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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Holidays Can Be Stressful

Between the preparations, last minute shopping in crowded stores, travel, and festivities it can leave you feeling stressed out and tired.

There is no better time than the Holidays to take some time for yourself and get a relaxing massage to unwind and de-stress.

Massage reduces Cortisol stress hormones and releases endorphins to help you recover from a stressful holiday season.

In this article the positive effects of massage therapy on biochemistry are reviewed including decreased levels of cortisol and increased levels of serotonin and dopamine. The research reviewed includes studies on depression (including sex abuse and eating disorder studies), pain syndrome studies, research on auto-immune conditions (including asthma and chronic fatigue), immune studies (including HIV and breast cancer), and studies on the reduction of stress on the job, the stress of aging, and pregnancy stress. In studies in which cortisol was assayed either in saliva or in urine, significant decreases were noted in cortisol levels (averaging decreases 31%). In studies in which the activating neurotransmitters (serotonin and dopamine) were assayed in urine, an average increase of 28% was noted for serotonin and an average increase of 31% was noted for dopamine. These studies combined suggest the stress-alleviating effects (decreased cortisol) and the activating effects (increased serotonin and dopamine) of massage therapy on a variety of medical conditions and stressful experiences.
Have a relaxing Holiday Season!

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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Massage for stress and pain reduction

We have long known that massage is good for stress reduction, this claim is backed by science.

In this article posted by the US National Library of Medicine a study revealed that after a massage “Cortisol (stress hormone) levels decreased by an average of 31% and Serotonin and Dopamine levels rose an average of 28% and 31% respectively.”  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16162447

 

Many conditions such as fibromyalgia present themselves with low levels of serotonin, parkinsons presents with low dopamine. The study suggests that massage may benefit many medical conditions. As we know serotonin and dopamine are used in medications for neurological pain conditions and in antidepressants.

The implications of the study backs up other studies that have shown massage to be of benefit in many chronic pain disorders such as fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis and could possibly help with depression and anxiety.

Yours in Health and Wellness,

Kristeen Smart AKA Kristeen Kish

CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist

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What is Adaptive Touch?

What is Adaptive Touch?

It is the name I created in business class back in college and it is an expression of what I do. My massages are tailored to the specific needs of each individual client and my approach is adaptive to those needs, it is what I am and what I do, it is not the name of a business (yet.)

My technique is an integrated combination of Swedish mixed with therapeutic firm to deep tissue and sports massage that varies depending on the specific needs and concerns of my client.

In my time as a Massage Therapist I have worked for chiropractors, spas, and private clients. I have worked with clients both young and old to heal from work related injuries, sports injuries, auto accidents, auto immune disorders, and chronic pain disorders such as fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and polymyositis.

Helping others to feel better and reduce their pain is a passion of mine, my greatest satisfaction comes from seeing the results of the work that I do.

Yours in Health and Wellness,

Kristeen Smart AKA Kristeen Kish

CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist

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Cutting Edge Technique