Category Archives: pain reduction

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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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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DIY Massage Hacks

There are many simple and inexpensive things you can do at home for self care and I would like to tell you just a few of the things I share with my clients.

Don’t have a heating pad?

No worries, you can make a microwavable rice pack, simply put uncooked (must be uncooked, no minute rice) into a long sock, you can either sew the open end or simply tie a not in it. Toss it into the microwave for about a minute and a half (depending on your microwave settings) and viola, a heating pad that you can put under your neck, sling over your shoulder, or place at the small of you back.

Imagine the creative rice packs you can make with some of the cute socks from the dollar store!

You can also take a hand towel, moisten it and toss that in the microwave for about a minute depending on your microwave settings, as long as it is damp it will not burn.

Need an ice pack?

Yes, you can put that rice pack in the freezer but when it comes to cold I prefer uncooked kidney beans.  You can keep the cold pack either in the fridge or in the freezer.

Some use this same method but on a larger scale by taking pillow cases and sewing horizontal lines and filling the channels with rice then sewing the open end for a large ice pack for the back. You can get creative, have fun with this.

You can also add some herbs such as lavender or rosemary to your rice pack, but over time those can lose their fragrance and can also catch fire in the microwave so I prefer to just add some essential oil if I want a relaxing scent.

Need some self massaging tools?

For the hard to reach places such as the shoulders a tennis ball placed in a long sock and slung over the shoulder can help you roll out those tense shoulders.

You can also place a lacrosse ball or soft ball under you glute muscles and gently roll out any glute tension.

A golf ball can work wonders on tight forearm muscles, simply cup it in your hand and gently rock it back and forth on the muscles of the forearm, you will get a deep tissue massage with minimal effort on your part.

Want a soothing sugar scrub?

You can make your own sugar scrubs at a fraction of the cost of commercial ones. Using your favorite oil, jojoba,  olive oil, argan oil, almond oil, etc and mix it into some finely granulated sugar (brown sugar also works great for this) and add a few drops of your favorite essential oils. Avoid “fragrance” oils as those are synthetic, always look for “essential oils” for use on the body.

You can also do the same thing with salt or sea salt and make a salt scrub.

Keep in mind that the homemade scrubs will not keep as long as commercial ones because you are not using added preservatives or chemicals and oils do go rancid after a while.

 

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

 

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How Massage Can Enhance Your Health

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RESEARCH FINDINGS

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

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

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

    Yours in Health and Wellness,
    Kristeen Smart AKA Kristeen Kish
    CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist
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MEAT vs RICE Treatment for Acute Injuries

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

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

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

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3396304/

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

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

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

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

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

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

I get asked this question a lot and in my opinion depending on your condition you should see both. Massage and chiropractic are complementary to one another. Muscles attach to bones and vertebrae and when a muscle is tight it can pull vertebrae and even ribs out of place, or out of “alignment” as they say in chiropractic.

I was very blessed to work with a very educational chiropractor right out of college. He was not only educational to his patients but to the staff members as well. Having been a patient of chiropractic since I was a child I was very familiar with chiropractic treatment. One day I asked him “how come you don’t use an activator like many chiropractors do?” his reply was “that is why I have you.” A massage before a chiropractic adjustment can loosen the muscles and make it easier for the chiropractor to adjust you.

I fully understand the concerns people may have about chiropractic and I will admit there are some chiropractors that I would never recommend and others that I highly recommend. What I look for when I get chiropractic care is, did the chiropractor listen to my history and treat my individual needs or did the chiropractor simply give me the standard adjustment (or cookie cutter adjustment as I call it) and send me on my way? Did the Chiropractor take the time to feel the vertebrae and assess me before the adjustment? Does the chiropractor educate the client in self care?

Similar questions should be applied when seeking a massage therapist, does the therapist listen to and address your needs and concerns? Does the therapist treat each client based on their individual needs or simply apply a structured routine? Does your massage therapist take the time to educate you on self care?

While it is not uncommon to have a “spontaneous adjustment” in areas of the neck or back with a massage treatment a massage therapist does not adjust and is not allowed to adjust a client. Massage focuses on the muscles and when the muscles relax or are manipulated during a massage sometimes bones or joints that are being pulled by those muscles will fall back into place naturally, that is not the same as an adjustment.

Also keep in mind that a chiropractor can also order further testing such as MRI’s and xrays to get a better understanding of the problem whereas a massage therapist cannot.

In short I believe that chiropractic and massage therapy go hand in hand. If you are trying to decide between the two then perhaps you should consider both.

Yours in Health and Wellness,

Kristeen Smart AKA Kristeen Kish

CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist

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Hot Stone Massage

Sometimes I get clients who ask me “what is hot stone massage, it looks boring,” the photographs of hot stone massage used in advertising are for visual effect and do not adequately represent what hot stone massage really is.

While we do sometimes place stones on the body we never place the hot stones directly on the skin while they are still at max temperature. What we actually do is massage the body with the hot stones to heat and soothe tight and sore muscles.

How hot are the stones? This depends on the protocol of the business, some use warm stones 115 to 120 degrees max while others work with temperatures of 120 to 135.

I do not use tongs in my hot stone massages, if the stones are too hot for me to pick up then they are too hot to be touching someones body. When working with hot stones I keep the stones moving to prevent burns.

Placement stones,  there are different ways to use the stones when placing them on a body, some therapists line them along the spine as seen in the featured image while others like myself prefer to place them on trouble areas such as the low back or shoulders to provide direct heat therapy to those areas.

A hot stone massage can be light or deep in pressure as desired and often the therapist will use a combination alternating from hot stones to normal massage throughout the session.

Hot stone massage is not for everyone, people with high blood pressure and people who do not tolerate heat should avoid hot stone massage, hot stone should never be performed on inflamed areas. It is also not recommended to get hot stone during pregnancy.

Yours in Health and Wellness,

Kristeen Smart AKA Kristeen Kish

CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist

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Massage, the oldest form of medicine

Massage therapy has been practiced since approx 4,000 BCE, earliest records of it can be found in India, China, Japan, and Greece. In fact Hippocrates the Father of Medicine often spoke of the medicinal value of massage as a part of not only a healthy lifestyle but also as an important factor in healing.

http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/treatment/massage

What is the history of massage?

The use of massage for healing purposes dates back 4,000 years in Chinese medical literature and continues to be an important part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). A contemporary form of massage, known as Swedish massage, was introduced to the United States in the 1850s. By the end of the 19th century, a significant number of American doctors were practicing this manual technique, and the nation’s first massage therapy clinic had opened its doors to the public.

In the early 20th century, the rise of technology and prescription drugs began to overshadow massage therapy. For the next several decades, massage remained dormant, with only a few therapists continuing to practice the “ancient” technique. However, during the 1970s, both the general public and the medical profession began to take notice of alternative medicine and mind-body therapies, including massage therapy.

Are there many types of massage?

There are nearly 100 different massage and body work techniques. Each technique is uniquely designed to achieve a specific goal. The most common types practiced in the United States include:

  • Aromatherapy massage: Essential oils from plants are massaged into the skin to enhance the healing and relaxing effects of massage. Essential oils are believed to have a powerful effect on mood by stimulating two structures deep in the brain known to store emotions and memory.
  • Craniosacral massage: Gentle pressure is applied to the head and spine to correct imbalances and restore the flow of cerebrospinal fluid in these areas.
  • Lymphatic massage: Light, rhythmic strokes are used to improve the flow of lymph (colorless fluid that helps fight infection and disease) throughout the body. One of the most popular forms of lymphatic massage, manual lymphatic drainage (MLD), focuses on draining excess lymph.
  • Myofascial release: Gentle pressure and body positioning are used to relax and stretch the muscles, fascia (connective tissue), and related structures. Trained physical therapists and massage therapists use this technique.
  • On site/chair massage: On site massage therapists use a portable chair to deliver brief, upper body massages to fully clothed people in offices and other public places.
  • Polarity therapy: A form of energy healing, polarity therapy stimulates and balances the flow of energy within the body to enhance health and well being.
  • Reflexology: Specialized thumb and finger techniques are applied to the hands and feet. Reflexologists believe that these areas contain “reflex points” or direct connections to specific organs and structure, throughout the body.
  • Rolfing: Pressure is applied to the fascia (connective tissue) to stretch it, lengthen it, and make it more flexible. The goal of this technique is to realign the body so that it conserves energy, releases tension, and functions better.
  • Shiatsu: Gentle finger and hand pressure are applied to specific points on the body to relieve pain and enhance the flow of energy (known as qi) through the body’s energy pathways (called meridians). Shiatsu is widely used in TCM.
  • Sports massage: Often used on professional athletes and other active individuals, sports massage can enhance performance and prevent and treat sports-related injuries.
  • Swedish massage: A variety of strokes and pressure techniques are used to enhance the flow of blood to the heart, remove waste products from the tissues, stretch ligaments and tendons, and ease physical and emotional tension.
  • Trigger point massage: Pressure is applied to “trigger points” (tender areas where the muscles have been damaged) to alleviate muscle spasms and pain.
  • Integrative touch: A gentle form of massage therapy that uses gentle, non-circulatory techniques. It is designed to meet the needs of patients who are hospitalized or in hospice care.
  • Compassionate touch: Combines one-on-one focused attention, intentional touch, and sensitive massage with communication to enhance the quality of life for elderly, ill, or dying patients.

How does massage work?

For centuries, human touch has been shown to be emotionally and physically healing. Particular massage techniques may either stimulate or calm the body’s muscles and tissues to create a desired effect. When a practitioner massages soft tissue, electrical signals are transmitted both to the local area and throughout the body. These signals, in combination with the healing properties of touch, help heal damaged muscle, stimulate circulation, clear waste products via the lymphatic system, boost the activity of the immune system, reduce pain and tension, and induce a calming effect. Massage may also enhance well being by stimulating the release of endorphins (natural painkillers and mood elevators) and reducing levels of certain stress hormones.

 

 

hippocrotese massage quote 1

hippocrotese massage quote 2

http://itandb.com/history.htm

In our own western tradition, starting with the Greeks, one finds deep roots for the validity of massage therapy in the medical world. Hippocrates of Cos (460 to 380 B.C.), generally accepted as the ‘father of medicine’ and author of the Hippocratic Oath, wrote in his memoirs, “The physician must be experienced in many things but assuredly also in rubbing (anatripsis); for things that have the same name have not always the same effects. For rubbing can bind a joint that is too loose and loosen a joint that is too rigid.…

Rubbing can bind and loosen; can make flesh (referring to the ability to tone muscle tissue) and cause parts to waste (soften and relax).

Hard rubbing binds; soft rubbing loosens; much rubbing causes parts to waste; moderate rubbing makes them grow.”

Massage has been an integral part of the healing practices dating back thousands of years.

Massage, exercise, and good nutrition are the building blocks to a healthy body. Massage Therapy is not intended to replace your existing medical care and treatment, it is a part of of the recipe for healthy living.

Yours in Health and Wellness,

Kristeen Smart AKA Kristeen Kish

CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist

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