Tag Archives: Kristeen Smart

Migraine Journey Part 3: Update Feeling A Bit Better!

February was a challenge

The weather was unusual for Southern California, a lot of rain and overcast skies that often cause me a lot of light sensitivity and headaches.

My last entry detailed many of the ongoing days of struggle with the migraines and it was a bit chaotic but I decided to leave the entry exactly as it is because that is how my mind was working at the time.

I have been on the 100 mgs of Topamax for over a month now and using CBD oil daily along with Turmeric with Black Pepper and some Vitamin D (since I already know I am low on that) and drinking water.

I am trying to manage my migraines using as little over the counter or prescription pain relivers as possible due to the potential for rebound or over use headaches, this is a very real problem for many migraine sufferers.

Rebound or Overuse Headaches

Medication Overuse Headache

Medication overuse headaches have previously been termed “rebound headaches,” or drug-inducedheadache and medication misuse headaches. Medication overuse headaches are experienced more than 15 days a month for at least three months and have developed or markedly worsened during medication overuse.
And that brings us to the conundrum of the doctor saying “take this pill as soon as you feel the migraine coming on for full effectiveness.” If I were to take something every time I feel a migraine coming on I would run the risk of over use because there is not a day that goes by that my head is not threatening to turn on me, sometimes I can convince it to stay calm and work with me, but all it takes is a flash of light or a can of Axe deodorant spray and its on and popping!

I Promised You An Update….

So, I didn’t think the MRI would show up with anything strange, but you never know, so to rule things out before proceeding with treatment options it was best to have a look in there. Everything appears normal.

And since I have tried several Triptan’s I can be referred for the next treatment option after I try one more (because they have to say I at least gave them all a try) and then we can try Botox. The Doctor says many of his patients have good results with the Botox treatment.

As for March and my headaches, so far Zero ocular migraines and I have only turned to medication (not including the daily Topamax) three times this month, I have been able to manage it with the CBD oil most of the time… or, maybe the migraines have lessened due to the daily Topamax? That is very possible.

What Has Worsened? Photophobia! Oh Joy!

I am blessed to work in a dim lit environment, right? Well that has its disadvantages too! Coming out of the dim lighting and into the brighter hallway and then looking onto the computer screens for information on my next client can be painfully blinding, but not only that I have developed a new and even more entertaining migraine side effect, PHOTOPHOBIA!

I was fully aware that the light sensitivity and the way the headlights of oncoming cars and even the street lights and stop lights flare and hurt my eyes was a form of photophobia but now I have gotten to a point where the cell phone and computer screen are also painfully bright to me as well.

Walking down the hallway at work after coming out of a dark room I am now seeing the trim boards move like waves as I walk past them and returning to the dim lit room I now see not one but two massage tables briefly. I am able to adjust to the lighting in a few minutes with some time to focus but I feel as if I am becoming a vampire, suddenly preferring to come out of the building once the sun has completely set.

So, my obvious next step will be to see an optometrist, which is something I had been putting off since the migraines tend to effect my vision and it can change from day to day based on the migraine attacks. I will look into that this coming week.

In a Nut Shell

What seems to be working, the CBD oil and the Topamax, what does not seem to be working for me, the Triptans seem to help with the headaches about 50% of the time but really make me feel terrible, muscle pain and weakness and just an overall feeling that I do not like at all.

Another simple thing that I found on migraine forums is that in the UK the first line of treatment is 900 to 1,000mg of Aspirin taken with a Sugar Cola (sugar, not fructose corn syrup, so something like a Jones Soda or a Mexican Coke) and I have tried that twice now and both times it has stopped a migraine in its tracks.

I have since looked up the studies on Aspirin for migraines and there have been several peer reviewed studies where they compared 900 to 1,000 mgs of Aspirin to the Triptans and Placebo and found the Aspirin to be as effective as the Triptans, my Neurologist disagrees with that but the many studies shows this to be the case.

Last night I tried another in the Triptan family, within 30 minutes I felt my body get weak, I began to feel sick to my stomach, the pain in my head did not go away, in fact it got worse. I took some CBD oil and went to bed. I felt better this morning, but if the pain continues today I will simply use the Aspirin because I do need to function at work, I do not need to have my muscles effected by a my migraine medication.

I do hope that something along the way here may be of help to someone else that may be going through this or even to my daughter who is struggling with the migraines along with me. It turns out that there is indeed a genetic component to the condition and it unfortunately effects more women than men.

Most migraine studies have been largely conducted on men in the past but that trend is changing and I look forward to more research studies being done on women and more specifically on the hormonal triggers as that is often a very common trigger for many women.

Yours Always, In Health and Wellness!

Kristeen Anne Smart (formerly Kish)

CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist

 

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Migraine Journey Part 1

One Week In Treatment

Lets start with the fact that I usually avoid doctors like the plague, yes I do, they terrify me more than going to the dentist and that’s saying a lot, but the migraines have increased in frequency.

As you may know I treat people with migraines and headaches in my massage practices all the time, there are a few tricks I have learned a long the way, but it is very difficult to practice on myself because I cant lay still on the table and work on myself, not for lack of trying.

So I made an appointment to see a Neurologist because if I am going to see a doctor I would prefer it be the correct doctor for the problem at hand.

The First Visit

Filled out the paperwork, met the tall elderly gentleman who is my new doctor, I thought to myself “good, he is older” I prefer an older doctor as they have been around and have seen many conditions and know that not everyone will respond the same to treatments.

He did some basic nerve tests, poked me with a pin, my nerves are all working well, which is a very good thing given my history with my back surgery over 13 years ago, and then he suggests a brain scan just to rule out any possible damage or other conditions and wrote me a script for medications.

Two prescriptions, one for a preventative, a generic form of Topomax and Maxalt, trouble was he didn’t put down a dosage on the prescription for the Maxalt so the pharmacy was unable to fill the Maxalt prescription so I was only able to fill the preventative.

That evening I went into a full blown visual migraine, I call it a visual migraine but they call it a “migraine with aura.” I find it funny they call that thing an “aura” as to me the term aura sounds so peaceful, what I see is anything but peaceful, it is sharp and jagged, a visual and sensory assault that wipes me out.

They put in a call to his office for clarification on the other prescription but to this day no return call has been made about the other medication. I have been taking the preventative for just over one week, as I am writing this today I have had one migraine with aura the evening I filled the prescription, one regular migraine two days following, and one at this moment.

I will bet you are wondering how it is that I am typing this right now with a migraine, well, because I can still see, and because I took some CBD oil which seems to be taking the edge off for the moment and I want to take a moment to share this with you because today is important.

Today I Go For A Brain Scan

This afternoon I go for a brain scan in Huntington Beach, I am actually glad that I am experiencing the migraine today because I would prefer that my brain be doing whatever it is that it does when they do the scan so that whatever is happening will be evident, if it be some sort of swelling or pressure or whatever it may be.

This is why I am actually considering todays migraine to be a bit timely. Maybe we can get some answers? Maybe this isn’t just hormones, or environmental triggers, or some hidden allergic reaction to something I ate or was exposed to, maybe it has nothing to do with the lighting on the computer monitor, or the sunlight, or driving without sunglasses.

I will keep you posted if I learn anything new on this journey or anything new about migraine treatments, what works, what doesn’t, what helps me, what doesn’t help me… and by the way, so far at 100 milligrams of generic Topamax at just over one week I am still having migraines.

Yours in Health and Wellness,

Kristeen 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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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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Looking Forward to The World Massage Festival 2018

World Massage Festival 2018

The 2018 World Massage Festival will be held in Las Vegas at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino.

World Massage Festival 2018

For those who have never attended a World Massage Festival, this is an opportunity to learn new skills and modalities from some of the biggest names in the field.

The festival includes up to 24 hours of hands on continued education in a number of specialties including Oncology, Geriatric Massage, Bamboo Fusion, Orthopedic Massage, and Native American Energy Work, and man many more .

Their Mission Statement:

To honor those who built the bridges for our profession,
to educate the general public about massage, to educate therapists
about different types of massage and to have fun.

Reasons why you should attend…

A chance to network with Massage Therapists from around the world and learn from some of the leaders in the industry at a remarkably low cost.  No organizational memberships needed! You do not have to be a member of any massage organizations to attend and you are welcome to bring a guest for the festivities.

The “Early Bird Special” before Dec 31st is only $350 and can be made in four payments, after that the cost is only $400. Most of these courses if taken alone can cost more than cost for this entire festival.

There will be drawings for various prizes including a Trip to Hawaii and a 2018 Kia Rio as well as scholarships for upcoming World Massage Festivals.

Vendors will be there displaying all of the tools of the trade and some that you may have never seen or heard of before. The vending hall is a plethora of amazing items and service!

Classes fill up fast!

To ensure that you get into the classes of your choice you need to sign up as early as possible because the classes do fill up fast. You can take up to 24 hours of continued education, however, some of the class schedules conflict with one another so choose the one that you want the most and work other classes into the schedule around it.

This year I was inspired by several of my clients to take an Oncology Massage course and that is what I have chosen this year for my focus class.

The course will be taught by Christine Courtney who owns and operates her own massage school in Ireland and teaches internationally in several countries.

That class will be all day for the first two days of the festival which left me one last day to decide on another course.

I chose for my last day of the event a Pre and Post Event Russian Sports Massage class with Oleg Bouimer, who has worked with NHL, NFL, and NBA athletes.  I have been curious about Russian Sports Massage for a while now and I am excited for the opportunity to learn this modality.

Choosing your course is not easy as there are many wonderful course and modalities to choose from!

So many classes to choose from including: Hands free Ashiatsu, Activated Isolated Stretching, Lomi Lomi, Manchurian Acupressure, Thai Reflexology, Ethics, and various Sports Massage Modalities.

With so much to choose from it is difficult to choose between them, but you cannot go wrong with any of the choices, so even if you cannot get into your favorite class because it is full there are so many amazing classes to attend!

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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