What is Bamboo Fusion

Bamboo Fusion is a technique created by Nathalie Cecilia and is spreading in popularity all over the country. Many spas are now adding warm bamboo massage to their list of services.


Many of Nathalie’s clients were asking for deep tissue treatment. She soon began to experience pain and fatigue in her hands and wrists. When she started using bamboo to assist her with deep tissue work, she noticed that her pain subsided and her clients loved it. She developed an innovative way to give bamboo massage on the table (Bamboo-Fusion) and in the chair, meanwhile creating her own bamboo set to give the massage.

Her goal today is to help therapists provide deep massage without pain. This technique aids in avoiding repetitive injuries, such as carpal tunnel, and reduces the stress on thumbs, wrists and hands.

You can find many wonderful videos about Bamboo Fusion on their youtube channel:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWOYGAXkHMhUSn65MOztQAA

The technique involves bamboo of different lengths gently heated in a non moist heating pad to provide a massage that is soothing as well as therapeutic and can be used with either gentle or deep tissue applications as desired.

Nathalie Cecilia was inducted into the World Massage Festival Hall of Fame in 2009 and Teacher of the Year in 2013, where I had the pleasure of meeting and receiving my Bamboo Fusion training and certification directly from her at the World Massage Festival on the Queen Mary in 2013.

Nathalie Cecilia demonstrating on me. World Massage Festival 2013.
Nathalie Cecilia demonstrating on me. World Massage Festival 2013.

What I love best about the technique is not only the ability to go deeper as needed with less strain on my hands and wrists but also the portability and ease of cleaning. Bamboo is naturally antibacterial, that alone is a plus, but cleaning the bamboo tools is as simple as using an antibacterial hand and face towelette.

Because the tools are light weight and easily heated in a heating pad it makes it very portable to use for out call services and the bamboo does not take long to heat.

There are other similar bamboo sets on the market today but the ones created and used in Bamboo Fusion are pressed solid with no hole in the center which helps them to prevent splitting and cracking which is common with regular bamboo.

There are several sets available, the ones made for chair work have a finish on them that allows for an easier glide when working through clothing while the set created for table work does not as your own massage oil is all that is needed for that glide. There is also a set of smaller tools for use in facial massages.

You can find tools and instructional videos on the Bamboo Fusion website posted above as well as many popular massage supplies stores.

Warm Bamboo feels wonderful!
Warm Bamboo feels wonderful!
Yours in Health and Wellness,
Kristeen Smart AKA Kristeen Kish
CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist

What is California Massage Therapy Certification?

The following images come from a CAMTC brochure that was offered to CAMTC certification holders for use with their advertising .

CAMTC established in 2009

The California Massage Therapy Council was established in 2009 to help regulate massage professionals and ensure professionalism and indicate that your therapist has met certain criteria for state massage certification.

CA Massage Law voluntary

In California the process of certification is still voluntary but many cities and counties are now requiring CAMTC certification to practice massage.

types of CAMTC certification

There are three types of Certification in California to accommodate the many massage therapists who had already been practicing in the field for many years prior to the establishment of the California Massage Therapy Council, at this time the CMP and CCMP are no longer being offered and those who have those levels of certification may continue to operate under those titles while they continue their education to meet the requirement of CMT.

beware of massage providers who do not

CAMTC certification holders are required to display their certification at their place of employment and to provide their  ID card when asked for it. They are also required to provide their certification number on their advertising.

CAMTC Certified Massage Therapists are also allowed to use and display the CAMTC logo on their advertising.

is your masage provider certified

CAMTC certification is your assurance that the massage therapist has been fully background checked, educated, and has met all requirements for certification in the state of California.

Yours in Health and Wellness,
Kristeen Smart AKA Kristeen Kish
CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist

Before Diagnosing Yourself With Carpel Tunnel Syndrome

One thing I hear a lot from clients is “I think I have Carpel Tunnel” my first response is usually “Any tingling or numbness?” and most often they reply “no.” Carpel Tunnel Syndrome is  a condition in which the median nerve of the wrist becomes compressed or pinched causing numbness and tingling along with other symptoms including muscle weakness of the hand and arm.

Because this condition became so widely talked about as a workplace injury that effects many people working with machinery or computers it is common for people to assume that any wrist pain or stiffness may be Carpel Tunnel, that is not always the case.

Many conditions can mimic Carpel Tunnel, so it is always best to speak with your doctor if you are having symptoms of numbness, pain, and weakness of the muscles as they may be symptoms of something more serious.


diagnosis can be difficult since so many other conditions mimic Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. One of the most common includes “Thoracic Outlet Syndrome,” which is the compression of nerves or blood vessels in the brachial plexus – the nerve fibers running from the spine through the neck, armpit and into the arm.

Another is “Cubital Outlet Syndrome,” the compression of a key nerve in the elbow. Also high on the list of conditions which mimic Carpel Tunnel Syndrome(CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME (CTS)) are tendinitis and arthritis.
Then, there’s “Guyon’s Canal Syndrome,” which is similar. It, too, results from overuse of the wrist from heavy gripping, twisting, and repeated wrist and hand motions. It can also happen from working with the hand constantly bent down and outward. It occurs in weight-lifters, jackhammer operators and people using crutches.

The symptoms should sound familiar.
The sufferer has the sensation of pins and needles in the ring and little fingers, often in the early morning. As the problem worsens, it may develop into a burning pain in the hand and wrist, followed by numbness in the affected fingers. The patient may become weak and clumsy when trying to pinch the thumb and forefinger or spread all five fingers.

Then there are rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and fiber myalgia. None of them should be ignored. Untreated lupus can lead to kidney failure. Untreated rheumatoid arthritis will worsen with serious damage to joints and bones.

Rheumatoid arthritis’ symptoms include tenderness and swelling around the joints – as well as increasing pain, fever, redness, fatigue and weight loss.

Lupus has many of the same warning signs, particularly joint pain. However, lupus patients also experience facial rashes, mouth sores, bruising, chest pain and breathing difficulty. Other diseases that mimic Carpal Tunnel Syndrome include tendonitis, bursitis, sprains, dislocations and gout.

Yours in Health and Wellness,
Kristeen Smart AKA Kristeen Kish
CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist

How Massage Can Enhance Your Health

A lot of research has been conducted recently on the many benefits of massage therapy that effect your health and well being. Some of those studies were on the specific physiological effects and how massage can not only help relieve aches and pains but can also aid in boosting the immune system and improving the quality of life for people with long term medical conditions.

The studies show that many people both young and old can benefit from regular massage therapy. I am pleased to share some of the results of these studies with you.

Feel free to click on any of the links to learn more about the healing benefits of massage and as always if you have any questions feel free to contact me.

Brush aside any thoughts that massage is only a feel-good way to indulge or pamper yourself. To the contrary, massage can be a powerful tool to help you take charge of your health and well-being, whether you have a specific health condition or are just looking for another stress reliever.    http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/massage/art-20045743

Cancer Levels and Massage Therapy
A study done by A. Billhult, C. Lindholm, R. Gunnarsson, and E. Stener-Victorin

A case done at Göteborg University in Sweden “examined the effects of massage therapy on the ‘number and activity of peripheral blood natural killer (NK) cells in patients with breast cancer compared to a control group.’ NK cells are immune system cells that attack tumors. The study concluded that a single full-body massage results in a short-term effect in NK cell activity, but did not examine possible long-term effects.”

Massage and Sex Abuse
A study done by Tiffany Field, Maria Hernandez-Reif, Sybil Hart, Olga Quintino, Levelle A. Drose, Tory Field, Cynthia Kuhn, Saul Schanberg

“Women who experience sexual abuse often suffer from increased depression and anxiety that can have a deleterious effect on their day-to-day lives. Women who had experienced sexual abuse were given thirty-minute massages twice per week. After each massage, they reported decreased stress and depression and after a month they reported an overall reduction in depression and in stress associated with life events.” http://www.insymmetry.com/case-studies-regarding-medical-benefits-of-massage-therapy/#comment-1323

“There is emerging evidence that [massage] can make contributions in treating things like pain, where conventional medicine doesn’t have all the answers,” said Jack Killen,NCCAM’s deputy director.

A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2006 showed that full-body Swedish massage greatly improved symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee. Patients who had massages twice weekly for four weeks and once a week for an additional four weeks had less pain and stiffness and better range of motion than those who didn’t get massages.


  • A full-body massage boosted immune function and lowered heart rate and blood pressure in women with breast cancer undergoing radiation treatment, a 2009 study of 30 participants found.

  • Children given 20-minute massages by their parents every night for five weeks plus standard asthma treatment had significantly improved lung function compared with those in standard care, a 2011 study of 60 children found.

  • A 10-minute massage upped mitochondria production, and reduced proteins associated with inflammation in muscles that had been exercised to exhaustion.  http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304537904577277303049173934

    Yours in Health and Wellness,
    Kristeen Smart AKA Kristeen Kish
    CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist

What is Complementary Alternative Medicine?


What is complementary medicine?

Complementary medicine is a group of diagnostic and therapeutic disciplines that are used together with conventional medicine. An example of a complementary therapy is using aromatherapy to help lessen a patient’s discomfort following surgery.

Complementary medicine is usually not taught or used in Western medical schools or hospitals. Complementary medicine includes a large number of practices and systems of health care that, for a variety of cultural, social, economic, or scientific reasons, have not been adopted by mainstream Western medicine.

Complementary medicine is different from alternative medicine. Whereas complementary medicine is used together with conventional medicine, alternative medicine is used in place of conventional medicine. An example of an alternative therapy is using a special diet to treat cancer instead of undergoing surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy that has been recommended by a physician.

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) can include the following:

Alexander technique,
Ayurveda (Ayurvedic medicine),
chiropractic medicine,
diet therapy,
holistic nursing,
massage therapy,
nutritional therapy,
osteopathic manipulative therapy (OMT),
Qi gong (internal and external Qiging),
spiritual healing,
Tai Chi,
traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and

Complementary Alternative Medicine is used in cooperation with Western Medicine  and is not in opposition to Western Medicine, although many of the approaches focus on reducing the need for pain medications through alternative approaches such as stretching, acupuncture, trigger point therapy,  massage, and other therapies our treatments are intended to work with not against Western Medicine.

A good therapist will always tell a client to speak with their existing doctor if they have any medical concerns. I personally have referred some of my clients back to their doctors and encouraged many to see a doctor about their conditions. It is always best for both the client and the massage therapist to have a good understanding of the condition the client has and any contraindications that may alter the course of treatment for the client.

A massage therapist is not allowed to “diagnose” a client, so if we do see something of concern we may suggest that the client should talk to their doctor about it, we can tell them that many conditions present with similar symptoms and that it is always best to ask the doctor to be sure.


I always make sure to note if I recommended the client see a doctor in my client notes along with a description of what I observed. We should always make careful notes when we observe anything that seems unusual, such as excessive bruising, and make note of our approach such as “I avoided contact with the area in question.”

If we see something that we feel needs to be addressed by a physician it is our responsibility to say something to the client. There have been cases of melanoma that would have gone unnoticed by the client if their massage therapist had not noticed it and voiced concern that the area should be looked at by a professional. We are in a unique position to see  areas of the body that even the client cannot adequately see and are often covered by clothing and could go unnoticed.

What we do is often times more than simply massaging and stretching a body, our focus is on  the clients overall health and wellness, they trust in us, and we owe it to them to be honest with them if we believe they should see a doctor. The doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, and osteopaths are not our competition, they are our allies in health and wellness.

If a client has or has had cancer it is always best to get a release from that doctor that states the client is able to receive massage therapy.

Yours in Health and Wellness,
Kristeen Smart AKA Kristeen Kish
CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist

National Human Trafficking Awareness Day 1/11/2016


Which Countries Are Affected By Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking affects every country of the world, as countries of origin, transit or destination – or even a combination of all. Trafficking often occurs from less developed countries to more developed countries, where people are rendered vulnerable to trafficking by virtue of poverty, conflict or other conditions. Most trafficking is national or regional, but there are also notable cases of logn-distance trafficking. Europe is the destination for victims from the widest range of destinations, while victims from Asia are trafficked to the widest range of destinations. The Americas are prominent both as the origin and destination of victims of human trafficking.

Who Are The Victims And Culprits Of Human Trafficking?

Victims of trafficking can be any age, and any gender. However, a disproportionate number of women are involved in human trafficking both as victims and as culprits. Female offenders have a prominent role in human trafficking, particularly where former victims become perpetrators as a means of escaping their own victimisation. Most trafficking is carried out by people whose nationality is the same as that of their victim.

What Types Of Industries Are Involved With Human Trafficking?

Most trafficked forced labour affects people working at the margins of the formal economy, with irregular employment or migration status. The sectors most frequently documented are agriculture or horticulture, construction, garments and textiles under sweatshop conditions, catering and restaurants, domestic work, entertainment and the sex industry.

Human trafficking also affects other quite mainstream economic sectors, including food processing, health care and contract cleaning, mainly in private but also in public sector employment, such as the provision of healthcare services.


Report Trafficking

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call 911.

If you believe you have information about a potential trafficking situation:

Call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) toll-free hotline at 1-888-373-7888: Call Specialists are available 24/7 to take reports of potential human trafficking. All reports are confidential and you may remain anonymous. Interpreters are available.

Submit a tip online through the anonymous online reporting form below. For immediate assistance or to speak directly with an NHTRC Call Specialist, please contact us 24/7 at 1-888-373-7888.

Yours in Health and Wellness,
Kristeen Smart AKA Kristeen Kish
CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist

Massage Parlors and Human Trafficking Part Two

In America we tend to think of sex trafficking and human trafficking as being something that happens in other countries. Slavery and sex trafficking are not simply something that happens in some other country, it is happening right here in our Nation.

In my previous post I showed you one story of human trafficking from Ohio, the following three links with quotes come from California, Texas, and Utah followed by a link from the National Human Trafficking Resource Center.


Overwhelmingly based on our investigations in Huntington Beach and throughout Orange County and Southern California, the women involved in most of these massage parlors are trafficked in,” said the Chief, who explained that many were forced to work six days a week at the coercion of pimps and panderers.


Authorities recently arrested four Houston men and charged them with human trafficking crimes for allegedly flying in women from China to live and work in massage parlors where customers were offered sexual services.

Anti-trafficking advocates who work in the city say its proximity to the Mexican border and position on an interstate corridor has contributed to the profusion of sex-focused businesses. According to Micah Bailey, director of operations at the advocacy group Elijah Rising, the city’s sex workers are a mix of young American women and men who have run away from home and fallen in with pimps, Hispanic women who have crossed the border, and Asian women who have been brought to the country through fraudulent employment services.


Authorities believe the women who work in the parlors are being forced into the sex trade, working to pay off debts after being brought into the United States. Police brought a Chinese translator with them as the women who were questioned spoke little English.

“It is absolutely slavery,” Reyes said. “It is horrible. It’s horrific and perhaps the most concerning thing about it is people don’t realize it’s going on in our state.”

“These victims are going to get a chance to get the resources they need, go home — if home is a safe environment — get counseling because it’s going to take years for them to heal from the horror they’ve been living for who knows how long,” Reyes told FOX 13.


Who are the victims?

The victims are most often Asian women, of diverse ethnicities and nationalities, including Korean, Thai, Chinese, and ethnically Korean-Chinese citizens. These women may have come to the United States on valid visas, fraudulent visas, or may be undocumented or have been smuggled into the United States. Most victims of sex trafficking in fake massage businesses are adult females. One fake massage business may involve one or two victims or several victims.

When does it become trafficking?

Employers at fake massage businesses use force, fraud, or coercion to exploit women in commercial sex acts. Common means of control used in these types of brothels also include:

Force: Isolation and confinement to the brothel; regular and frequent transportation to other locations or other cities by drivers working for the trafficking network; physical or sexual abuse.

Fraud: False promises of a better life; misrepresentation of the work, working conditions, and immigration benefits of the job; visa fraud.

Coercion: Heavy debts, increased through exorbitant fees for food, personal items, transportation, and “security”; restrictions on communication to family or others outside the network; threats of deportation and arrest; confiscation of passports and visas; rumors of or witnessed violence at the hands of traffickers or police used as threats.

* An individual under the age of 18 engaged in commercial sex is considered a victim of sex trafficking regardless of the presence of force, fraud or coercion. 

Please help by letting others know that massage parlors and “happy endings” are not a laughing matter and that people who make use of such establishments may be contributing to the crime of human trafficking.

If you suspect that a massage parlor in your area is engaging in such practices please do not hesitate to contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at the above link or by phone 1-888-373-7888
Yours in Health and Wellness,
Kristeen Smart AKA Kristeen Kish
CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist

Massage Parlors and Human Trafficking

We have all seen news stories from various locations about massage parlors and prostitution but very few people are aware of the serious problem of human trafficking that is occurring at such places.

This is a subject that I am very passionate about, not only because such places give the massage industry a bad name but also because of the often overlooked topic of human trafficking and sex trafficking.

We need more public awareness to the fact that women are being exploited, abused, kept as indentured servants, forced to work countless hours, and perform sexual services. Many of these women do not speak English, many fear going to the police, fear for their lives and the lives of their family members.

In this article from Ohio just last year one such human trafficking ring was exposed: http://www.thisweeknews.com/content/stories/worthington/news/2015/01/20/massage-parlors-raid-third-human-trafficking-suspect-surrenders.html

Some quotes from that article:

The Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force announced Wednesday, Jan. 14, that authorities had arrested two people after an investigation into suspected human trafficking.

“We have strong evidence that, at the Powell location, they were sleeping on massage parlor (tables),” Vest said.

He said authorities were attempting to build a rapport with the seven women. He said their countries of origin have not been confirmed.

“Many of them don’t speak English or (speak) very limited English,” he said. “Through the help of our federal partners, we brought in language specialists from literally around the United States.”

The Salvation Army of Central Ohio has offered to help the seven women procure housing and other needs in the aftermath of the investigation.

Vest said the investigation was started after his department received a tip that workers at the Powell massage parlor were sleeping there and engaging in prostitution.

This only one of the many reasons why I caution people to get their massages from reputable, certified, and state regulated massage therapists.

The dark side of the massage industry is that many places just like that massage parlor in Ohio are engaged in the crime of human trafficking as well as other crimes.

Such places are often involved in other illegal activities such as money laundering and drug dealing.

I was pleased to see that the Ohio police treated these women not as prostitutes or sex workers but as victims of a crime themselves, because they are victims and in need of help.

All too often we simply see a headline that reads:

“Massage Parlor workers arrested for prostitution”

And never give much thought to the fact that the owner or owners of the establishment may be exploiting these women. This is a common problem I see too often in the news, the women are arrested but the massage parlor remains in operation to continue its illegal activities.

Please be aware that women all across this country are being victimized every single day while this ongoing problem is quietly ignored by the media.

Please be a part of the solution by helping to bring about awareness of this nationwide problem, and if you suspect a massage parlor in your area of human trafficking do not hesitate to report it.

1 (888) 373-7888
National Human Trafficking Resource Center



Yours in Health and Wellness,
Kristeen Smart AKA Kristeen Kish
CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist

Why a Massage Therapist Should Carry Liability Insurance

I know many therapists who believe that the company they work for covers them under their insurance policy, and believe that is good enough; but, a 2015 case in Dallas, Texas, shows us why it is not.

The female claimant had a stroke 11 days after receiving a deep tissue massage at a Massage Envy establishment. She claimed that the deep tissue work on her neck was the cause of the stroke, and is suing the company, the local franchise, and the therapist in her suit.  http://www.wfaa.com/story/news/local/dallas-county/2015/09/25/dallas-woman-files-suit-saying-massage-envy-left-her-debilitated/72783442/

Believing that the insurance carried by the company for which you work will cover the therapist as well is a big mistake in this industry, and this case is only one example of why.

Insurance companies receive claims for many things that could easily happen to any of us. One such situation was a man who came in with pain in the supraspinatus (a rotator cuff muscle). The therapist had been in the field two years. She did some kneading and squeezing of the muscle which is common in massage. The following day the client went to the ER and discovered his supraspinatus was torn, and sued the therapist. The insurance simply paid the claim; because, lets be honest, how can you prove it was or was not torn before the massage, since the client had not seen a doctor before getting a massage? You can’t.

In another such situation a therapist had a client who complained of finger pain. The therapist did some hand and finger massaging only to later have an insurance claim filed against her because the client had a broken finger.

Never believe that situations like this cannot happen to you, as many of us know some people will come for massage therapy before seeing a doctor. Also as mentioned in my previous post A Few Things You Should Let Your Massage Therapist Know many times the client does not disclose that they have a medical condition that we should be aware of, such as a history of blood clots..

Always protect yourself and your career by having good liability coverage, the cost is minimal compared to what not having it may cost you in the long run. There are many low priced options available but do take some time to find out what they do or do not cover as some do not cover hot stone, some you need to pay extra for out-call coverage, and some only cover one place of employment when many of us have more than one place of practice.

If you have any questions about this or any of my other posts please feel free to ask me.

Yours in Health and Wellness,
Kristeen Smart AKA Kristeen Kish
CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist

MEAT vs RICE Treatment for Acute Injuries

When it comes to treating acute sprains the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) method is the most commonly repeated course of action, but what if I told you there has been a differing school of thought on this subject?

MEAT (Movement, Exercise, Analgesics, and Treatment) has been the buzz word in the sports therapy and physical therapy industry for a few years now.

Many studies on RICE therapy have failed to show any significant benefit to that method of treatment and suggest that the healing process may even be delayed by use of RICE therapy. (see link for full information)


Rest, ice, compression, and elevation therapy is an accessible and popular modality in the treatment of acute ankle sprains. Therefore, the objective of our study was to analyze the effectiveness of applying RICE therapy begun within 72 hours after trauma for patients in the initial period of ankle sprain. The specific null hypotheses included the following: (1) No differences existed in outcome measurements between using rest, immobilization, or no movement or mobilization and using early mobilization or movement for acute treatment of ankle sprains; (2) No differences existed in outcome measurements between using ice, cold, cold therapy, cryotherapy, or cooling and using no ice, no cold, or heat for acute treatment of ankle sprains; (3) No differences existed in outcome measurements between using compression and using no compression for acute treatment of ankle sprains; and (4) No differences existed in outcome measurements between using elevation and using no elevation for acute treatment of ankle sprains.

Recently studies on the  MEAT therapy has been showing more promising results for faster recovery.

In their published study, researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia found:

  • Mobilization increases blood flow and so reduces muscle atrophy, disuse osteoporosis, adhesions, and joint stiffness.
  • Early mobilization seems to decrease pain, swelling, and stiffness, and patients generally prefer it to immobilization.
  • Early mobilization results in earlier return to work, a greater range of motion, and fewer complications and residual symptoms. They concluded: “The best evidence at hand suggests the medical profession generally errs too conservatively on the side of immobilization.”

As time and knowledge progress we have learned that many of the old methods of treatments such as putting an arm in a sling have been counter productive to healing and even potentially cause more damage in the long term such as frozen shoulder syndrome.

I am sure that in time much of our old ways of treating acute injuries will be replaced with new and more effective strategies to promote a speedier and full recovery.
Yours in Health and Wellness,
Kristeen Smart AKA Kristeen Kish
CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist