Category Archives: Blog Posts

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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The Polaris Report vs the FSMTB Report on Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking and Illicit Massage Businesses

A few months ago the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSBM)  put out a task force report on Human Trafficking in illicit massage establishments (IM’s for short), however, there was some controversy within the massage community that some of their proposed solutions included regulations that would impact legitimate massage establishments.

You can read their full report here: https://www.fsmtb.org/media/1606/httf-report-final-web.pdf

The proposed suggestions that concerned various massage agencies include the following statements:

Evaluate the possibilities of a uniform, national accrediting body for massage therapy schools and programs.

Create a work group to study the efficacy of massage establishment regulation and serve as an informational resource for state boards on this subject.

Continue to develop its Massage Therapy Licensing Database (MTLD).

Amend the Model Practice Act to include a representative with a background in human trafficking to the composition of member boards.

Regularly report as much information as possible to the FSMTB Massage Therapy Licensing Database (MTLD) and query MTLD for every applicant and licensee as frequently as necessary for regulatory purposes.

Advocate to ensure its state school oversight mechanism includes programmatic or specialized approval review and a capacity to conduct follow up audits on the performance of massage therapy and/or massage and bodywork schools to ensure each school is meeting standards.

Encourage or require training of their massage board members and staff, in human trafficking, and familiarize themselves with human trafficking initiatives within their jurisdiction, state and federal laws, any current legislation on human trafficking, and other available resources.

Discuss the possibility of implementing massage establishment regulation, after the recommended Federation work group studying the efficacy of massage establishment regulations issues a report.

As you can see the FSMTB’s suggestions contain enacting changes to massage education and regulation in the hopes of stopping a problem that has absolutely nothing to do with legitimate massage establishments and could place an unintended burden upon our industry.

The Associated Body work and Massage Professional and The American Massage Therapy Association responded…

A link to the full response: ABMP & AMTA Response to FSMTB’s Report

The FSMTB is straying far from its mission in this report. It ignores readily available data from law enforcement and implies, wrongly in our opinion, that the massage therapy profession is responsible for ending human trafficking. AMTA and ABMP oppose the premise of the report. We reject both the misinformation it conveys and its perceptions about the responsibilities of the massage therapy profession.

Polaris, “A leader in the global fight to eradicate modern slavery” has issued its full report…

You can read the full report here: Human Trafficking in Illicit Massage Business

I encourage you to read the full report to get a better understanding of how wide spread this issue is and how the problem with human trafficking does not simply begin and end with the massage establishments but include an entire network  of organized deception and cohesion.

The following is a brief summary of the solutions proposed by Polaris (please read the full report for details on these suggestions.)

SOLUTION: Require transparency in business registration

Supporting Effective, Survivor-Centered Law Enforcement

Adopt an organized-crime approach, shift to increasing pressure on buyers by doing demand stings

Build networks of anti-trafficking law enforcement, code enforcement, and prosecutorial professionals

Closing Loopholes In The Commercial Real Estate Industry

Landlords can take responsibility to ensure human trafficking is not happening on their rental properties, and cities can leverage nuisance abatement laws to address those who do not.

Ending Online Practices That Legitimize Illicit Massage Businesses

Online review and “deal” sites should screen for IMBs

Shifting the Media Narrative to Increase Public Understanding, Decrease Public Tolerance

Media outlets must create policies to protect potential victims, and law enforcement must carefully frame press releases

Working Together to Ensure Victims Receive Robust, Culturally-Competent Services

Nationwide safety net: Key pieces of this coalition safety net include: • Culturally humble, trauma-informed interpreters• Attorneys• Job training

Polaris offers a more inclusive solution

Instead of focusing only on how the massage establishment can enact changes to help regulate IM’s by putting further regulations on the massage industry alone Polaris offers solutions that offer a focus ranging from public awareness, business compliance, a shifting of the media focus, as well as victim support and job training.

There is so much more that I would like to discuss about the Polaris report. Once again I highly encourage you to read the full report.

 

Yours in Health and Wellness,

Kristeen Smart aka Kristeen Kish
CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist

 

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What is Firm Swedish?

The other night at work an Esthetician asked me “What is Firm Swedish?”

One of my massage therapist coworkers was in the break room with us at the time and turned to hear my response…

I began to try and explain that it is a Swedish Massage with a firmer pressure, then I said “ok, realistically it is a gentle  Deep Tissue because Deep Tissues by definition is accessing the deeper layers of the muscles instead of just the superficial ones and I have no idea why we even bother muddying the waters with all the various terms we use.”

My coworkers eyes widened and she said “You are right, Swedish is gentle and relaxing, its not supposed to be firm pressure.”

Firm Swedish is for people wanting more of a Deep Tissue therapeutic effect without the pain or discomfort often associated with Deep Tissue massage

In all honestly there is not a lot of difference between the stokes, moves, and methods that I would use during a Firm Swedish Massage and the ones that I would use for someone asking for Deep Tissue.

In fact many of the Firm Swedish massages that I do end up being Deep Tissue work and some of the Deep Tissue work that I do ends up being more of a Firm Swedish depending on the need and tolerance level of my client.

Pressure is subjective!

We then discussed how all these words “Firm” “Deep” “Light” and “Medium”  are all subjective and vary widely  from not only the clients but the therapists as well.

One client’s idea of medium pressure is another client’s idea of deep, some say light when they really want medium, and some say light when they want feather light pressure.

My idea of light may be too light for some or too heavy handed for others, each persons perception of pressure is different and each therapists idea of pressure is different.

I find its easier if the client says something like “I want results but I don’t want to be put in pain” or “really go to town on those shoulders” or “please no elbows” to give me a better idea of what it is they are seeking. Communication is always the key to getting the massage experience that you desire.

Deep Tissue Massage Does not have to be painful!

If you search the internet about Deep Tissue massage you will find that page after page all state “Deep Tissue does not have to be painful to be effective.”

Unfortunately many people believe in the “no pain no gain” concept, this includes many Massage Therapists.

The idea that you have to tolerate a painful session because “you really need this” is not correct. If you are wincing, flinching, or tensing up then your muscles are not going to be able to relax and it may be counter productive to the goal of getting your muscles to loosen up.

Of course there will be people who will argue that point and say that the muscles will feel better after two or three days because of the painful deep pressure, that too is valid in the fact that eventually the muscle will tire and weaken and the result will be less tension due to the muscle exhaustion.

That being said there have been cases of injuries from Deep Tissue massage, there is a point where too much is too much. There is  also a condition called Rhabdomyolysis or Rhabdo for short that can result from muscle crush injuries.

Muscles store myoglobin, when too much myoglobin is released into the body it can become toxic when it reaches the kidneys. This is one of the main reasons why you should drink plenty of water following a massage to help flush that away.

Release of Myoglobin from massage has been found in a study to reduce the pain and discomfort of myofascial pain syndromes with surprisingly positive results:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3462906

A positive correlation was found between the degree of muscle tension and pain, and the increase in plasma myoglobin concentration. After repeated massage treatment a gradual decline in the increase in plasma myoglobin concentration could be demonstrated parallel to a reduction in the muscle tension and pain.

So  there is definitely benefit to getting Deep Tissue massage for people with muscle pain, the same can be said for Firm Swedish which is simply another form of Deep Tissue therapy.

We can honestly only go so deep

There are times when we get a client who wants the deepest, hardest, and most painful massage that we can possibly give them.

For whatever reason that client feels the need to have it hurt, whether it is because they believe it will be more effective or because they cannot quite feel how much pressure is actually being given I am not sure.

When a client is clearly seeking a sensation of pain we do our best to try and use pressure points to provide them the sensation they seek without causing damage to the muscles  tissues and bony structure, however, there are times when we simply cannot go any harder or any deeper.

In closing, to sum things up…

Firm Swedish is simply a more gentle form of Deep Tissue Massage. Deep Tissue Massage does not have to be painful to be effective.  Areas that are more tense may be a bit painful but it should be a “good hurt” and not a “bad hurt” or overly painful experience.

Whatever it is you are seeking from your massage experience it is best to communicate your needs, concerns, and areas that you want to address as well as areas that are more sensitive to you so that we can offer you the massage experience and effect that you are seeking.

Yours in Health and Wellness,

Kristeen Smart aka Kristeen Kish

CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist

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Regarding the Massage Envy Allegations

The recent news about Massage Envy has shaken the entire industry

As Massage Therapists we go through extensive background checks and are required to take ethics courses to prevent misconduct in the work place.

We have worked hard to over come the stereo types and educate others about the dangers of elicit Massage Parlors and Human Trafficking and to set ourselves apart from that element.

The recent news about the allegations at Massage Envy and the way that those allegations were handled leaves the entire industry, not just the chain spas, with another obstacle to over come.

First and foremost I want to say , if you are sexually assaulted during a massage MAKE SOME NOISE!

I understand you are laying naked under the covers and feeling vulnerable, find your voice!

Yell “STOP!” or “GET OUT OF MY ROOM NOW!” Or even simply “HELP!” The walls are thin enough that the clients and therapist in the next rooms will hear you and I for one would politely excuse myself from the client I am working on to come to your assistance as would many other therapists.

Always remember that you are not alone and if you are being victimized forget about being quiet and polite, make some noise!

What changes need to be made in our industry to ensure client safety?

With all the stringent background checks, licensing requirements, and ethics training  one might ask how this even occurs at all, and that is a question that I have been asking myself over the past few days.

What I have come to realize is that a background check only assures you that the individual has not been caught and convicted of committing any crimes, that does not mean that they have not committed any and gotten away with it.

Which leaves us with WHY? Why have these incidents gone unreported or under reported? Why were these individuals simply fired and allowed to move on to other locations with an active license?

We can do better and protect other clients by making sure that these situation get fully reported and investigated.

Predators exist in all walks of life

We have all heard of Ministers, Doctors, and Nurses sexually assaulting parishioners and patients.

I once worked in an Assisted Living facility that had to deal with a predatory Nursing Assistant who was stealing patients jewelry, credit cards, and even their identities and I was horrified to see the lengths the company would go to protect itself, not the patient. The thought that that Nursing Assistant might still have a valid license to continue preying upon the elderly haunts me to this day.

This is exactly where the problem lies, if these predators go unreported and are quietly removed from their jobs they simply move on to another location where they can continue to victimize others until one day someone, somewhere will finally get up the courage to call the police and start an investigation.

Sexual assaults are even more complicated

Most sexual assaults go unreported by the victims. That means that the ones we are actually hearing about now are only the tip of the iceberg.

Victims of sexual assault are less likely to report right away because their initial response is to get away, which is why many of those who did complain called the company days or even weeks later to report the incidents and did not do so at the time the assault occurred.

A victim of sexual assault is dealing with many thoughts and emotions, feelings of being violated, guilt or shame for not yelling or making a scene, fear, and shock.

The fact that many of these victims were not taken seriously because they waited to make their complaint is concerning to me, victims of sexual assault often times need to get up the courage to even talk about it. All allegations of abuse no matter how long the victim took to come forward need to be taken seriously.

Another thing that complicates such allegations in this industry is that some allegations of sexual misconduct are in some cases simple misunderstandings such as the client not knowing that a glute massage is not a sexual act but a therapeutic treatment for low back pain. In that situation a therapist may find themselves being accused of sexual misconduct when nothing sexual was intended at all. That being said a therapist should always get a clients consent before working in areas such as the glutes or upper pectoral muscles.

What has prompted me to write about this today?

Yesterday at one of my places of employment all male staff members were pulled aside for a meeting which consisted of mostly telling them to be more conservative in everything that they do, from draping procedures to therapeutic services.

Later I spoke with the owner about this and asked her:

“Is every receptionist trained in how to handle such allegations, what to do, who to call, and when to call the police? Because this isn’t just about the men knowing what not to do, its about all of the staff knowing what to do should such a situation occur.”

Do we even have a protocol in place to deal with these kinds of allegations? If not, why not? All massage establishments should have a clear protocol in place when such a complaint is made and depending on the severity of the complaint when to involve the police.

It is the matter in which the allegations against Massage Envy were handled that is the most serious issue, such as why were the predators not reported to the police or the state boards? Why were they allowed to continue preying on other women? Why do some of these predators still have active licenses to perform massage services?

What needs to happen to protect our clients?

Retraining the male staff members is not only unnecessary but discriminatory. We ALL took the ethics classes, we ALL were fully background checked, and we ALL know right from wrong. This has nothing to do with the sexual orientation of the therapist, a predator is a predator and they need to be weeded out of our industry through the proper channels and brought to justice.

I am all for a nationwide protocol and reporting system, that being said I am also aware that there are people who might make reports out of retaliation or spite that may be unfounded, so each case should be taken case by case.

Every company should have a protocol in place with specific instructions on who to contact in the company, such as the manager on duty or owners, and when to contact the police. This should also apply to cases where the therapist is the victim of a sexual assault, that too goes sadly unreported as well.

Reporting to the state boards

The following link will give you information of the various massage boards by state, most states have their own licensing board that you can contact to look up someones license or make a complaint about a therapist. https://www.abmp.com/practitioners/state-requirements

In Closing…

As a Massage Therapist who is also a survivor of sexual abuse I take this situation very seriously and very personally. I look forward to an open dialog with my peers about how to prevent future sexual assaults in the massage industry.

Yours in Health and Wellness,

Kristeen Anne Smart aka Kristeen Anne Kish

CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist

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A Little About Myself… Setting the Record Straight

Who is Kristeen Smart? aka Kristeen Kish aka Kristeen Narlock?

Hello, some of you already know me and know many things about me and about my life and have followed my journey from Nursing Assistant to Massage Therapist.

Due to an ongoing cyber stalking and harassment situation I feel the need to share a bit more about myself and state for the record my qualifications and address the lies that have been posted publicly about me.

I grew up in a small town in Washington State

I was born in a Naval Hospital and grew up not far from the Navy Base in a small town on the Bay over looking the mothball fleet of ships in the Puget Sound.

My birth name is Kristeen Anne Smart.

I am a beach bum at heart and spending hours searching the shores for trinkets and treasures of shells and rocks was my passion from an early age.

At a young age I was a member of the Medical Explorers Post on base where I was first introduced to health care and medicine as well as instructed in the use of CPR and First Aid.

As an adult my passion for helping others led me to become a Nursing Assistant in 1992 in Washington State, 1993 in the state of Wisconsin, and 1998 in the state of Oregon until the year 2012 when I allowed my license to expire after moving to California to peruse my career as a Massage Therapist.

Names I held licenses under as a Nursing Assistant  were Kristeen Anne Narlock (1st husbands last name) in the states of Washington and Wisconsin and in the state of Oregon Kristeen Anne Narlock until my second marriage when I became Kristeen Anne Kish. In 2017 I legally resumed the use of my maiden name Kristeen Anne Smart following my divorce.

During those years I worked in Nursing Homes, Assisted Living Facilities, a Group Home for Children with Developmental Disabilities, An Independent Living Apartment for Quadriplegics, a Senior Day Center, and Home Health Care.

Over the years I have had extensive background checks and have been fingerprinted, licensed and bonded in several states. I am currently on live scan.

I held Nurse Delegations as a Medication Aide in two Assisted Living Facilities, one Day Center, a Group Home, one Independent Living Apartment, and Home Health from the year 2000 until I left the state of Oregon in October of 2011.

My delegations included medication administration, medical records and documentation, diabetic testing and injections, epotin injections, wound care, catheter care including insertion and removal, bowel care, trach care and suction, and tube feedings.

My licenses and certifications are as follows:

1992 and 1993 Nursing Assistant Registered Washington State

1993 to 1999 Certified Nursing Assistant State of Wisconsin

1998 to 2012 Certified Nursing Assistant State of Oregon

2010 to 2012 Certified Chiropractic Assistant State of Oregon

2010 to 2012 Licensed Massage Therapists State of Oregon

2012 to Current California Certified Massage Therapist

My Stalker claims that I am unlicensed and uninsured, as you can see I am licensed and all of this can be verified. I have also maintained professional liability insurance since becoming a Massage Therapist with no lapse in coverage since graduating college in February 2010.

In 2009 I made the decision to go to school for Massage Therapy

In many of my jobs as a Nursing Assistant I worked in co-operation with Physical and Occupational Therapy departments where I was trained in Range of Motion Therapies and Ambulation to assist in recovery.

I enjoyed that aspect of helping others so much that I decided to peruse a career in Massage Therapy. It has always been my goal to remain in a field of health and wellness where I can continue to help others.

From 2010 to 2012 I held three licenses in the state of Oregon, Certified Nursing Assistant, Certified Chiropractic Assistant, and Licensed Massage Therapist.

From 2012 to current I have held and maintained Massage Therapy Certification through the California Massage Therapy Council in good standing.

In my many years in the field of Massage Therapy I have had the opportunity to work with people suffering from chronic pain disorders, skeletal defect, auto accidents, and work related injuries.

To me there is no greater satisfaction than helping others and the experiences that I have had both as a Nursing Assistant and as a Massage Therapist have been priceless to me.

As for the allegations being posted about me online…

First one must consider the source, a spiteful woman who poses as an “activist” online and has nothing but time on her hands.

My stalker has a history or court actions revolving around her ongoing stalking and harassing of people whom she has met on social media and has a list of victims of her harassment in several states across this nation and far more who have not come forward.

She once publicly announced on a talk radio show that she was being “stalked and harassed by 20 woman on facebook” when in reality she was the one who was stalking and harassing at least 20 women on facebook. I have court documents supporting this.

I have already faced this person and her wild accusations in a court of law and proved by “preponderance of the evidence” (as stated by the judge) that her allegations have absolutely no merit, yet she continues over a year later to make her accusations.

She claims that I lied about being CPR and AED certified

In the state of California it is not required of a Massage Therapist to obtain nor maintain their CPR certification, I do it because I want to and because it leaves open the possibility of working at other jobs that may require it.

In the state of Oregon it is a requirement for massage therapists, and while working in Oregon I always maintained my CPR/AED/ and First Aid certifications.

Recently an opportunity to take not only the CPR and AED certification but also First Aid literally fell into my lap through a city program for disaster readiness at a remarkable price, and it just happened to be on one of my rare days off! How could I possibly let that pass me by? So once again I am CPR/AED/First Aid Certified.

She claims I lied about my credentials

Now this one is seriously grasping at straws! In 2016 my cyber stalker found a listing online that erroneously listed my qualifications as a “nurse and nurse practitioner” (see link below.) This content was compiled without my knowledge or approval and had images and information obtained from my linkedin profile.

I have never professed to be either a Nurse or a Nurse Practitioner either online or in person and have always been honest about my credentials, licenses, certifications and professional delegations, once again all of my licenses can be verified by the issuing states.

40 Licensed Massage Therapists in Santa Ana, CA Directory

As you can see from the others listed there many have strangely exceptional credentials including Lawyers, Chiropractors, and Investment Bankers. Apparently we have some highly over qualified Massage Therapists in the area! All joking aside that listing is from a Radaris based search engine that takes information from your Linkedin profile and compiles it into a listing that you have absolutely no knowledge of or control over.

Not to mention the simple fact that no one in their right mind would be searching for a “Nurse” or “Nurse Practitioner” on a list of MASSAGE THERAPISTS, just stating the obvious here!

The listing about me stated my credentials as:

Massage Therapist Wellness and Fitness Licensed Massage Therapist Massage Therapy Nurse Nurse Practitioner Independent Contractor Contractor Independent Business Owners

Once again, just to be clear, this content was not created nor sanctioned by me in any way.

This woman then contacted my employer repeatedly in emails and via telephone claiming that I was advertising myself as a Nurse and Nurse Practitioner based on that listing and demanding that they fire me and threatening them with complaints to the better business bureau. They did not fire me so she then followed up with several phone calls harassing the company. This is exactly why I no longer state where I work anywhere online.

I contacted Radaris to have the listing removed. The profile in the listing has been removed at my request but the preview remains, they do not or will not remove the preview but they did as I requested and removed the profile in the link. Click on it and you can see for yourself the big bold words that read “NOT FOUND.”

Since then she has used this as her sole basis for all of her claims that I am passing myself off as a Nurse and Nurse Practitioner and she also claims that my participation in a Q&A site online called Quara is “practicing medicine without a license.”

Quoras Terms of Service CLEARLY state the following:

Content posted by Medical Contributors is not intended to be medical advice or instructions for medical diagnosis or treatment, and no physician-patient relationship is, or is intended to be, created by Content provided by Medical Contributors.

I hope that this clears up any misinformation being spread about me the internet. If you have any questions feel free to contact me!

Yours in Health and Wellness,

Kristeen Anne Smart aka Kristeen Kish

CMATC Certified Massage Therapist

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Should You Get a Massage When You Are Sick? NO!

Tis the Season, the Cold and Flu Season

Should you get a massage when you are sick, NO absolutely NOT, for oh so many reasons…

Risk of spreading the illness to others

Many people who are seeking massage treatments often have other health concerns. When you come  into the treatment area please be aware that some of the clients have autoimmune conditions and cannot easily fight off infections or illnesses, some are elderly, others are recovering from cancer treatments or other serious medical conditions. Please keep this in mind.

Risk of getting your therapist sick

Your massage therapist will be stuck in a room in close proximity to you, your sneezing and coughing will disperse germs into the massage room, the bedding your therapist will be changing, and the massage equipment.

Your therapist will then be exposing all of the other clients to the illness.

Risk of making yourself feel worse

Your body is already busy trying to recover from the illness, you need rest and fluids. A massage may feel comforting but it may actually increase some of your symptoms by overstimulating your autonomic nervous system.

This has been a tough cold and flu season

You can help prevent the spread of illness by limiting the exposure to others around you. Please do not hesitate to reschedule your appointment if you believe that you may be sick.

Get well soon!

 

Yours in Health and Wellness,

Kristeen Smart AKA Kristeen Kish
CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist
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Massage Tools and Liability Insurance

A cautionary post for fellow Massage Therapists and Student

I research things as I become curious about certain subjects, one of my recent curiosities was about a product which got me searching for more information on tools and liability insurance because I know that not all tools are covered by all liability companies and I usually search mine to find out what is excluded, but new products raise the question of what actually is included.

Personally my advice to anyone using any tools or exotic modalities would be to contact your liability insurance and ask about coverage just to make sure. I know that some insurance companies do not cover hot stones while others do not cover cupping, and many insurance companies strictly exclude T-bar use.

In my opinion we need to be diligent in making sure that what we utilize in our practice is covered. That being said I did find this post and thought to share it with you.

https://www.ctha.com/Forums/?b=21206

Massage Tools and Insurance

Hi Everybody!

Do you use any supplemental tools when massaging and do your insurers know this? If so, what are their requirements for insuring you to use that tool: an accredited course, confirmation of reading all the instructional material, paying an extra ‘tool-use’ supplment or something else?

I have been asked to write an article about this relevant topic as an ‘expert’ on massage tools (I designed and sell a massage tool called ‘The Kneader’ for both general public and professional therapist use).

Recently, I gave a workshop on our new venture, which is Kneader On-Site Massage. Only Level 3 on-site therapists attended, as it was to gauge if they liked On-Site Massage with the Kneader as much as we do. Thankfully, they did and they all bought 1-2 Kneaders in preparation for our Kneader On-site Massage course, which is hopefully going to be this summer.

One of the therapists contacted her insurers at CThA to make sure she was covered to use the Kneader, in the meantime, as a supplemental tool. They said she was not insured until she took an accredited course on how to use the Kneader (again, even as a supplemental tool during a standard massage treatment). This was not good news as lots of therapists have been buying and using the Kneader as a supplemental tool for several years now! What ensued was nearly two months of deliberation on the Kneader – my argument being that the product comes with a comprehensive manual and DVD and there are loads of clips and instructional material on our website and YouTube.

Thankfully, the CThA insurers have been very thorough and accommodating and have now confirmed that all their therapists are insured to use the Kneader as long as they have reviewed the manual and DVD and use the tool in accordance with the product’s instructional material. It’s a start but this is only one insurer of many and they are all of the same view (I’ve checked around) – if you use a tool (any tool), you need to take an accredited course in it to be insured when using it. I have queried about ‘one move’ tools like Bongers, The Knobbler and Omni Ball – if a tool only does one thing, how can you warrant doing a course in it? Massage tool use is on the rise in the industry, because therapists are always looking at ways to improve their treatments and their working lives. Subsequently, how many therapists are using tools to save their hands or enhance their treatments without realising that they are not ensured to do so? It’s a question that I fear a lot of therapists have not even considered and run the risk (however small) of being caught out on.

I would be grateful for any input and will post the article once it is published for your consideration.

In the meantime, all the very best!

Una
Kneads Must

We love to provide our clients with the best that we can offer them but we also need to always remember to protect not only our clients but our practice as well by making sure that our insurance coverage meets our needs when it comes to our services and products.

Yours in Health and Wellness,

Kristeen Smart AKA Kristeen Kish
CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist
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Prenatal Massage

Last night I had two back to back prenatal massages, one only a week until her due date followed by one only 16 weeks pregnant.

The first one, oh so beautiful in her last trimester but so ready to finally go into labor soon. She had never had a prenatal massage before, she loved it and she wished that she had been getting massages throughout her entire pregnancy.

The second, so very happy to be pregnant following a partial hysterectomy and just coming into the discomforts of her changing body.

Both of these women are first time mommies and it is such a joy to have the opportunity to give these women the benefit of a relaxing and therapeutic massage.

Her Changing Body:

When a woman is pregnant her body is in a constant state of change in preparation for the birth process. A hormone called Relaxin loosens ligaments and the SI joints to help widen the pelvis. This can sometimes lead to low back and SI discomfort.

It is also not uncommon for women to experience sciatica in later stages of pregnancy as her changing body and the pressure of her baby can irritate the sciatic nerve.

A woman’s body also produces hormones that effects the clotting factor to prevent her from losing too much blood when giving birth. Because of that we do not use deep tissue on the back of a pregnant woman’s legs as she is more prone to blood clots at this time.

In later stages of pregnancy she may experience swelling of the feet and legs, but if that swelling is mostly on one side that can be an indication that there may be some problems and that should be addressed with her doctor.

She may become more off balance as her body is changing and she may also experience some dizziness when getting up from a resting position, so it is important for her to be careful when getting off of the massage table or out of bed.

How Massage Can Help:

  • Reduces muscle and joint discomfort
  • Provids needed relaxation
  • Improve sleep
  • Help minimize foot and leg swelling
  • Improves circulation
  • Help move lymphatic fluids
  • Minimizes anxiety and stress

Contraindications and Precautions:

Hot stone therapy and aroma therapies are often avoided at this time as they can effect blood pressure and in some cases can effect hormone levels.

Some use of aromatherapy have been shown to be safe during pregnancy  (such as lavender oil) but due to the highly concentrated nature of essential oils it is often suggested that aromatherapy should be avoided at this time and avoided all together in the first trimester.

High risk pregnancies such as preeclampsia or a history of blood clots should avoid getting massage until after delivery.

Many therapists may refuse to massage a woman in her first trimester because that is a time in which miscarriages are most common and it is always best to be cautious.

In the second trimester it is not uncommon to do some of the massage supine (face up) as long as the client is still comfortable laying on her back, but by the third trimester the massage needs to be done in the side lying position.

Pregnancy massage cushioning systems are sometimes used by some therapists and spas in the second and part of the third trimester, but if at any time the client feels uncomfortable it is always best to perform the massage side lying.

Always remember that if at any time you or your client feel uncomfortable in any way about the massage it is always better to err on the side of caution.

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

 

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Topical Analgesic Review

Topical Analgesic Product Review for Biofreeze, Cryoderm, and Sombra products

Biofreeze image

Biofreeze:

If you have ever been to a chiropractor or sports medicine clinic I am sure you have seen or heard of Biofreeze.

They have several products including gel, roll-on, and a 360 degree spray. The products are easily found for purchase at most chiropractic clinics, sports medicine clinics, and various spas.

The 360 spray is by far their best product, easy to apply even to your own back with a spray can that works even when held upside down.

The roll-on is simple to use for those areas that you can easily reach but due to direct contact with the skin it should only be used on one person.

Gel is the most common products that is used in most chiropractic clinics. For me personally this is my least favorite product to use in massage because the gel eventually balls up while I am working the area (the same can be said for gels from other companies as well,) however, it does provide a cooling sensation and helps aid in the relaxation of the effected muscles.

Pros:

Easy to obtain at various distributors, easy to use, temporary cooling effect and muscle pain relief.

Cons:

Not long lasting, smells like medicated alcohol, gel balls up with rubbing.

Now, onto my two personal favorites!

cryoderm image

Cryoderm:

I had never heard of Cryoderm products until I was introduced to them at the World Massage Festival. They have a number of products ranging from lotions, sprays, roll-ons, gels, and also heat therapy products.

The cooling effect lasts for several hours and far outlasts Biofreeze.

The heating products contain Capsaicin and provide lasting heat sensation, in fact much hotter than expected. This product might be a bit too much for anyone who is sensitive to hot peppers, but it definitely does exactly what it intends to do!

Pros;

Long lasting cooling or heating, effective muscle pain relief, never tested on animals.

Cons:

Heat therapy may be too hot for some people, strong medicinal scent.

If you like Biofreeze you will love Cryoderm.
sombra products image

Sombra:

What is not to love about Sombra? It has a more pleasant smell than the other products, comes in cooling, heating, and even a soothing lemon version.This also comes in a handy roll-on version as well as lotions, creams, and gels.

The cooling effect is effective but not overpowering, the heating effect is subtle but warming. The heating product also contains Capsaicin but is not as intensely hot as the Cryoderm Heat products. A nice happy medium that is long lasting and smells wonderful!

Pros:

Long lasting heat or cooling, pleasant scent, also comes in a soothing lemon scent.

Cons:

I cannot think of any cons.

http://www.sombrausa.com/

 

In summary:

My personal favorite if I want a powerhouse of an analgesic I prefer Cryoderm products, but if I am looking for an effective yet soothing option I prefer to use Sombra products. Biofreeze is good but if given a choice between them all I know which products I would prefer to use for my clients.

It is also very important to mention that no matter which of these products you use always remember to thoroughly wash your hands before touching your face, eyes, or other areas where the heating or cooling sensation might be problematic, I can assure you from first hand experience that getting these products in your eye is not a pleasant experience.

(I was not paid by any of these companies to write this review, the opinions expressed here are from my personal experience with the three products mentioned.) 

Yours in Health and Wellness,
Kristeen Smart AKA Kristeen Kish
CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist
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When NOT to Massage

The following are examples of times in which we should NOT massage or at the very least modify the massage and inform the client as to why…

Client has not seen a doctor but believes he or she may have “torn” a muscle or “thrown out” their back lifting something:

As you begin to massage the area in question the pain becomes intolerable.  At this point STOP working on that area, we do not want to do anything that may make the condition worse.

We unfortunately do not have x-ray eyes and cannot see if a muscle is torn or a disc has been herniated or if there may be a bone spur pressing on a nerve or any of the many things that could possibly be going on.

This is when we really need to tell the client to see their doctor just to be sure that the injury is not worse than what the client believes it to be.

Many people are hesitant to see their doctors for a variety of reasons, I will admit that I seldom go to the doctor unless I am absolutely sure that I cannot manage whatever is wrong with me on my own so I understand this. Many people are more inclined to schedule a massage or stop by their local chiropractor before ever seeing a physician.

You are giving a massage and come across an area that is red, swollen, and hot to the touch:

Avoid that area, not only for their safety but for yours as well, there could be a staph infection or other condition that not only could you make worse but could contract and or spread to other clients.

I had this situation happen with a walk-in client, the first part of the massage, neck, shoulders, and back was uneventful, but when I exposed one leg to work on it that was when I saw the problem. I did not touch the area in question, I held my hand slightly above it and could feel the heat coming off of it, everything in me was telling me this man needs to see a doctor ASAP.

I told him that based on what I was seeing I cannot massage his legs and I strongly urged him to have it looked at by a doctor, his leg looked so bad that I added that he should not wait to have it checked out. I honestly hope that he did, because what I was seeing was very concerning.

Prenatal client states to avoid one of her legs:

As I was massaging her I noticed that the leg in question was more swollen than the other, she later tells me that she had recently had a blood clot in that leg but that it was gone now. She went on to tell me that in the past she had a blood clot that had gone to her lung when she was not pregnant. Later she tells me that she is on blood thinners.

I documented this in her chart and told the receptionist that she is very high risk and we cannot continue to massage her during this pregnancy for her safety and the safety of her baby.

Client Comes in Requesting a Deep Tissue but has a lot of bruises:

When you see a lot of bruises on a client that should caution you that deep tissue techniques should be avoid.

The client may be on blood thinners or an aspirin regimen to reduce potential blood clots. Often times the client will fail to disclose daily use of aspirin  because they do not consider over the counter medicines as being medications that we should be aware of.

When I see a lot of bruises on a client I ask them if they are on blood thinners or an aspirin regimen, if they are not on either of these things the bruising may be caused by anemia or a vitamin deficiency, but regardless of the cause of the busing  we need to avoid causing further damage.

Avoid suspicious skin rashes:

There are many skin conditions that are not contagious such as eczema, psoriasis, vitiligo, and ichthyosis. Such areas we can massage without concern, however, suspicious rashes, especially if red or itching should be avoided.

If you see redness or marks from fingernail scratching this should alert you that the area may be contagious. Any strange lesions or open sores should be avoided.

If a rash or other skin condition seems questionable you can choose to use gloves for the massage but make sure that the client does not have a latex allergy.

Do not be afraid to refer a client to their doctor:

Your clients trust you, if you see something that is concerning please don’t hesitate to suggest to the client that they may want to have their doctor take a look at something. It is better to be cautious than to let a potential condition worsen or go untreated.

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