ligament Therapy (see details below). I am also a Third Degree Reiki practitioner. What sets me apart is not what I do, but how I do it: learning from multiple cadaver labs and college courses in anatomy and physiology, I target layers of tissues carefully, and move with the patterns of your breath, so I can notice subtle changes in tissues, both relaxation and tension. Most sessions use a blend of techniques, to maximize benefits for your personal needs. I tend to focus more on injury treatment and prevention, and relaxation is an important part of that.
I invested in a very special table: it is a hydraulic table with a traction option, which reduces pressure on discs and nerves, like a little vacation from gravity. It works by putting a slight degree of tilt, or inversion, at the waist, and the weight of your head gives a gentle pull at the other end. After a few minutes, you don’t even notice it! When you add massage strokes in addition to more open joints, there is better access to all the tissues, making for a deeper and more efficient stroke. With adjustable height — which is also ADA approved because it goes lower than most tables — I am not straining to reach the middle of your body, so I can use my body weight instead of just brute arm strength.
I have a background in dance and martial arts, and these disciplines have offered me opportunities to both experience and to work with injuries, and to discover healing techniques that work for most people. I practice breath meditation, which shapes the mindfulness I bring to my sessions and flavors my dialog during sessions — your breath is a free form of stress reduction and can be accessed any time, so why not use it? I like to work slowly and specifically, in rhythm with the breath, focusing on each unique being who seeks my help.
I prefer not use music during sessions, because I believe it is a distraction to the important work of paying attention to what is going on with your body, and a massage treatment is a rare opportunity to rest your mind, also. In a quiet environment, I also can teach you some of your basic anatomy as it relates to your condition, for those who are interested. Knowledge is power, and I have 20 years continuing education to share … of course, if you prefer music, my trusty phone can provide what you like.
In addition to bodywork, I am a Certified Nursing Assistant, and I use that experience to assess skin, to bolster and pillow for maximum comfort, and to keep current on disease pathology. I specialize in Hospice work, and that has merged with my love of massage. I have designed a hybrid service of massage, range of motion and circulatory exercises, PT support, and activities of daily living in clients’ homes, and that experience has grown my massage sensitivity like a dandelion in the sun!
I am also a licensed Small Animal Massage Practitioner and Large Animal Massage Practitioner. I have a degree in Animal Behavior and spent many years working with domesticated and wild animals before getting my massage licensure. Animal massage therapy goes beyond merely petting an animal; there are specific techniques to reduce injuries and induce a calmer demeanor. Animals enjoy the same benefits of massage as humans do. I honed this skill by volunteering at the Whatcom Humane Society for about seven years.
Cat Paws is focused on being Earth-friendly: all products are organic, biodegradable, not tested on animals, and most equipment is purchased used. I use only organic, unrefined coconut oil, which is one of the healthiest form of fat you can absorb (including rare medium-chain fatty acids), and it does not go rancid at room temperature. All sheets are 100% cotton, and NO chemical or artificial fragrances are used; please see note below that I am chemically sensitive. I have an air “washer” style purifier running during sessions, which further reduces airborne viruses. A free dose of Bioactive Plant Fractions is included if desired; see information below on benefits.
Thank you for stopping by. I look forward to meeting you ~
Skya Fisher, LMT, MLDT, SAMP, LAMP
Cat Paws Massage
A session at Cat Paws is customized to what a client wants and needs, spanning the spectrum from pure relaxation to pure injury/disease treatment. I choose techniques that relax muscle spasms, flush toxins through the systems, and re-condition the nervous system’s holding patterns. A muscle in motion cannot remained clenched, so much of my work incorporates rocking, vibrating, and jostling to relax tissue tension. Thai Massage uses assisted stretches based on yoga poses, which allows your joints to passively stretch a little further than you can do on your own.
Another esoteric modality that should be explained is Manual Ligament Therapy. This is a rather new cutting-edge modality that uses very slight pressure on specific ligaments in order to release holding patterns of correlating muscles. If you think of the brain as the Pentagon, then the ligaments are the generals, in control of communications. The muscles are just the foot soldiers, doing what they are told. We use the ligament system to re-issue “orders” from the brain, to reverse chronic muscle tension. When clients add a slight engagement of the muscles that do the opposite action, that allows the targeted muscles to relax even more.
Located in the beautiful Birchwood neighborhood (with large lots designed for Liberty Gardens during WWII), my office has plenty of free parking.
For those who are interested, you can also book Tribble the Therapy Cat to come sleep on the table with you during a session, if he is in a suitable mood. Just ask for a reservation at the time you set your appointment.
UPDATE: My precious companion, Tribble, passed away peacefully in my arms on November 6, 2020, at age 27. I keep the paragraph about him as a tribute to all the people he delighted.
Please see below for my rates and policies.
Horses are the primary focus of this practice, and have the longest history of receiving professional bodywork. Whether your horse competes in athletic events or is just your companion, s/he will enjoy the benefits of therapy.
Massage can help correct uneven gaits, making for a smoother ride and stronger performance. It can increase range of motion of all joints, which means higher jumps, sharper pivots, and faster responses.
Reduction of chronic aches leads to more confidence and comfort. Increasing circulation means less fluid build-up in the limbs from stalling and transportation. With overall relaxation comes improved digestion. The combined effects go towards preventing injuries from occurring in the first place.
Psychologically, horses today spend a lot more time in restricted spaces with less exercise and can get bored. Massage gives them something to get engaged in, and something positive to associate with their stall.
Other large animals that enjoy massage are alpacas and llamas, goats, and pigs. Whether working animals or companion pets, these animals will respond positively to loving touch.
Dogs and cats share many of the same benefits of massage as large animals, especially more rapid recovery from injuries and general well being from having tissues “buffed and fluffed”.
Dogs in particular, especially if they are competing in athletic events, can sprain muscles, tear tendons and ligaments, and suffer from overworked joints, all of which will usually improve faster with massage.
Many breeds have been over bred for profit, and sadly suffer genetic defects such as hip dysplasia, hyperactivity, and obsessive-compulsive behaviors. Massage can help reduce the pain of misaligned joints and help calm the nervous system.
Unnatural diets of dehydrated kibbles, especially those with chemical additives, can encourage tissue fibers to stick together and lead to reduced movement. Massage can encourage fibers to separate and break up scar tissue, as well as increase peristaltic action in the intestines and improve digestion by overall relaxation. If your companion is overweight, then s/he is working harder to carry around that heavy fat, and massage can help ease the burden on joints.
As your companion ages, massage can reduce inflammation and pain associated with arthritic joints, and improve failing muscle tone. Full body palpation can also detect early signs of lumps, bumps, and abrasions that you might not notice through surface petting of your companion.
Today’s society requires people to be busy, and companion animals rarely get a chance to do the farm-based work that most of they were bred to do, leading to boredom. Massage is one more interesting thing for your pet to experience. Animals are, in general, more “in their bodies” than humans are, but oftentimes they too can appreciate being reminded through touch that they are, for example, more sore on one side than the other. A calm dog has a better ability to focus on training tasks, too; a relaxed cat, however, usually wants to go to sleep!
Dog and cat clients must be spayed or neutered.
60 minutes – $ 64.00
75 minutes – $ 74.00
90 minutes – $ 84.00
If you round up a dollar, you get to put the dollar into a Charity Jar, whose contents will be donated to a nonprofit organization at the end of each month. It took two years to accomplish a goal of mine: I bought three huge boxes of lovely used children’s clothes, toys, and supplies and found a charity in 2020 to mail them to India, for needy families. The cost to get them across the country required that long, but you all did it! Thank you!
The latest donation, in September 2021, went to Doctors Without Borders. I wait until I get at least $100 for a donation, and this good organization put it to good use immediately. Thank you all for your generosity!
At this time, my card reader does not function, and I am only accepting cash and checks. I will update this info when I fix this problem.
For bedbound or immobile clients, I will do an outcall session in your home, with a $10 travel fee. That fee is waived for those on Hospice, and for their caregivers as well.
Insurance work is done in 60 minute sessions, and is billed accordingly.
I accept Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Labor & Industry, both of which require a prescription.
Appointments and Policies:
I work by appointment, and can often take a same-day appointment.
I am available Monday – Saturday, starting at 10:00 a.m., and last appointment times will vary. I do not conduct business online nor via text, only telephone.
Please see my Contact information at the bottom to book an appointment. I request 24 hours of notice to cancel an appointment — and I offer the reverse policy, whereby if I cancel without 24 hours’ notice, you get an hour of free massage.
** Please note that during the COVID-19 pandemic, I have suspended cancellation fees.
Payment is due at time of service. All personal information is kept private as per HIPAA laws, and your information would never be sold or given to anyone.
*** Please note that I am chemically sensitive and I ask clients to refrain from coming to a session wearing scented products including perfume, cologne, strong deodorant or shampoo, and strong laundry detergents. Thank you for your consideration.
I charge by the session, because animals vary in their response to massage and some will need little breaks in the bodywork, and some will not tolerate prolonged work.
In general, a horse will take between 45 minutes to an hour and a half, for which I charge $60.
I offer multiple-horse discounts, either within one family or between shared barn mates:
Two or more horses are $55 each
Dogs and cats are also charged by the session, which can vary from 20 minutes to over an hour.
- A session is $45 for dogs or cats.
Multiple animal discount is two or more animals for $40 each, same or combined species.
Service Area for Animal “in home” Massage
The boundaries of my services area to travel for animal massage are Bellingham City Limits. Outside of the city, there will be an additional travel fee of $10.
Small Animal Massage Classes are suspended during COVID-19 pandemic. I am offering private tutorials for clients to learn how to massage their own companions upon request; as with animal massage, the length varies upon time your pet allows manipulation, but sessions average about two hours. The cost is $90. Please note my chemical sensitivity before booking a session.
Skya Fisher is truly the best massage therapist I have had the pleasure of working with. She is helping my body recover from an old injury. My work is very physical and I need to be in the best shape I can. Thanks!
Ms. Mariana Smith
I was hit by a car while riding my bicycle in August 2010. The accident shattered my entire upper body. All the nerves were severed in my right hand and I have limited feeling in that hand. I have a plate in my upper left arm and extensive scarring between my vertebrae.
By maintaining a vigorous exercise program and using multiple pain control modalities such as massage, hydrotherapy, and qigong breathing exercises, I have been able to steadily wean down my level of pain medication. I work and I even take an occasional bicycle tour. My life is more active than that of most uninjured people I know.
Every two weeks, Skya Fisher loosens the knots and enables total relaxation. Skya makes it possible for me to get out there and live another two weeks. She manipulates my forearm and reduces the numbness in my hand so I can continue to type, write, and produce art for sale – Skya maintains the tool of my livelihood.
Ms. Kristin Noreen
Thank you for helping me eliminate caffeine from my diet. By doing this the sharp needle-like pains and hot flushing on my skin disappeared. Headaches are gone.
Your encouragement provided the motivation to improve myself physically and mentally.
Mr. David Tucker
Skya’s approach to my extensive shoulder injury has been sensitive, holistic, and frankly, far more effective for me than physiotherapy has proven to be. Her combination of visualization, relaxation, and manipulation of tissues — and her whole body awareness — is an incredibly powerful combination.
Mr. Brent H.
Many do massage — few are therapists.
Dr. John Baker
The most caring massage I have ever experienced. What you are doing is much more healing than what doctors do.
Mr. Scott C.
Bioactive Plant Fractions
An interesting product developed by Dr. Tel-Oren, MD, is Bioactive Plant Fractions. When plants evaporate water from their leaves all day (such as in the jungles where humans are assumed to have evolved), they also release traces of tiny chemical compounds which scientific studies have shown can:
- Inhibit microbial growth of molds, yeasts, and other fungi
- Inhibit various cancer cells in vitro
- Neutralize free radicals
- Reduce inflammation
Dr. Tel-Oren created an ultra-refined type of essential oil with such small molecules of these chemicals that they easily cross into the lung tissues. Three blends of these molecules are available in small, economical inhalers, as well as an ultrasonic diffuser. More detailed information is available in a pamphlet available at my office, or from this website: www.plantextractsinc.com. To order form the site, go to “Buy Online” and go to pages 7 and 8 to see the list of products and refills.
Manual Ligament Therapy
This site is the official site for Manual Ligament Therapy, created by Arik Gohl. Find information, studies, and how to take a class if you are interested.
Bricolage Earth Friendly Crafts
This website is coming soon!
This is the site for my recycled-content craft business, Bricolage Earth Friendly Crafts. This site is still being built, so please call me for more information until it is completed.
I design and sell “Napkerchiefs”, a colorful wipe used as a handkerchief or a napkin, or anything else you like. These are made from recycled cotton T-shirts, and can save a lot of trees from being cut down for unnecessary paper products.
I also design face cradle covers for other therapists to buy, with cute and unique patterns and prints to hide makeup or other stains.
The third product I design is Sensory Stimulation Pads, for people with dementia to fiddle and fuss with. From recycled materials, each is a one-of-a-kind creation, with things to pull, look under, move about, and watch.
Bellingham Public Library
Recommended Book/DVD of the month, October 2021, from our library:
Roll With Me
This inspiring documentary follows a paraplegic man who sets out to be the first human to wheel his manual wheelchair across the country from California to New York. To add another layer, he was only eight months sober!
To book an appointment, please call:
(please do not text or email)
Cat Paws Massage
I work by appointment, and can often take a same-day appointment.
I am available Monday – Saturday, starting at 10:00 a.m
Last appointment times will vary.
Please note that I am frequently in a session during business hours and will return your call promptly if you leave a message with your name and phone number.
Thank you for your interest in Cat Paws Massage!
~ May All Beings Be Free of Suffering ~