Learn more about Karen Kingsley, Registered Massage Therapist at ALPHA!
Why did you pursue a career in massage therapy?
In 2012 I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. Once I was through all of my surgeries and treatments I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life post cancer. I knew I wanted to give back and make a difference somehow. I was focused on looking for jobs in the not-for-profit sector but something just didn’t feel right. I was almost making myself sick trying to figure out what I was going to do next. What am I going to do with my life? I had lost so much control through the whole cancer experience that I was desperately trying grasp hold of anything. I finally succumbed to just letting go. Once I had accepted this time for what it was, that’s when things started to fall into place. I went to a Rethink Live, Laugh, Learn event, which is an event for young women with cancer, and a teacher from Sutherland-Chan was there speaking to all of us on the benefits of massage and breast massage. It was like a lightbulb went off in my head! This could be a profession that would allow me to work with breast cancer patients, but not necessarily have my whole practice focused on just cancer. This could be my way of helping and giving back to the cancer community. I was immediately energized from this seminar and the first thing I did was research Sutherland-Chan once I got home. Within a month of that event I was signed up for the 2 year program.
My experience with cancer, as crappy as it was, has given me the tools to understand, empathize and relate to other breast cancer patients. I want to be able to give back to that community because I was fortunate to have amazing people (doctors, nurses, other health practicers etc) to help me through this whole process. If I can provide some help or relief to someone with cancer or lymphedema as a result of the cancer treatments, it can be my way of saying “thank you” for all of the services and help that were provided to me during this difficult time in my life.
How and why did you specialize in lymphatic drainage?
The reason I went further to get my accreditation in Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) is due to the fact that there are very few MLD therapists out there and it’s a population of patients that are greatly under serviced. Lymphedema can be a side effect from cancer treatments and if left untreated it can greatly affect your daily living and lead to other health issues. Being able to help this population of patients was really important to me.
What is a fact about you that people may not know?
It may not be a secret that I absolutely love to travel. I’ve been to 30+ countries and I look forward to a time when we are able to travel again. Oh, here’s a fun fact…I’ve never been to New York City! With all the traveling I’ve done I’ve somehow never made it to New York. One day…