From the blog

Coffee With Kristen

Q: What’s your go-to coffee drink?

A: Recently it’s just been a medium or dark roast with almond creamer.  But I love a good cappuccino too.

Q: What’s your favorite place to get coffee?

A: Five Watt, in Minneapolis.  The kingfield, hot or cold, with ½ the sugar.

Q: Where did you grow up? (childhood, hs, college, etc.)

A: I grew up kind of bouncing around the midwest.  Born in Indiana, then on to Pennsylvania, Illinois, back to Indiana, then Ohio, Kentucky, and back to Illinois.  And now I’m in Minneapolis! But I would say I grew up (middle and high school) in Indiana.  Following high school, I went to Cincinnati for college.  

After 8 years in Cincinnati, and just as many in the recording industry, I moved to Chicago.  I made the decision to make a career change and go to massage school.  I was in Chicago for 6 years before making the move to Minneapolis, and closer to family.

Q: What interested you in massage?

A: I think I was initially most drawn to the atmosphere/energy of massage. I’d had an interest in massage when I was in college, but didn’t have the time or conviction to follow through.  I pursued a very serious music career for 8 years.  While I still love writing, playing and singing, I couldn’t survive the music industry.  Once I made the decision to leave, I had the opportunity to re-visit the idea of massage therapy.  It was so opposite of my previous career. I think I was subconsciously trying to surround myself with peace and healing in hopes that it would work it’s way into my being.  But at that time I had no idea how passionate I would be about the scientific/clinical aspect of massage.

Q: What do you mean when you talk about passion for the scientific/clinical aspect of massage?

A: First off, I absolutely fell in love with learning how the body moves, and how muscle groups work together to create all the motions the human body is capable of.  And then, being able to apply that knowledge towards helping others live with less pain, is both fun and rewarding.  

It’s also cool to practice a therapy that has been used for thousands of years. Massage is one of the oldest forms of medicine that has withstood the test of time because of its legitimacy. Until recent years, the lack of scientific explanation and measurable evidence, kept massage from being realized as a clinical treatment for hundreds of conditions.  But western medicine is finally realizing it’s credibility because great massage therapists are doing studies.  The Massage Therapy Journal actually publishes a lot of the results of studies where massage is used and evaluated for everything from Alzheimers, to athletic enhancement, and even to speed recovery post-op.  I love that.  I love that we are coming to an age where our technology helps us better understand from a scientific view why an ancient medicine like massage works.

Q: Do you remember getting your first professional massage?

A: I do and I was so nervous! I was in my early 20’s and a friend of a friend was a massage therapist, so I setup an appointment with her.  I didn’t know whether or not to wear my undies or go nude or what the deal was and I was embarrassed to ask.  In hind-sight I now know that part of being a great massage therapist is making people feel comfortable with you because if they don’t, then it will be difficult for them to relax.  Fortunately, this friend of a friend calmed my nerves, so I was able to relax and enjoy my first professional massage.

Q: What’s the best part about being a massage therapist?

A: Man, it’s hard to pinpoint one thing because there are so many good things! I feel really fortunate
to work in a field where I get to see and hear the impact that my work makes in other people’s daily lives.  It’s really cool when someone who has had chronic pain comes back and tells you how much the massage has helped their situation.  Chronic pain effects so much more than your body.  It weaves its way into your mood, which spills over into your interactions with others, and in general, just takes a bit of life that you may not even realize, until you aren’t hurting.  So when I’m able to help people with pain management, I know it improves their everyday experience of life, and if I had to pick just one best part about being a massage therapist, that would be it.

Q: If you could give one bit of advice to people who are in that state of chronic pain, what would it be?

A: You don’t have to settle for just dealing with it.  Most chronic pain, with the right game plan, can be alleviated.  Massage can absolutely help, but you’ll get faster and longer lasting results when you combine it with a multi-modality health regimine.  Taking a look at, not just your soft-tissue (muscles, ligaments, tendons, etc.), but all those things that are connected with it’s health; including structure, nutrition, strength, and flexibility.  And you can’t neglect the emotional aspect of pain, as trauma, whether physical or emotional, gets stored in your body.  So again, while massage will absolutely help alleviate pain, I’m a big advocate for addressing overall wellness.

Q: When you’re not working, how do you like to spend your free-time?

A: Outside.  Whether it’s going for a walk, or bike ride, or hike, or just about anything, outside, regardless of season, I love it.  I also love watching a great movie that teaches you a little something about life and yourself.  Listening to a good record, playing games, strumming a guitar, or playing the piano, and being with family.  I’m also probably too obsessed with my dog, Lucky.  I’m not apologizing for that because he is the absolute greatest.  In general, I’m pretty low-key when I’m not massaging.

Q: Any closing statements?

A: Take care of yourself!  My mom always says, “God gave you one set of eyes, and one set of teeth, so take care of them.”  And I would take it one step further and say, God gave you one body, as a whole, take care of the whole, not just a part.  And get a massage.