It has been an adventure

I know it has been a long while since I have updated you all on how my Frozen Shoulder was doing….

Today marks the 1st day in almost 12 years that I am no longer a Certified or Licensed Massage Therapist.

I made the decision not to renew my license this year and here is a timeline of events that led me to this decision…

In March of 2020 Covid closed down my place of business, in June of that year I developed frozen shoulder in my left shoulder, sometime shortly after that I was able to return to work briefly only to discover that I cannot wear a mask for prolonged periods of time without increasing my migraines.

By January of the following year, I was seeing great improvement in my left shoulder but was starting to notice discomfort in the right, by April that shoulder had frozen up just as I had regained almost full range of motion in the left shoulder.

I had also noticed during the time I was being treated for the left shoulder that the joints in the fingers on my left hand were inflamed and no longer had full ROM, I had assumed it was simply due to the frozen shoulder but today it is still painful to close my fingers on that hand.

In the time that I have been recovering from frozen shoulder syndrome (times two) I began to question just how long a person can safely practice massage without taking a toll on the body.

I remember hearing when I first came to the field of massage that 4 years is the average for “burn out” but I was thrilled when those years came and went, and I was still going strong. Well, the recent events have given me time to ponder this.

I recall telling another therapist who had also been in the field that I could no longer open jars, she too had been in the field ten years and was also unable to open a jar, she said her “gripper is broken.”

There is no doubt that damage had already started, but then add in other factors such as age, genetic predisposition to psoriatic arthritis, and family history of joint disorders I really had to ask myself if I could continue this as a career for much longer.

I do want to say this has been an amazing learning and healing experience for me and I cherish the memories of the many healing miracles that happened on my massage table as well as the many unique and rare skeletal and autoimmune disorders I have seen and learned more about over the years.

This experience has opened my eyes to the amazing healing abilities of the human body as well as the hidden ailments that the people around us are dealing with on a daily basis.

In future posts I will focus on some of the things I learned as a massage therapist and some of the conditions that I have seen and what those clients taught me about life and living with chronic conditions.

Until then, take care,

Yours in Health and Wellness,

Kristeen Smart

ps, yes, I am still certified in Reiki and EFT though I am not sure if I will follow that path in my future journey just yet, the future is unwritten.


Frozen Shoulder & Massage

I Feared massage therapy

As you all know I am a massage therapist, you might assume that I would seek massage therapy and even recommend massage therapy for Frozen Shoulder Syndrome.

Here is why I did not initially seek massage therapy and what I would like other massage therapists to know and understand about this condition, especially in the early stages:

  • In the beginning the pain was excruciating and rotation of the arm was unbearable both actively and passively.
  • The muscles surrounding my shoulder, biceps, deltoid, scalenes, and even triceps were  frequently in spasm and painfully fighting every movement.
  • But most of all that I feared someone would move the arm beyond my comfort level and my comfort level was very limited at the time.

What I want massage therapist to know

The pain that I was experiencing in the beginning was not something that could be pushed past and I know from past experiences with many massage therapists that some believe in telling the client “but you need this.” That is exactly the type of thinking that scared me away from seeking massage therapy for my frozen shoulder.

From my personal experience and looking back on it now if I were to have come to you seeking treatment what I would have needed and wanted from you was simply to work on the muscles that were in constant spasm at the time but not to attempt to move my arm or rotate it at all because rotation at the time was unbearable.

About three months into my condition I was beginning to make some progress and perhaps with some massage on the muscles that were fighting me through this process I could have improved faster, but the fear of hearing “but you need this” and the shooting pains kept me guarded. I fully understand any client with frozen shoulder being guarded and fearful now.

Having experienced this first hand

My course of treatment for someone with this condition would be completely different than it would have been in the past. Now I would first begin with only massaging the muscles that are in spasm but no range of motion on the arm and shoulder at all,

I would also focus on the hand, wrist and elbow as all of these things are affected when the shoulder is impinged and often pain and numbness can radiate down to the hand, especially in the night.

As the client begins to improve and the spasms begin to lessen I would carefully and minimally work on some medial and lateral rotation of the shoulder as well as carefully support the arm off the side of the table (supine position) and gently lower it slowly ONLY to the point of discomfort and upward ONLY to the point of discomfort.

Focus the massage on the deltoids, pecs, scalenes, biceps, triceps, and traps. Do not forget that the other arm and shoulder has been working double time and is also in need of some TLC as is the neck from all the stress, tension and sleepless nights.

Six Months Later

It has been about six months since my Frozen Shoulder presented itself to me and I have been seeing a chiropractor regularly. I am now at a point where I would allow someone to work on my shoulder, but only someone that I trust. You as a massage therapist will need to earn the trust of your Frozen Shoulder Client.

That trust begins with not pushing your client past their level of tolerance. Pay close attention to their body language and breathing, if they are guarding and pulling away then you need to change your approach, go gentle with them until they are able to tolerate more, they will let you know what they can and cannot tolerate,

Believe me your client wants to heal from this but they fear the pain that they have been experiencing more than you can imagine and will avoid you if you put them back in that place that they are trying so hard to get out of.   Be a part of their recovery with compassion and empathy.

Yours in Health and Wellness,

Kristeen Anne Smart (formerly Kristeen Anne Kish)

CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist



My Frozen Shoulder (Update)

Six months later…

So it has been about six months since my shoulder began to painfully freeze up on me and about three months since I wrote my last blog about my experience with Frozen Shoulder Syndrome. It is time to give you all an update on my personal journey with this condition.

I decided to go the route of Chiropractic

For me it was the most cost effective route and since I also suffer from migraines which seemed to worsen with the shoulder condition as my muscles were having a lot of spasms along the scalenes and shoulder.

I went twice a week and slowly, very slowly I started so see some tiny improvements such as being able to reach the second shelf of my cupboards. Eventually I could touch the rear view mirror of my car. The Chiropractor and I had agreed that if we were not seeing any improvements he would refer me out to a specialist.

If you research the cranial nerves you will discover that there is a cranial nerve that is associated with not only Frozen Shoulder but also Migraine Disorders and that was what we have been focusing on in our sessions, the Cervical Nerves 10 and 11 were and still are our main focus as my neck does not have full range of motion when turning to the left. I am currently still seeing the Chiropractor weekly.

What I can and Cannot Do

At this time, six months into this condition, I can now reach and adjust my rear view mirror, put my seatbelt on and take it off with that arm, lift the dumpster lid so that my good arm can put the trash in.

I can reach the third shelf of my cupboards, wash my hair and put it into a pony tail (with a bit of struggle,) and I can almost reach the higher shelves in the grocery stores.

I can turn on and off the lights when I leave the room without giving it a second thought, clean, do dishes, and vacuum. I can roll over in my sleep without pain, and I can sleep through the night!

I still cannot close my hatch back with that arm, or put my hand on my hip, I cant reach behind my back or wear a bra that hooks in the back.

My range of motion with the right arm is still very limited but I am pleased with the progress I have been making so far.


Yours in Health And Wellness,

Kristeen Anne Smart (Formerly Kristeen Anne Kish)

CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist



My Frozen Shoulder Syndrome

Adhesive Capsulitis

That is the technical term for the condition and I have treated many people over the years who have come to me with this condition.

I even advised a friend of mine to seek professional treatment when he began complaining of shoulder pain one day and I observed his symptoms increasing to what I believed to be frozen shoulder, and I was correct in my assumption.

Fast forward to now and here I am a month and a half into my own frozen shoulder condition experiencing this first hand, and I would like to apologize to all of you for not fully comprehending exactly what you were experiencing.

While I do understand that this condition can range from mild to severe and that some people may or may not experience an extreme level of pain and discomfort for me this has caused many sleepless nights and times where I have bolted out of bed in excruciating pain and pressed my shoulder against a wall to make it stop.

I am pretty sure the neighbors have thought I was being beaten in the night with the sounds of me crying out in pain night after night.

Confusing Treatment Options

When you research Frozen Shoulder Syndrome you will discover that not only do they not know what causes it but they also do not agree on how best to treat the condition.

Some believe that you should begin physical therapy right away to avoid loss of range of motion, which has already been lost by the time you realize that you have the condition as I can no longer hook my bra or reach past the first shelf of my kitchen cabinets,

Others say that you should wait it out until the condition comes full circle and the shoulder will “thaw” on its own.

Apparently there is a third option where the doctor will put you under anesthesia and manually manipulate the joint capsule to free up any adhesion that may be causing the limited range of motion.

As for me…

Well, I had wanted to get treatment, but between insurance and prior authorizations things did not go as planned and I never got in for the MRI I tried to get, without it no one wanted to begin treatment so I have been slowly working on it myself as much as I can tolerate.

I have tried everything from self massage, self cupping, TENS units, topical analgesics, and anti-inflammatories to try and manage the pain and muscle spasms.

Currently I am at a point now where I am finally able to get a decent nights sleep and can do more activities of daily living with a bit less pain that I had been experiencing, such as putting on deodorant in the morning or washing and combing my hair.

It is funny how much we take our shoulders for granted until something like this happens, and once again I really want to apologize to my clients who have gone through this, I have gained a whole new level of understanding from this experience.

Those Cure Your Frozen Shoulder Videos…

Umm I watched a few of those, there is NO WAY that some of those people even had frozen shoulder syndrome to begin with, there is a difference between having frozen shoulder syndrome and having a pulled muscle or some other muscular issue that you could easily massage or stretch out and be all better in no time.

This condition is a process, it takes time to heal from this, unfortunately more time than I was hoping it would take. I will be honest, this is frustrating, and it has at times had in me tears feeling very sorry for myself and questioning my future as a massage therapist. It can make you feel like a total invalid when you cannot even pull your own pants up when you use the bathroom,

That being said I know that the body is amazing at healing itself when left to its own devices and when given the proper tools to do so. I have faith that if I don’t baby it, don’t over do it, get enough rest, and try to take care of myself things will work themselves out and I will be back to massaging soon.

Yours in Health and Wellness,

Kristeen Anne Smart (formerly Kristeen Anne Kish)

CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist

P.S. (is 2020 over yet?)



Amidst the Covid19 shutdown

Many people with chronic pain disorders found it difficult to get in to see their doctors and get their regular treatments. I was one of those people.

Botox sessions were cancelled and pain medications were difficult to obtain. My neurologist was away for almost two months and all of his appointments were cancelled or rescheduled.

I stumbled upon a supplement while searching for natural allergy relief as this has been an unusually rough allergy season as well, and given the virus its best not to be coughing or sneezing if one can manage their symptoms. So I purchased something on Amazon that contained several ingredients that seemed very favorable to me and had really great reviews.

What I did not know at the time of purchase was how much one of the ingredients in that supplement was going to be of great benefit to my migraine headaches!

I have not needed to use any pain medications either prescription or over the counter in over three week. I have only had  a handful of mild migraines since I have been taking the supplement.

Quercetin is a powerful Antioxident

I had no knowledge of this when I purchased the Stinging Nettle and Quercetin “Allergy” remedy that had such good reviews on Amazon, but it got me searching for studies done on Quercetin.

The numerous studies that I found ranged from its benefits on allergies to its uses in destroying certain cancer cells as well as its immune boosting properties. There are even studies on a synthetic version of quercetin being tested for use with epilepsy due to the fact that natural quercetin is short acting due its water soluble nature.

I am not going to post all the many many links to the various studies, but I will quote this study here:

“In vitro and some animal models have shown that quercetin, a polyphenol derived from plants, has a wide range of biological actions including anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and antiviral activities”

(Do feel free to search the many studies out there, its mind blowing to be perfectly honest! Just use the search bar at the top of that study and put Quercetin in there and explore.)

Foods High in Quercetin

The following list comes from this article:

Food Scientific Name Quercetin Content (mg per 100g dry or 100 mL liquid) Source
1. Capers, fresh Capparis spinosa 233.84 16
2. Capers, canned Capparis spinosa 172.55 16
3. Lovage leaves, raw Levisticum officinale 170.0 16
4. Elderberry juice concentrate Sambucusspp. 108.16 16
5. Dock, raw Rumex spp. 86.2 16
6. Radish leaves Raphanus raphanistrum subsp. sativus 70.37 16
7. Wild rocket Diplotaxis tenuifolia 66.19 16
8. Dill weed, fresh Anethum graveolens 55.15 16
9. Cilantro, fresh Coriandrum sativum 52.9 16
10. Banana peppers, raw Capsicum annuum 50.63 16
11. Fennel leaves, raw Foeniculum vulgare 48.8 16
12. Juniper berries Juniperus communis 46.61 16
13. Mexican oregano Lippia graveolens 42.0 16
14. Yellow onion, cooked (winter harvest) Allium cepa L. 41.9 17
15. Red onions, raw Allium cepa L. 39.21 16
16. Carob flour Ceratonia siliqua 38.78 16
17. Radicchio Cichorium intybus 31.51 16
18. Red leaf lettuce Lactuca sativa L. var. crispa 30.6 17
19. Spring onions, red bulb portion Allium cepa L. 30.6 16
20. Watercress, raw Nasturtium officinale 29.99 16
21. Hartwort leaves Tordylium apulum 29.3 16
22. Ancho peppers Capsicum annuum 27.6 16
23. Elderberrines Sambucus spp. 26.77 16
24. Hawthorn leaves Crataegus monogyna 24.1 16
25. Asparagus, cooked Asparagus officinalis L. 23.6 17
26. Kale, raw Brassica oleracea 22.58 16
27. Okra, raw Abelmoschus esculentus 20.97 16
28. Bee pollen n/a 20.95 16
29. Cocoa powder Theobroma cacao 20.0 18
30. Apples (skin only) Malus genus 19.36 16
31. Chia seeds, raw Salvia hispanica 18.42 16
32. Moringa Moringa oleifera 16.65 16
33. Saskatoons Amelanchier canadensis 16.64 16
34. Annual sow thistle, leaves Sonchus oleraceus 16.0 16
35. Serrano peppers, raw Capsicum anuum 15.98 16
36. Buckwheat Fagopyrum esculentum Moench 15.38 16
37. Hot green chili peppers, raw Capsicum annuum 14.7 16
38. Cranberries Vaccinium oxycoccos 14.0 18
39. Goji berries, dried Lycium barbarum 13.6 16
40. Red spring onions, leaves Allium cepa L. 12.6 16
41. Black diamond plums, raw with peel Prunus domestica 12.45 16
42. Romaine lettuce Lactuca sativa L. var. longifolia 12.0 17
43. Yellow onion, cooked (summer harvest) Allium cepa L. 11.0 17
44. Scallions Allium cepa or Allium
10.68 16
45. Red leaf lettuce, winter harvest Lactuca sativa L. var. crispa 10.3 18
46. Tarragon, fresh Artemisia dracunculus 10.0 16
47. Green chili pepper, cooked Capscicum annuum L. 9.9 18
48. Sweet potato leaves, cooked Ipomoea batatas 9.84 16
49. Mustard greens, raw Brassica juncea 8.8 16
50. Arugula Eruca sativa 7.92 16
51. Blueberries Vaccinium spp. 7.67 16
52. Sea buckthorn Hippophae rhamnoides 7.58 16
53. Red Swiss chard, raw Beta vulgaris subsp. Vulagaris 7.5 16
54. Lingonberries Vaccinium vitis-idaea 7.4 18
55. Oregano, fresh Origanum vulgare 7.3 16
56. Red kidney beans, boiled Phaseolus vulgaris 6.82 16
57. Chicory greens, raw Cichorium intybus 6.49 16
58. Long yellow peppers, raw Capsicum annuum 6.45 16
59. Figs Ficus carica 5.47 16
60. Yardlong bean, cooked Vigna unguiculata ssp. sesquipedalis 5.3 16
61. Jalepeno peppers, raw Capsicum anuum 5.07 16
62. Turmeric, steamed Curcuma
4.92 16
63. Chives, raw Allium schoenoprasum 4.77 16
64. Acerola Malpighia emarginata 4.74 16
65. Brussels sprouts, cooked Brassica oleracea 4.33 16
66. Green leaf lettuce Lactuca sativa var. crispa 4.16 16
67. Tomato products without added salt, canned (average) n/a 4.12 16
68. Apples, all varieties (fruit with skin) Malus genus 4.01 16
69. Spinach, raw Spinacia oleracea 3.97 16
70. Tart or sour cherry juice Prunus cerasus 3.88 16
71. Blackberries Rubus spp. 3.58 16
72. Cherry tomatos Solanum lycopersicum 3.3 17
73. Broccoli, raw Brassica oleracea var. italica 3.26 16
74. Bay leaves, fresh Laurus nobilis 3.19 16
75. Concord grapes Vitis vinifera 3.11 16
76. Snap green peas, raw Pisum sativum 2.73 16
77. Butterhead lettuce Lactuca sativa var. capitata 2.73 16
78. Regular green tea, brewed Camellia sinensis 2.69 16
79. Collard greens, raw Brassica oleracea var. viridis 2.57 16
80. Cayenne peppers, raw Capsicum annuum 2.48 16
81. Broccoli raab, raw Brassica ruvo 2.25 16
82. Green bell peppers Capsicum annuum 2.21 16
83. White Swiss chard, raw Beta vulgaris subsp. vulagaris 2.2 16
84. Romaine lettuce Lactuca sativa var. logifolia 2.2 16
85. Black tea, brewed Camellia sinensis 2.19 16
86. Japanese green tea, brewed Camellia sinensis 2.1 17
87. Applesauce, canned Malus genus 2.0 16
88. Garlic, raw Allium sativum 1.74 16
89. Apricots, raw Prunus armeniaca 1.63 16
90. Pistachio nuts, raw Pistacia vera 1.46 16
91. Red potatoes with skin, baked Solanum tuberosum 1.43 16
92. Iceberg lettuce Lactuca sativa var. capitata 1.42 16
93. Oolong tea, brewed Camellia sinensis 1.3 16
94. Cherries Prunus avium L. 1.2 17
95. Strawberries Fragaria X ananassa 1.11 16
96. Apples, all varieties (fruit without skin) Malus genus 1.05 16
97. Broccoli raab, cooked Brassica ruvo 1.05 16
98. Red raspberries Rubus spp. 1.05 16
99. Red grapes Vitis vinifera 1.04 16
100. Red wine n/a 1.04 16
Sources: USDA Special Interest Databases on Flavonoids (16)
Nishimuro H, Ohnishi H, Sato M, et al. Estimated daily intake and seasonal food sources of quercetin in Japan. (17)
Larson AJ, Symons JD, Jalili T. Quercetin: A Treatment for Hypertension? A Review of Efficacy and Mechanisms. (18)

I do not claim that this will help with all migraine types or all chronic pain disorders but given the many things Quercetin is being studied for it is definitely a supplement worthy of mentioning and worth adding to your diet.

Yours in Health and Wellness,

Kristeen Anne Smart  (Formerly Kristeen Anne Kish)

CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist


Minimizing the Spread

As our world faces this Pandemic

Many in the massage field have been ordered by our states to stay home, and in the states that have not issues that order the various massage organizations have encouraged that we do so.

Our profession has always been in close contact with others. In the beginning when we were told not to shake hands, rather to elbow bump or toe tap, I found that to be a pointless gesture as I was about to massage the very hand I was being asked not to shake.

I have in the past written about clients who come for massages even when they are sick and how we wish they would not because it puts us and our other clients at risk, this is true of any virus.

There is one thing that I really want to impress upon everyone while this pandemic is happening, while we are finally waking up to the need to protect others. This is not the only virus that carries with it the potential to kill other people.

Continue These Precautions

Yearly we have many viruses to protect ourselves and others from. There is a virus called RSV that some of you may or may not have heard of. It looks like the common cold to most people and usually goes unnoticed.

One week of cold like symptoms and you are back to normal and never give it another thought, but to an infant or a person with an immune compromise it can turn into pneumonia, it kills babies and the elderly every year.

You may not have heard of it because there is no vaccine for it and because its death tolls here in the United States are included in the yearly flu death statistics which this year alone were about 20,000.

The precautions that you are taking now to prevent the spread of Covid-19 such as good hand washing, covering your face when you cough and staying home when you are sick are the same precautions you should be taking anytime that you have a cold or flu.

There does not need to be a world wide pandemic for us to be thinking about protecting our elderly and children of society, we should be thinking about them anytime we are sick with any virus.

If You Are Sick Stay Home

That should go without saying, but it seems some people need to understand that also includes being around others who are sick.

At my place of work we had a client who came in for a massage, she said to her therapist “I have been home from work taking care of my sick child.” Oh great, thought the therapist, but there was no backing out of the massage because she was already in the middle of it when this conversation took place. Two days later that therapist was home sick and vomiting.

If you have been exposed to someone who is sick then you need to consider the possibility that you may also be infected. Covid-19 for example has a 14 day incubation period, this means if you were exposed to someone who has it you could be contagious for up to two weeks before you start having symptoms.

Some viruses have much shorter incubation periods, I had the Norvo Virus back when I was a medication aide, it has a 72 hour incubation period, it hit me at about 72 hours from exposure.

Let this virus be a wake up call

The steps we are taking with this virus such as hand washing, self isolating when sick, avoiding the elderly if exposed to illness, coughing into your elbow or a tissue, these common sense things are how we should be treating every virus, even the common ones such as colds and flu.

There are circumstances that the people around you have that you are not aware of.  The person in the grocery line behind you may have an immune compromise or may be taking care of an elderly parent. Think of them not only during this crisis but when there is no pandemic and you simply have a common cold or flu and feel well enough to go shopping or get that massage.

Take what you are learning now and apply it in everyday life, not just in times of a pandemic or crisis. Consider this a global wake up call, we are not doing this just for ourselves but for those around us.


Yours in Health and Wellness,

Kristeen Anne Smart  (formerly Kristeen Anne Kish)

CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist


Communication and The Perfect Massage

I know we have discussed this before

Communication is the KEY to the perfect massage! It begins the moment you bring your client back to the room and it starts with three simple questions:

What areas would you like to focus on?

They will begin with the areas that bother them the most and then talk about the areas that are also giving them some trouble and then maybe mention areas they enjoy such as feet or scalp, this is your starting point, remember these key focus areas, they are your main focus during this massage session, all other areas are side quests.

What level of pressure do you prefer?

Here they may tell you they prefer medium but you can do harder if you feel that you need to, key word, if you feel that you need to. They are honestly hoping to avoid pain, so try to use techniques that can achieve the most success with minimal discomfort.

Or they may tell you they like it as hard as you can go, which may not be accurate, sometimes they think they can handle that until you really apply some pressure, always check in with the pressure and ask them if they would like more or less pressure, especially if you notice any signs of discomfort.

Sometimes I get people who are there for a Deep Tissue massage, and this is where some of my coworkers have been getting the most complaints lately. One of them who is new in the field recently asked me how I avoid getting complaints on my deep tissues, so let me first explain some of the complaints my coworkers have been getting on their Deep Tissue techniques to explain the problem here:

Complaint #1 The therapist did not use enough lotion, the massage did not have enough glide. It sounds like the client wanted what we often refer to as a Firm Swedish/Deep Tissue, which is really Swedish just a bit deeper, so more flow, less focus on the deep tissue.

That client would have been right up my alley because that’s more my speed, The therapist actually did everything correctly Deep Tissue massage usually uses less lotion and is more targeted work with less glide, the client was booked for the wrong service and should have been booked for a Firm Swedish Deep Tissue.

Complaint #2 (And I laughed so hard when I heard this one!!!) The massage strokes were too sloooowwwwww! Deep Tissue strokes are slower and with purpose to sink deeper into the layers of muscle tissue, truth be told most of my massage strokes are slow. Fast is usually more of a Sports Massage modality. Again the therapist did nothing wrong and honestly I don’t know how she and this client could have come to some understanding in this situation.

Most of the time when it comes to complaints about Deep Tissue massage it is either that it was too deep or not deep enough, this is where getting a good idea of their expectations and communication is most important.

So when my coworker asked me how I communicate with my Deep Tissue clients I told her I simply ask them “How Deep do you like your Deep?” Deep Tissue means many things to people, for some people it can mean “Elbows in Deep” or it can mean “Firm Hands Deep” and from the start I want to know which deep this client is expecting before I touch them. If I know their base level of expectation I can adjust from there once we get started.

That brings us to my third and final question before the session begins, and most important.

“Do you have any medical conditions that I should be aware of?”

Now I know that some of you reading this are thinking that they have already filled out a medical waiver form, well in some places they don’t fill one out or don’t have to, or they failed to mention things that they thought were not important. You would be surprised how many things people will share with their massage therapists that they wont even tell their own doctor.

During this time they may tell me about a car accident several years ago or some hip pain, cervical spine issues, or other minor problems they may be having that could be important factors in how I will tailor the session to their individual needs.

Communication During the Session

It is important during the session to check in from time to time, for example, if I have been working on a stubborn area of muscle tension I may check in and ask if the pressure is still ok.

When changing to a different area of the body I often ask if they would like the same level of pressure on the legs that they wanted on the back, sometimes people have different sensitivities on the extremities.

After I turn the client over I ask them how they are doing and if the table heat is alright before I begin working on the other side.

You cant please all of the people all of the time, but with good communication you will be able to please most of the people most of the time.

Yours in Health and Wellness,

Kristeen Anne Smart (Formerly Kish) CAMTC CMT


“Pump and Dump” Another Toxin Myth

About those Toxins again…

Not long ago I heard a coworker say that he instructed a lactating client to “pump and dump” following her massage in case any of the “toxins released during the massage” may have contaminated her milk supply.

This was the first time I had ever heard this toxin myth taken to such an extent. I did not try to explain to my coworker that there are no toxins released during massage, mostly due to the fact that people believe what they were taught in their massage schools as fact and often become defensive if you tell them it is not true and unfortunately it is repeated in almost every massage book ever written therefor it must be true, even if it is not.

Thankfully there are a few well known massage authors out there like Laura Allen who are trying to bring some sense and science back to the massage field and dispel some of these myths, but it will take some time before the massage schools get the memo and stop teaching this to their students.

So I searched the web to see how common this new twist on the myth has gotten

These are a few of the posts about this subject that I found in various breast feeding forums from the web:

“She said I should dump the next two pump sessions because of all the toxins that come out after a massage. I barely produce enough for my lo and dumping anything makes me sad. Is this really necessary?”

“I got a 90 minute massage tonight. The massage therapist said that since I was breastfeeding, and she was massaging my lymph nodes, I should pump and dump at least for the next 12 hours, but 24 hours ideally. She said this is because the toxins now floating around my body can go into the breastmilk and cause DD to feel sick, not to mention I shouldn’t feed my baby BM with toxins in it.”

“Is it safe?? I’m getting my first massage today and I’m still breastfeeding. Just read that it could be dangerous because of the toxins that get released from your body and go into your breasts/milk — is this true? I’ve never heard of this. I will breastfeed right before my appointment but I’m I safe to breastfeed right after?”

“The masseuse informed me that I will have to drink a ton of water and dump at least 6 ounces from each breast until the toxins are removed. I Googled this to find that there is literally no research to back this up and that I CAN nurse her after all or pump and be able to use it. Does anyone have experience with this?”

“I had a massage today and the massage therapist told me to pump and dump for the next 24 hours because of the “toxins” that she released while massaging me. 24 HOURS??? Are you kidding? That’s over 40oz of breastmilk down the drain if it’s true. Does any one know for sure or know how I can find out? I would be bummed BIG TIME if I had to dump all the breastmilk down the drain. I will do it if I have to but a want a “second opinion”!”

I do not even know where to begin, other than to first apologize to these ladies for the misguided information they have been given, and especially to the one who was already struggling to produce enough milk to feed her infant.

I repeat NO Toxins are released by massage

None, zero, zip, zilch, nada! The only exception is that deep tissue massage might release some myoglobin which is not toxic but can become toxic if it builds up in the kidneys in large amounts, which is the real reason you should drink water after a massage.

I know that we all learned this toxin myth in massage school and many still believe it because they have not been educated otherwise,   this myth is harmful not only to our industry but clearly it is causing undo stress to these nursing mothers and may prevent other nursing mothers from getting massage treatments out of fear of these non existent toxins.

Lets spread the word, help educate other therapist and our clients that massage is safe for nursing mothers and their new born babies and that there is no need for them to sacrifice their precious milk over a silly myth about mystery toxins.

Yours in Health and Wellness,

Kristeen Anne Smart (formerly Kish)

CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist



Migraine Journey Part 3: Update Feeling A Bit Better!

February was a challenge

The weather was unusual for Southern California, a lot of rain and overcast skies that often cause me a lot of light sensitivity and headaches.

My last entry detailed many of the ongoing days of struggle with the migraines and it was a bit chaotic but I decided to leave the entry exactly as it is because that is how my mind was working at the time.

I have been on the 100 mgs of Topamax for over a month now and using CBD oil daily along with Turmeric with Black Pepper and some Vitamin D (since I already know I am low on that) and drinking water.

I am trying to manage my migraines using as little over the counter or prescription pain relivers as possible due to the potential for rebound or over use headaches, this is a very real problem for many migraine sufferers.

Rebound or Overuse Headaches

Medication Overuse Headache

Medication overuse headaches have previously been termed “rebound headaches,” or drug-inducedheadache and medication misuse headaches. Medication overuse headaches are experienced more than 15 days a month for at least three months and have developed or markedly worsened during medication overuse.
And that brings us to the conundrum of the doctor saying “take this pill as soon as you feel the migraine coming on for full effectiveness.” If I were to take something every time I feel a migraine coming on I would run the risk of over use because there is not a day that goes by that my head is not threatening to turn on me, sometimes I can convince it to stay calm and work with me, but all it takes is a flash of light or a can of Axe deodorant spray and its on and popping!

I Promised You An Update….

So, I didn’t think the MRI would show up with anything strange, but you never know, so to rule things out before proceeding with treatment options it was best to have a look in there. Everything appears normal.

And since I have tried several Triptan’s I can be referred for the next treatment option after I try one more (because they have to say I at least gave them all a try) and then we can try Botox. The Doctor says many of his patients have good results with the Botox treatment.

As for March and my headaches, so far Zero ocular migraines and I have only turned to medication (not including the daily Topamax) three times this month, I have been able to manage it with the CBD oil most of the time… or, maybe the migraines have lessened due to the daily Topamax? That is very possible.

What Has Worsened? Photophobia! Oh Joy!

I am blessed to work in a dim lit environment, right? Well that has its disadvantages too! Coming out of the dim lighting and into the brighter hallway and then looking onto the computer screens for information on my next client can be painfully blinding, but not only that I have developed a new and even more entertaining migraine side effect, PHOTOPHOBIA!

I was fully aware that the light sensitivity and the way the headlights of oncoming cars and even the street lights and stop lights flare and hurt my eyes was a form of photophobia but now I have gotten to a point where the cell phone and computer screen are also painfully bright to me as well.

Walking down the hallway at work after coming out of a dark room I am now seeing the trim boards move like waves as I walk past them and returning to the dim lit room I now see not one but two massage tables briefly. I am able to adjust to the lighting in a few minutes with some time to focus but I feel as if I am becoming a vampire, suddenly preferring to come out of the building once the sun has completely set.

So, my obvious next step will be to see an optometrist, which is something I had been putting off since the migraines tend to effect my vision and it can change from day to day based on the migraine attacks. I will look into that this coming week.

In a Nut Shell

What seems to be working, the CBD oil and the Topamax, what does not seem to be working for me, the Triptans seem to help with the headaches about 50% of the time but really make me feel terrible, muscle pain and weakness and just an overall feeling that I do not like at all.

Another simple thing that I found on migraine forums is that in the UK the first line of treatment is 900 to 1,000mg of Aspirin taken with a Sugar Cola (sugar, not fructose corn syrup, so something like a Jones Soda or a Mexican Coke) and I have tried that twice now and both times it has stopped a migraine in its tracks.

I have since looked up the studies on Aspirin for migraines and there have been several peer reviewed studies where they compared 900 to 1,000 mgs of Aspirin to the Triptans and Placebo and found the Aspirin to be as effective as the Triptans, my Neurologist disagrees with that but the many studies shows this to be the case.

Last night I tried another in the Triptan family, within 30 minutes I felt my body get weak, I began to feel sick to my stomach, the pain in my head did not go away, in fact it got worse. I took some CBD oil and went to bed. I felt better this morning, but if the pain continues today I will simply use the Aspirin because I do need to function at work, I do not need to have my muscles effected by a my migraine medication.

I do hope that something along the way here may be of help to someone else that may be going through this or even to my daughter who is struggling with the migraines along with me. It turns out that there is indeed a genetic component to the condition and it unfortunately effects more women than men.

Most migraine studies have been largely conducted on men in the past but that trend is changing and I look forward to more research studies being done on women and more specifically on the hormonal triggers as that is often a very common trigger for many women.

Yours Always, In Health and Wellness!

Kristeen Anne Smart (formerly Kish)

CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist



Migraine Journey Part 2 Its Been A Long February

Today I am Feeling a lot Better

It has taken me several days and a lot of trial and error to get to this point. Rewind to Tuesday’s last blog post, I went in for my brain scan with a migraine hiding behind my sunglasses.

The scan went well, I managed to hold still the entire time, they got my message about being unable to lay on my back without support under my knees and had everything ready when I got there.  The entire procedure only took about 15 minutes once they got my head and shoulders stabilized in whatever contraption they use to make sure you do not move around while they do the imaging.

The process was made more bearable by some head phones playing  old school 80s radio, I would have preferred  relaxing meditative instrumentals or ocean waves but some Phil Collins was not a bad way to set my mind at ease.

When the procedure was done I decided to head to the pharmacy to see if they had ever heard back on the dosage for the Maxalt for the migraine pain, they called the doctor again.

So I waited, in the corner hidden behind my sunglasses until someone at the pharmacy started suggesting to me that perhaps I should try contacting the doctor myself, he continued talking to me while my head was pounding and all I wanted to do was just get some Extra Strength Excedrin, some chocolate, and go to nice dark quiet place, so I did just that and left.

Later that afternoon the pharmacy texted that my med was ready, head was still pounding so I sent my daughter to pick it up for me, an hour after taking that I was still in pain, that evening I took two more Extra Strength Excedrin. The following morning I took another Maxalt and went to work suffering in pain.

At work I asked the manager on duty to put me down for a wellness massage as soon as possible, she not only did that she helped clear my schedule and get me off the clock so that I could go rest because by that time I was experiencing vertigo and nausea as well as the excruciating head pain.

The Massage focus was on head, neck, shoulders and back, a lot of neck and scalp specific work and believe me the muscles of the scalp were painful to the touch, especially the temporalis muscles and I was definitely feeling those areas of tension throughout the evening after the massage.

The pain continued though and by the next day I had given up on the meds aside from the daily preventative Topamax and changed course and started taking large amounts of Turmeric, Vitamin D3, B6, B12, Magnesium, and lots of water along with hemp CBD oil by the dropper as needed all day long.

By the following day I was able to use far less of it, I can still feel that I am not fully out of the woods yet, the pain is sill subtly throbbing in there, but the CBD seems to be making life far more bearable right now, so much so that I was able to pick up another shift at work today to make up for clearing my shift the other day.

Anyhow, This was just a quick update while the events of this week are still all to fresh in my mind… and a little timeline of events in case I forget them later:

Feb 7 met the neuro had visual migraine that evening

Feb 9 had migraine (have had pressure by right orbital bone since last visual migraine)

Feb 18 had irritability, sound and light sensitivity (I knew it was coming)

Feb19 woke with the migraine was MRI day, finally got the Maxalt (did Excedrin twice that day as well)

Feb 20 ouch still going Tried Maxalt again and Excedrin, got massage, most painful night ever! sound sensitive, light sensitive.

Feb 21 gave up on the Maxalt and Excedrin and used CBD and supplements, started feeling a little better, still dizzy.

Feb 22 still doing CBD and supplements, still mild headache, a bit off balance, some visual difficulty, light sensitive.

Feb 23 good morning Firday… how do I feel right now? my eye has been doing that twitching thing for so long that I totally forgot to mention it, its almost become such a daily thing that its not even a thing, so there is that, my eyelid has been twitching for the better part of this month, thank goodness no one seems to have noticed little lefty winky… I feel drained, there is still a feeling as if someone has a finger over the orbital bone by my right eye and there is a slight pain throbbing on the left side of my head. I also feel like there is a veil over my head, cant describe it better than that really.

I feel much better than I have all week and that is saying a lot, but I am not leaving for work without my CBD oil and I have ordered more, I am now realizing why I waited so long to seek treatment for my migraines, because I have done this in the past with similar results, what I was seeking this time is treatment options, not simply more pills. I will continue to update you if I do find out anything that works, so far CBD helps.

(Editing to add the events of the weekend)

Feb 24 Sunday evening at work the head pain continued mildly, growing in intensity with any activity, I was able to keep it under control with some deep breathing and closing my eyes whenever possible but I was still having visual disturbances in the form of tracers and seeing movement in the corners of my eyes.

It is now Monday Feb 25th and I have a new Dr P product being delivered today that I am excited to give a try later, a combination of CBD and Hops for anti-inflammatory properties, believe me at this point I am willing to give anything a try.

As for how I am feeling today, I feel like crap, this has been going on too long, my stomach aches, my head aches, it hurts to look at my cell phone, my computer, the outside world where the beautiful sun is shining, any white paper, any website with a dark background and yellow font, and website with a white background and black font, and that’s pretty much every website lol! Sound hurts, especially high pitched sounds like flutes or children’s squeals.

My vision is not terribly out of focus today, at least for the moment, it honesty changes from moment to moment. There is a constant pressure in my head, it gets more bearable if I sit totally still and do nothing at all, meditation or sleeping is preferable to anything else at this point. Bending down to pick something up makes it worse, movement, exercise, any exertion of energy seems to aggravate the headache, so its just best to be still and calm.

People have been asking me about the results of my brain scan, I do not have any answers because my next neuro appointment is not until the end of next month, its very difficult to get in to see the neurologist, which is why it is very difficult for migraine sufferers to find someone who specializes in this condition, there are very few and they are fully booked out for several weeks in advance. I will keep you posted as I find anything out!

In case you are wondering, the CBD I am currently using is Dr P’s Dark Chocolate Mint CBD Oil

Dr. P’s Dark Chocolate Mint CBD Oil

I trust both Barefut’s products and Dr P’s products so it was an easy choice for me, full spectrum, co2 extracted, no solvent, pure CBD.

Yours in Health and Wellness,

Kristeen Anne Smart (formerly Kristeen Anne Kish)

CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist


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