Category Archives: Massage

“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

 

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Wolrd Massage Festival 2018

I just returned from the World Massage Festival 2018 in Las Vegas

WMF 2018 resized

I arrived on Monday afternoon for check in

As always ABMP was there with welcoming gifts for everyone.

There were vendors from the United States, Canada, and Triniadad.

The vendors hall featured products from Young Living, CBD products, Crystals, Far infrared Saunas, Biomat technology, The amazing Body Cushioning System, Acupuncture, Cranio Sacral and Cupping courses and products, as well as various representatives from several massage organizations.

Cryoderm was there displaying their newest product Magnesium Calming Cream, which became a favorite of the Oncology Massage Instructor Christine Courtney and she was pleased to use it in our class due to its soothing glide and texture.

Cryoderm is still my favorite go to topical analgesic so I am including a link to their site here for you: Cryoderm Products

I also had the pleasure of meeting with representative of the massage organization FSMTA which started as a Florida organization but has branched out nationally. I enjoyed listening to the work they have been doing in helping with protecting our industry from laws that may inhibit our practice or put an undo burden upon our industry and was very interested in their continuing education programs. I will definitely be taking a closer look into their organization and sharing it with others who may benefit from what they have to offer: https://www.fsmta.org/

Oh, I absolutely must mention my repeated trips to the vending hall to visit Cupping Canada! I purchased their Negative Ion Cupping set and then returned the next day to buy another set of soft silicone cups, I had to laugh when they apologized for needing to charge me for Nevada State Sales tax, gotta love Canada! They also had other products of interest, you really should check them out for yourself: https://cuppingcanada.com/

On Monday night we had our first ever “Parade of Flags”

Featuring flags from Trinidad/Tobago, Australia, Brasil, England, Canada, Puerto Rico, Czech Republic, Arizona, Arkansas, Calif, CO, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa. Kansas , Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, PA, RI, SC, Tennessee, Texas,  Utah, Washington State, Wisconsin, and WV!

The Following day my feet were hurting so badly that I rushed back to the vending hall to purchase myself some insoles from VOXXLIFE of Ontario Canada: VOXXLIFE

The insoles provided instant relief from my sore feet and from the plantar fasciitis of my right foot, I was very impressed and it honestly made the long walks to and from the convention hall the rest of the week seem like a stroll through the park!

There were daily drawings for prizes, scholarships, and even cash giveaways at 12:30 in the vending hall every afternoon.

Classes Started on Tuesday!

I will admit that it is very difficult to choose a class for the World Massage Festivals because they have so many amazing instructors and modalities to choose from!

This year due to the many people I know whos lives have been touched by cancer I chose to take Oncology Massage as my main focus.

Christine Courtney, the instructor, is a world acclaimed instructor and practitioner of Holistic Therapies who teaches world wide and is the owner of OBUS School of Healing Therapies in Ireland: http://obus.ie/

For the two day class we were instructed on contraindications, areas to avoid, the effects of radiation and chemotherapy on the body, and the care and treatment of cancer patients and survivors of cancer.

Christine also taught us a soothing reflexology treatment that her students us in her clinic in Ireland that stimulates the vagus nerve, pituitary gland, and heart chakra.

oncology cert resized

 

Thursday was our last day of classes

For my last day of the classes I decided to take Russian Sports Massage Pre and Post Event with Olge Bouimer, Director of Advanced Studies at Southern California Health Institute: http://www.owellnessglobal.com/

Russian Sports Massage has been something that I have been curious about for many years now and I was pleased to see this class being offered this year! The reason Russian Sports Massage caught my attention is because it utilizes not only the various basics we were taught in school such tapotement and petrissage but it also incorporates vibration techniques which can travel deeper into muscle tissue.

Olge brings some humor, personal experience and stories from his experience as an athlete, and some scientific approaches to the nervous system and the different effects massage and specifically sports massage can have on the body.

The class was fast paced, fun, and gave us many new tricks to add to our daily routines as well as instructing us on the different uses for various strokes and modalities for pre vs post event massages.

The link above contains his many amazing instructional DVDs available for purchase as well as a schedule of classes that he teaches.

russian sports cert resized

Thursday evening I finally stepped out of the Hotel to explore Vegas!

My massage partner and I went on a brief but exciting venture into Vegas.

We went to the Stratosphere first

stratosphere

I had a margarita in the bar and was blown away by the city lights before us, pictures cannot do it justice!

vegas city lights

We then went to the observation deck and saw the city below us, the winds were intense so we decided it was best to return safely inside.

We then went to the Bellagio just in time for the final Fountain Show featuring the Star Spangled Banner.

Bellagio Fountains

It was a beautiful ending to a long fun filled week at the World Massage Festival in Vegas!

Check out next years festival!

Next Years class schedule is already posted, classes fill up fast!

World Massage Festival in North Carolina 2018 http://worldmassagefestival.com/2019/

 

Yours in Health and Wellness

Kristeen Smart 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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How To Get The Perfect Massage

Getting the perfect massage begins with communication

A good establishment will want to put the client with the right therapist. Every client has different needs and expectations and every therapist has a different specialty or approach to their massage style.

The receptionists get a lot of feed back from the clients and are happy to recommend the therapist who may be the best fit for you based on the information that you provide them about what you are seeking in your session.

Let them know if there are things you prefer, such as Deep Tissue, Stretching, Trigger Point Therapy, or a Gentle Relaxing Swedish Massage, or anywhere in between.

If you had a favorite therapist who has left the establishment or moved away feel free to ask if there is another therapist with a similar style.

The staff wants you to have the best possible experience and will do their best to match you with the therapist who’s skills seem closest to what you are seeking in a massage therapy session.

When you meet your therapist

Usually the Massage therapist will ask you a few questions before the session, I usually ask if there are any areas that you want to focus on and what type of pressure you usually prefer.

This is a good time to briefly explain any areas that have been bothering you, areas to avoid such as face and scalp, and any areas that you particularly enjoy having extra focus on such as the feet or head and scalp.

It is also a good time to discuss any injuries, surgeries, or areas of muscle tension or concerns.

Feel free to ask questions, also if you prefer no talking during the session let your therapist know that and they will try to keep the session as quiet as possible other than to check in with you about the pressure.

Sometimes we find something that we want to discuss with you such as ways to minimize the discomfort or some self help tips that you can do at home, but we can discuss our findings with you at the end of the session if you would prefer not to be disturbed during the session.

Many clients enjoy learning ways that they can manage their own areas of concern and we are always happy to give you after care and home care suggestions.

Some complaints that I sometimes see in online reviews:

  1. “The Therapist didn’t massage my face”
  2. “The massage was too hard and painful”
  3. “Therapist was too chatty”
  4. “Not enough time spent on my problem areas”
  5. “I wasn’t offered a robe or hair tie”
  6. “I asked for LIGHT pressure not therapeutic massage”
  7. “Paid for two hours and only got an hour and forty minutes”

The above quotes are a few of the more common complaints that I see in online reviews of various establishments.

I looked at reviews from several local spas both high end and chain establishments to find some examples where communication seems to be the biggest problem, so lets go through these individually….

  1. Client expected that all massage sessions include face massage. Personally I usually do not do face massage unless it is requested because not everyone likes or wants their face massaged. Some do not want the oils or lotions to clog their pores, or they have make up on, or simply do not want their face touched. If face or scalp is something you enjoy and expect in your session be sure to mention it to the therapist, your therapist will be happy to add that to your individual session.
  2. The massage being too hard and painful, first of all you do NOT have to grin and bear it, if it is too painful tell your therapist, if the therapist continues despite your wishes it is your right to end the session. You are always in control of your massage session.
  3. The “chatty” therapist, this one is more complicated because there are several different scenarios: The therapist may be sensing that you are uncomfortable and trying to engage in small talk because he or she is trying to put you at ease. The therapist is asking questions such as “What do you do for a living?” or “Do you work out?” to better understand your muscular condition to give you the best treatment and advice for after care. Or the therapist is simply friendly and outgoing and does not seem to understand that you simply want a nice quiet session. Communication in this case begins with saying “Can we discuss this after the session?” or “I just want quiet during my massage thank you.
  4. Not enough time spent on area of focus. Again this could be for a number of reasons such as the therapist has found that other areas are effecting the area of focus, such as muscles of the opposing side pulling on that area. Not enough time for everything, an example of this is the client who’s areas of focus are “stiff neck, tight shoulders, sciatic down right leg, tight hamstrings and calves.” That’s an entire laundry list of things to try and adequately effect in a short period of time. The communicative solution to this would be to focus on the main areas and skip the full body or certain parts such as arms and feet, however, if you feel that your therapist is simply not listening to you then bring this to the attention of the reception staff, they  will be more than happy to accommodate you and suggest a therapist who is more suited to your needs.
  5. Was not offered a robe or a hair tie, I assume when I see such things in reviews that the person writing the review is used to high end spas where you wear a robe because you will be leaving from one area to another before and after your session, in a day spa setting that is only done when you are going to be having dual services in different rooms that day, otherwise you will be alone in a private room where you can dress and undress in private, a robe is not necessary in such settings. The hair tie, yes high end spas usually have those and sometimes in day spas the therapist will provide them as well, but it is often best if you bring you own, but if you forgot to bring one we can always place a towel over your hair to protect it from the oils and lotions.
  6. Asked for LIGHT pressure but got therapeutic, the main problem here is that light, medium, and deep are all very subjective words. One persons idea of light is another persons idea of medium or firm. As for therapeutic, all massage is therapeutic in some way, that being said some therapists (myself included) cannot always control what your body is telling our hands to do and the impulse to give you what you need. It is best to speak up and remind the therapist that you asked for a light pressure and simply want to relax, I had a client who once said to me “I know I have knots but today I want you to ignore them and just pamper me.” I think that’s the best way to respond when you feel that your therapist is getting too focused on problem areas.
  7. THIS is the biggest complaint that I see, this is a miscommunication that is typical in most spa settings “I paid for an hour and only got 50 minutes.” “I was shorted 10 minutes on my massage.” “I paid for two hours and only got an hour and forty minutes.“In a typical spa setting both high end and day spa its is common that an hour session is 50 minutes hands on and 5 minutes before and after for you to dress and undress as well as the brief intake in the room. The two hour sessions can vary from establishment to establishment, in the case of the one I quoted above some of these spas bill a two hour as two fifty minute sessions making your session a 100 minute session, some places are careful to call it what it really is a 100 minute session, a 50 minute session or an 80 minute session. This miscommunication in my opinion falls squarely on the establishment for not being clear to the client about the real time length of the massage. These times are set in respect to time billed as well as to give the therapist time to clean and change the room over for the next client.

The Key to the Perfect Massage is Communication

From the moment that you set up your appointment to the moment you check out the key to the perfect massage is communication to get the therapist that is the best fit for your needs and the massage session that you prefer.

Yours in Health and Wellness,

Kristeen Smart aka Kristeen Kish

CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist

 

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Your Massage Session, What to Expect

  1. Arrive early to fill out intake paperwork if this is your first visit. Intake paperwork may include a full medical history.
  2. Please call if you are going to be late or not able to make it as soon as possible. Make sure you are aware of the cancellation policy, many places request you call a day ahead of time if you cannot make it to avoid cancellation fees.
  3. Silence your phone when you arrive. The session is your time away from everything, we do not want that interrupted from outside forces.
  4. Let your therapist know about any conditions you may have that could be adversely effected by massage, such as bruising easily, past surgeries and injuries, pregnancy, osteoporosis, or high blood pressure.
  5. If you need special assistance such as help getting on or off of the table please discuss this with your therapist at the start of the session, we are more than happy to accommodate your needs.
  6. Do let us know if there are any areas of concern to be focused on or if there are areas you do or do not want massaged (IE: you love or hate scalp massage.)
  7. Please wait until we leave the room to disrobe.
  8. Let us know if you need any accommodations such as a pillow or breast cushion.
  9. Dress down to your level of comfort unless instructed to leave clothing on. Some therapists may request that you leave your underwear on while others may do massages fully clothed.
  10. Get between the sheets, not on top of them, and cover your body before your therapist returns.
  11. If you wish to talk during the session please keep your voice down so as not to disturb others in adjacent rooms.
  12. If you wish for no talking during the session tell the therapist at the beginning, let them know you just want to relax undisturbed and that any suggestions can be discussed at the end of the session.
  13. Feel free to speak up if the pressure is too much or too little, you are in control of your massage.
  14. Relax and enjoy your session, if you fall asleep that is fine, if you snore we don’t mind at all.
  15. If at any point in the massage you feel uncomfortable for any reason you can end the session. If your therapist has made you feel uncomfortable do bring this to the attention of the management right away.
  16. At the end of the session please wait until the therapist has left the room to get off of the table and get dressed.
  17. Be careful when first getting off of the table as people sometimes feel light headed following a massage.
  18. Your therapist may offer your some fresh water and after care instructions when you come out of the room. Those instructions may include some stretches or suggestions for heat or ice following the massage as well as suggestions for future sessions to meet your needs.

Considerations for your therapist:

  1. Arrive clean and ready for a massage.
  2. Avoid wearing heavy perfumes.
  3. If you have athletes foot or other contagious conditions please let your therapist know so they can avoid that area during the massage. Foot massage can be done through the sheet if needed.
  4. Please find a baby sitter for your children, the massage rooms are small and as much as we adore your children they can get in the way while we are trying to massage you.
  5. Please do not ask your therapist for services that are out of their scope of practice such as chiropractic adjustments.
  6. If you are sick please reschedule your appointment.

Communication is key to getting the massage experience that you are seeking.

When you communicate with the therapist before and even during the session as to pressure and preference you can get the prefect massage tailored to your individual needs.

Enjoy your service!

Yours in Health and Wellness,

Kristeen Smart aka Kristeen Kish

CAMTC 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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When in Doubt Refer Them Out

At the college that I attended it was impressed upon us not to be afraid to refer a client to a doctor.

We are not allowed to diagnose, even if we know exactly what it is we are seeing it is out of our scope of practice to tell them what we suspect, but we are well within our scope to suggest or even encourage them to see a doctor or specialist.

Years ago I had a co-worker who told me she would never refer or suggest that someone should see a doctor

She did not believe that referring clients to a doctor is our responsibility as Massage Therapists, I said to her “but we are in a unique position to see areas of their body that they cannot see and conditions they may not be aware they have.” We have a responsibility to our clients to make them aware when something needs to be addressed by a doctor.

Depending on the situation or condition I might say something to the effect of  “you should have a dermatologist check this out” or “it might not be a bad idea to have a doctor take a look at that.”  They may ask you what you suspect or why you have made that suggestion, be careful not to cross the line into diagnosis, try not to sound alarming while at the same time let them know that it is a good idea to have it looked at to rule out any issues.

If it is something so concerning that you do not feel comfortable massaging the area or continuing the session then explain to them that you do not feel comfortable working on that area until it has been seen by a doctor, this could be anything from a suspicious rash to a suspected muscle tear or injury. You are well within your scope of practice to refuse to treat any area that you believe may cause further damage or injury to the client.

What if it ends up being nothing serious?

Well great! Both you and your client will feel better knowing that it was nothing serious, but what if you said nothing and it was?

The other night a client that I last saw a few months ago came in for a massage and said to me:
“I wanted to thank you, you saved me!” he said “You suggested I should see a dermatologist, and you saved me, it was stage one aggressive malignant melanoma”

They were able to diagnose and remove the cancer before it had a chance to spread and he is now being monitored regularly to make sure that it does not return.

This was not the first time someone thanked me for suggesting they should see their doctor or specialist, but it is the one that will forever reinforce my position on referring clients to a doctor or specialist.

We are in a unique position to help others

That is what we do, it is who we are! Don’t be afraid to speak up if you feel that your client should see a doctor, if you are wrong then you both gain peace of mind, and if you are correct you might just save a life!

 

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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