Tag Archives: Pain Relief

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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Massage Tools and Liability Insurance

A cautionary post for fellow Massage Therapists and Student

I research things as I become curious about certain subjects, one of my recent curiosities was about a product which got me searching for more information on tools and liability insurance because I know that not all tools are covered by all liability companies and I usually search mine to find out what is excluded, but new products raise the question of what actually is included.

Personally my advice to anyone using any tools or exotic modalities would be to contact your liability insurance and ask about coverage just to make sure. I know that some insurance companies do not cover hot stones while others do not cover cupping, and many insurance companies strictly exclude T-bar use.

In my opinion we need to be diligent in making sure that what we utilize in our practice is covered. That being said I did find this post and thought to share it with you.

https://www.ctha.com/Forums/?b=21206

Massage Tools and Insurance

Hi Everybody!

Do you use any supplemental tools when massaging and do your insurers know this? If so, what are their requirements for insuring you to use that tool: an accredited course, confirmation of reading all the instructional material, paying an extra ‘tool-use’ supplment or something else?

I have been asked to write an article about this relevant topic as an ‘expert’ on massage tools (I designed and sell a massage tool called ‘The Kneader’ for both general public and professional therapist use).

Recently, I gave a workshop on our new venture, which is Kneader On-Site Massage. Only Level 3 on-site therapists attended, as it was to gauge if they liked On-Site Massage with the Kneader as much as we do. Thankfully, they did and they all bought 1-2 Kneaders in preparation for our Kneader On-site Massage course, which is hopefully going to be this summer.

One of the therapists contacted her insurers at CThA to make sure she was covered to use the Kneader, in the meantime, as a supplemental tool. They said she was not insured until she took an accredited course on how to use the Kneader (again, even as a supplemental tool during a standard massage treatment). This was not good news as lots of therapists have been buying and using the Kneader as a supplemental tool for several years now! What ensued was nearly two months of deliberation on the Kneader – my argument being that the product comes with a comprehensive manual and DVD and there are loads of clips and instructional material on our website and YouTube.

Thankfully, the CThA insurers have been very thorough and accommodating and have now confirmed that all their therapists are insured to use the Kneader as long as they have reviewed the manual and DVD and use the tool in accordance with the product’s instructional material. It’s a start but this is only one insurer of many and they are all of the same view (I’ve checked around) – if you use a tool (any tool), you need to take an accredited course in it to be insured when using it. I have queried about ‘one move’ tools like Bongers, The Knobbler and Omni Ball – if a tool only does one thing, how can you warrant doing a course in it? Massage tool use is on the rise in the industry, because therapists are always looking at ways to improve their treatments and their working lives. Subsequently, how many therapists are using tools to save their hands or enhance their treatments without realising that they are not ensured to do so? It’s a question that I fear a lot of therapists have not even considered and run the risk (however small) of being caught out on.

I would be grateful for any input and will post the article once it is published for your consideration.

In the meantime, all the very best!

Una
Kneads Must

We love to provide our clients with the best that we can offer them but we also need to always remember to protect not only our clients but our practice as well by making sure that our insurance coverage meets our needs when it comes to our services and products.

Yours in Health and Wellness,

Kristeen Smart AKA Kristeen Kish
CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist
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Postpartum Massage

Recently I massaged a woman who was only two weeks postpartum

My first thought was about her comfort and I offered her a breast cushion, my next thought was about precautions post pregnancy…

In my last post I wrote about prenatal massage and the changes experienced in pregnancy. Following child birth some of those same conditions still apply.  Relaxin, the hormone that loosens ligaments is still present and can remain present in the body up to four months after discontinuing breast feeding, so her joints, especially the SI joints may still be causing her discomfort. The coagulating hormones that poses a risk for deep vein thrombosis during pregnancy may still be present for up to four weeks or more following child birth so deep tissue work is not advised during that time and specifically to be avoided on the back of her legs.

The client may be positioned prone (face down) at this time but if she has had a cesarean section it is advisable for her to wait until after the scars have healed and to speak with her physician before getting massage and to seek her doctors approval before having any abdominal massage work.

The following article by the American Pregnancy Association highlights the Many Benefits of postnatal massage

Postpartum Massage

The Benefits Of Postpartum Massage

Postpartum massage has been shown to be effective for a quicker recovery and better health. Integration of maternal bodywork may add welcome value to your healing journey and transition to motherhood.

Relaxation and Stress Reduction

Massage relaxes muscles, increases circulation and lowers stress hormones, bringing relaxation and stress relief. All body systems appreciate treatment after nine months of change, culminating with the delivery of the greatest miracle in life.

Some women prefer lighter pampering massage while others enjoy deeper techniques to work out the knots. Adding myofascial release and craniosacral therapy reaches deeper into the body for more complete healing. Any of these massage styles will bring relaxation and stress reduction.

Anxiety and depression respond very well to skilled therapy. About two-thirds of new moms experience temporary postpartum blues related to hormonal changes, new responsibilities and adjustment frustrations. Emotional support and the other benefits of massage can help during this transition.

Postpartum depression is a more serious, longer-lasting condition that affects 10-15% of mothers. Studies show massage to be beneficial for treating postpartum depression. Don’t hesitate to consult healthcare providers for assistance, including a postpartum body worker.

Pain Relief

Residual body aches from pregnancy are normal. Adding breastfeeding and childcare can intensify arm, shoulder and back pain. Massage is an effective holistic approach that relaxes muscles and relieves pain without medication. A skilled therapist may also resolve even associated numbness and tingling. Chronic or severe pain may require multiple sessions for resolution.

Hormone Regulation

Massage greatly improves postpartum hormone balance. Estrogen and progesterone hormone levels are very high during pregnancy and decrease after delivery. Prolactin and oxytocin hormone levels rise to facilitate breastfeeding. Studies indicate that massage reduces the stress hormone cortisol. Certain essential oils may also bring hormone and mood balance.

Massage also reduces naturally occurring biochemicals associated with depression (dopamine and serotonin) and cardiovascular problems (norepinephrine), supporting Mom with the challenges of motherhood.

Decreased Swelling

Body fluids need to find balance after pregnancy, in which there was an increase of about 50% in fluid volume. Massage increases circulation and lymphatic drainage to facilitate elimination of excess fluids and waste products. Tissue stimulation assists your body to shift water to the right places.

Swelling is also affected by hormones, which go through major changes after delivery. Massage helps hormone regulation, which also decreases swelling (see Hormone Regulation). Continue your high fluid intake for healing and lactation, even though you may still have swelling.

Better Sleep

Most new moms feel exhausted after labor and delivery, complicated with around-the-clock baby care. Massage will ease the fatigue, promote relaxation and assist with sleep. Studies have shown an increase in delta brain waves (those that accompany deep sleep) with massage therapy.

That is why it is very common to fall asleep during a massage. Getting enough sleep is key to postpartum recovery. Everything improves when you feel rested! Arrange some help and get regular massages for better rest and sleep. One study correlated better sleep with losing the baby fat on the tummy!

Improved Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is a beautiful gift to your newborn, but can also be a challenge for some moms. Massage therapy relaxes the body, increases circulation and increases milk production. Studies show that massage increases prolactin levels, a lactation hormone.

Relaxation in the chest muscles opens the shoulders and improves lactation. New research indicates that breast massage helps relieve breast pain, decreases breast milk sodium and improves newborn suckling. Consult with your therapist about this service as work directly on the breasts may not be legal in some areas.

Her level of comfort and tolerance are as much a concern post pregnancy as they were when she was pregnant.

If at any time she feels uncomfortable with the position, pressure, or duration of the massage be prepared to make accommodations for her.

Her breasts may be tender, swollen, or engorged with milk and it is possible that she may experience a let down of her milk (leaking) during the massage. There is no risk associated with contact with breast milk.

She may be exhausted and sleep soundly through the massage, allow her to fully relax and enjoy the experience.

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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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
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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
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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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