Tag Archives: Adaptive Touch

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

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinteresttumblr

Lactic Acid, The Myths

The concept of “lactic acid build up” has been an often repeated myth in the exercise community for many decades now, Lets take a brief look at the myths and the facts of what really causes that post workout muscle soreness.

  • What is Lactic Acid? Simply stated the body converts carbohydrates into lactic acid during a strenuous workout which is converted into lactate.
  • What does it do? It produces energy for the muscles during a strenuous activity.
  • Does lactic acid build up? Actually no, it begins to break down  in just a few hours after a work out.
  • Does lactic acid/lactate cause muscle soreness? No, in fact there are no studies showing that lactic acid causes muscle soreness.

(Myth) The accumulation of lactate causes fatigue in muscles.

(Fact) Lactate does not cause fatigue, and on the contrary is a useful and efficient fuel source[2].

(Myth) Lactic acid can be measured in the blood using a lactate analyzer.

(Fact) Lactic acid does not exist in the blood. As soon as it is produced, the substance thought to be lactic acid disassociates into lactate and hydrogen (More on lactate and hydrogen below). A lactate analyzer measures the concentration of lactate (a useful fuel) in the blood.

(Myth) Lactate clearance and lactate tolerance refer to how the body deals with fatigue.

(Fact) Since lactate does not cause fatigue, its clearance from the blood depends on the body’s ability to use it as fuel. The body not only tolerates lactate, but at times prefers lactate over glucose as an energy source[6].

http://www.cyclingnews.com/features/lactate-and-lactic-acid-dispelling-the-myths/

So what really causes the muscle pain after a work out?

What is it then that causes DOMS for days after exercise? The answer is swelling in the muscle compartment that results from an influx of white blood cells, prostaglandins (which are antiinflammatory), and other nutrients and fluids that flow to the muscles to repair the “damage” after a tough workout. The type of muscle damage I am referring to is microscopic (it occurs in small protein contractile units of the muscle called myofibrils) and is part of the normal process of growth in the body called anabolism. It is not the type of damage or injury that you see your doctor about. The swelling and inflammation can build up for days after a workout, and that’s why muscle soreness may be worse two, three, or even four days after a workout

http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=78966

In summary lactic acid is not the cause of delayed onset muscle soreness, lactic acid does not build up in the body, and it is in fact a valuable source of energy for the muscle during a strenuous workout. Lactate is converted back into glucose and filtered out by the liver and is a naturally occurring chemical in the body.

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

Health and Human Touch

Today I was inspired to write about the benefits of human touch

I have been aware for many years that some childrens hospitals have volunteer positions for “cuddlers” to come and hold and rock the sick babies and children to help increase their survival rate.

One such hospital has elderly volunteers that come to rock the babies with AIDS and says that it is of benefit to both the babies and to the elderly volunteers to have that human touch.

A simple pat on the back, a hug, or a gentle touch of the hand can have a profound impact on health and healing.

The following quotes and information can be found in this article:

http://www.exhibithealth.com/general-health/health-benefits-of-human-touch-1345/

Even though touch has been shown to have measurable health benefits, it is also true that touch deprivation can have a detrimental effect on health. A growing body of research suggests that American children and adolescents are dangerously touch-deprived. Psychologist Matthew Hertenstein, PhD, director of the Touch and Emotion Lab at DePauw University says that touch deprivation is a real thing. “Most of us, whatever our relationship status, need more human contact than we’re getting,” says Hertenstein.

Neurologist Shekar Raman, MD, in Richmond, Virginia explains: “A hug, pat on the back, and even a friendly handshake are processed by the reward center in the central nervous system, which is why they can have a powerful impact on the human psyche, making us feel happiness and joy. And it doesn’t matter if you’re the toucher or touchee. The more you connect with others — on even the smallest physical level — the happier you’ll be.”

Touch can also benefit the immune system. According to Ms Field: “In studies of women with breast cancer, we found that when cortisol levels are up, natural killer (NK) cells are down. –

Health Benefits of Human Touch:

  • eases pain
  • helps with infant growth
  • enhances vital signs
  • stabilizes body temp
  • can communicate positivity
  • helps provide better sleep
  • reduces irritability
  • increases sociability
  • strengthens relationships
  • strengthens immune system
  • helps with depression
  • increases proper digestion
  • releases serotonin
  • enhances a sense of well-being
  • stimulates oxytocin – the cuddle hormone
  • slows heart rate – lowers blood pressure
  • lowers the stress hormone cortisol
  • gives comfort and relieves sadness
  • can help us feel happiness & joy
  • releases tension & tightness
  • helps migraine pain
    Read more at WPBeginner: Health Benefits of Human Touch http://www.exhibithealth.com/general-health/health-benefits-of-human-touch-1345/
Yours in Health and Wellness,
Kristeen Smart AKA Kristeen Kish
CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinteresttumblr

Can’t Afford A Massage?

I often have people telling me that they wish they could get regular massage but they cannot afford it. I would like to point out a few ways that one can get regular massage without breaking the bank.

First I would like to explain that you would be getting the same exact quality of massage from me if you came to me at a high end spa or a low end spa, at a chiropractic setting or in your own home. The only difference would be that you might not get the amenities of a high end spa such as a Eucalyptus Steam Room and showers.

PPO insurance: most PPO insurance covers alternative medicine, you can use this option to get part or all of the cost of your massage treatments covered by your insurance. In some cases a massage therapist can bill directly to insurance (depending on state laws) or a client can receive massage therapy at a chiropractic or other alternative medicine clinic. Find out if your insurance covers massage.

Memberships: Many spas offer membership rates which lock in a reduced price for being a loyal customer, and example would be non member rate of $99.99 an hour vs member rate of $59.99, saving you $30 per visit. Look into the terms of the contract and the cancellation policies before entering into a membership, introductory rates are often available at such places for first time clients.

Massage Schools: if your insurance does not cover massage and you absolutely cannot afford to get massage treatments don’t discount the idea of getting a massage from students. By the time they get to the clinical part of their education they have already been practicing on each other, family members, and friends and have learned all the basics they need to get started in their hands on education. You will also be providing them much needed practice and feedback to help them in their future career in the field. The cost varies from school to school so contact a few schools in your area and inquire.

Groupon: I hesitate to mention groupon because its business model can be financially hard on a massage therapist as the reduced rate and fees for groupon are generally cost prohibitive in a massage setting but it is an option for finding massage at a reduced cost, sometimes as low as $35 an hour depending on the location. It is a good way to shop around for a good price as well as a good therapist. The downside to groupon is that on average only 10% of people who use a groupon will become repeat clients, which is why many places tend to shy away from offering groupons.

Many private therapists are more than happy to offer you a reduced cost for repeat business and some offer special package deals such as pay for 4 massages get the 5th one free, feel free to ask your therapist if he or she offers any reduced cost options, many will be willing to work with you in exchange for your loyalty as a client.

Make sure that you are being treated by a trained and state regulated massage therapist as there are still many fake massage establishments out there offering very cheap massages that are not only untrained and uneducated but may also cause more harm than good.

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

What is Bamboo Fusion

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

http://bamboo-fusion.com/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is California Massage Therapy Certification?

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

CAMTC established in 2009

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

CA Massage Law voluntary

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

types of CAMTC certification

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

beware of massage providers who do not

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

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

is your masage provider certified

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

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

Before Diagnosing Yourself With Carpel Tunnel Syndrome

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

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

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

http://www.thecarpeltunnel.com/youreallyhavecarpaltunnelsyndrome

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinteresttumblr

What is Complementary Alternative Medicine?

http://www.medicinenet.com/alternative_medicine/article.htm

What is complementary medicine?

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

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

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

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

acupuncture,
Alexander technique,
aromatherapy,
Ayurveda (Ayurvedic medicine),
biofeedback,
chiropractic medicine,
diet therapy,
herbalism,
holistic nursing,
homeopathy,
hypnosis,
massage therapy,
meditation,
naturopathy,
nutritional therapy,
osteopathic manipulative therapy (OMT),
Qi gong (internal and external Qiging),
reflexology,
Reiki,
spiritual healing,
Tai Chi,
traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and
yoga.

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

National Human Trafficking Awareness Day 1/11/2016

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/human-trafficking/faqs.html

Which Countries Are Affected By Human Trafficking?

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

Who Are The Victims And Culprits Of Human Trafficking?

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

What Types Of Industries Are Involved With Human Trafficking?

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

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

https://traffickingresourcecenter.org/report-trafficking

Report Trafficking

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


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

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

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

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