Essential Kneads 's Blog

Distinguishing the difference between Dry Needling and Acupuncture

February 27th, 2017 • Posted by Brandon/ Rebecca Scott • Permalink

We have a lot of clients come in to the office asking for our opinion on these two topics. While we do not practice these modalities, both can be very helpful in the healing process. I hope this video helps to clarify the difference between the two so you are better able to make an educated choice if needing to seek them out.

1 Response...

Lori H. says:
September 27, 2017 at 6:33 PM
Good morning Brandon it's Lori.... shoulders are a bit sore this morning but nothing out of the norm after a massage. However, can I just say how amazing I feel... Shoulders back, chest out and no signs of chest spasms. I have not felt this good in years...Unbelievable! So thank you, thank you, thank you! Have a great day

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Great article on Massage and Diabetes!

March 29th, 2012 • Posted by Brandon/ Rebecca Scott • Permalink
Updated October 04, 2007
Therapeutic Massage
Complementary Health Care for Diabetes
by Mary Kathleen Rose, CMT

As more and more Americans incorporate alternative therapies into their program of health care, people with diabetes, too, are looking to the usefulness of different therapies to complement their lifestyle measures and medical care. One such alternative therapy is massage.

The therapeutic use of touch might be seen as a new development in health care, but there are traditions of touch therapies that date back through the centuries in cultures around the world. The Chinese have written records of therapeutic massage dating to 3000 BC, and there are ancient Egyptian pictographs showing the practice of foot massage.

In recent times, the field of massage has gained prominence in the areas of athletic training, medical massage, and spa and fitness centers. So a person with diabetes seeking to optimize his health care may well wonder whether massage therapy might be useful to him.

Benefits of massage therapy

There are many benefits of massage therapy for people with diabetes. Most of these would be similar to the benefits of massage for the general population, but the following are of particular interest for people with diabetes.

Relaxation. The value of basic relaxation cannot be overemphasized. Living with diabetes is inherently stressful. Fluctuating blood sugar levels put tremendous strain on the body's systems. The practical demands of balancing intake of insulin or oral medicines, blood glucose monitoring, nutrition, and exercise can seem like a daunting task for many. Worry about diabetic complications or anxiety relating to work or interpersonal relationships can add to the picture of stress.

By sedating the nervous system, massage can bring a much-needed rest and an assuring sense of well-being to the body. Skillfully applied touch can have a profound effect on body chemistry, decreasing the production of stress hormones, with resulting beneficial effects to blood sugar levels. (Stress hormones generally raise blood sugar levels.)

Increased circulation. Massage increases the circulation of blood and lymph, facilitating the transport of oxygen and other nutrients into the body's tissues. Improved circulation allows for more efficient uptake of insulin by the cells. Circulation is often impaired in people with diabetes due to the damaging effects of elevated blood sugar levels on the cells of the body.

Myofascial effects. Massage works directly with the muscles (myo) and connective tissues (fascia) in the body, helping to facilitate greater mobility in the body. This is especially important for people with diabetes, because elevated blood sugar causes a thickening of connective tissue, which affects the mobility and elasticity of the myofascial system. This may be experienced as stiffness in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments or as a decreased range of motion in the joints.

Stress hormones also contribute to chemical changes in the connective tissue, causing a stickiness between the layers of fascia. Massage therapy can significantly counter this effect. Stretching and regular exercise are also important to help encourage flexibility and health of the myofascial system.

Putting massage to the test

Over the past year, I have supervised a clinic where my student interns give massage to people with diabetes. This has been a tremendous opportunity to observe the benefits of therapeutic massage, and to record changes in blood sugar level during the course of a session.

The students who participate in the clinic have all received their basic instruction in Swedish or Integrative Therapeutic Massage. They are in the final quarter of their massage school training, and this clinic provides them the opportunity to practice their skills, offering massage free of charge to clients as part of their community service. All protocols of professional massage practice are observed, including doing a medical history intake interview, observing client confidentiality, and using appropriate techniques.

The client is unclothed to his level of comfort and draped for modesty and warmth. A light, unscented lotion or oil is applied with the massage strokes. Basic strokes of Swedish massage are used, including gliding, kneading, and wringing. Acupressure strokes of general compression and specific contact pressure are also used. The therapist responds to the client's feedback to address specific needs and preferences for areas of the body massaged, depth of pressure applied, and types of strokes used.

Most of the people who have received a massage at the clinic have had Type 1 diabetes, and they have ranged in age from 25 to 50 years old. Prior massage experience has varied, but all have been enthusiastic to receive the massages. Sessions last about an hour, with the actual hands-on massage lasting about 45 to 50 minutes. Each person is required to check his blood glucose level before the session and to note the time of his most recent meal or snack and what he ate. He also notes the time and amount of his most recent injection of insulin (or bolus of insulin if using an insulin pump). After the session, he checks his blood glucose level again.

To date, five student massage therapy interns have given massage in the diabetes clinic. More than 20 people with diabetes have received massage, some more than once. It has been an enjoyable experience for all participants. Those receiving massage have reported greater levels of physical and emotional comfort after the session than before.

The clinic has also produced some useful data on the changes that occur in blood glucose levels during massage. We have seen changes of as much as a 100-mg/dl decrease in an hour, as well as a 100-mg/dl increase. In general, however, massage therapy tends to lower blood sugar levels by approximately 20 mg/dl to 40 mg/dl. The more dramatic decreases could usually be accounted for by recent injections of insulin or by vigorous exercise in the hours preceding the massage session. The dramatic increases were attributed to a missed insulin dose or a dose that did not adequately cover a snack or meal.

While the massage clinic is not a scientifically controlled study by any means, it does raise an important safety issue. Since massage can have a dramatic effect on a person's blood sugar level, both massage therapists and those receiving massages need to be aware of that and be prepared to treat hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). In addition, since people naturally tend to be relaxed and sometimes a little "spacey" or disoriented after receiving a massage, getting a massage may raise the possibility that a person will not recognize his usual warning symptoms of hypoglycemia. This underscores the importance of checking for low blood sugar before leaving the premises where the massage took place. And since the blood-glucose-lowering effect of a massage can last for several hours, it is wise to continue with regular monitoring throughout the day.

When people with diabetes receive repeated sessions, they can begin to understand their own patterns of response to massage and plan accordingly. For example, a person whose blood sugar tends to drop around 40 points during a session of massage might want to drink a small glass of juice before a massage if his blood sugar is 100 mg/dl or lower before the session. He could also choose to have a glass of juice in the room to drink during the session. Each person has a different response, and even an experienced massage recipient may sometimes have unexpected blood sugar changes.

Enjoying massage safely

Because changes in blood glucose level can and do occur when people with diabetes receive massage, it's important to inform your massage therapist about your diabetes. It is also important to describe the signs and symptoms you experience when your blood sugar is low. Signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia vary widely from person to person. Any one or more of the following may occur: excessive sweating (skin may feel clammy), faintness, headache, an inability to awaken, "spaceyness" (a person may talk or move very slowly or not be able to speak coherently), irritability, change in personality, and rapid heartbeat. In addition, some people have lost the ability to sense when their blood sugar is getting low, a condition called hypoglycemia unawareness. For these people especially, it can be helpful to know that the massage therapist is keeping an eye out for signs of low blood sugar.

In addition to describing your symptoms of hypoglycemia or lack thereof, be sure to explain to your massage therapist how you treat it. Bring glucose tablets, juice, or your usual hypoglycemia treatment to your massage sessions. By taking these precautions, massage can be safely enjoyed by a person with diabetes.

During a massage session, your therapist is likely to ask how you're feeling. Do not be afraid to tell the therapist what you need and to give honest feedback about your experience. This is an opportunity for both therapist and client to learn from each other, enjoying the experience of giving and receiving massage. No matter what specific type of therapy is used, it is the communication and rapport between therapist and client that is most important.

If you have particular needs and concerns, share those with the therapist. Certain diabetic complications may make certain massage techniques more or less preferable. For example, if a person has peripheral neuropathy (damage to the nerves of the hands and feet) and is very sensitive to touch, the techniques of Comfort Touch, a nurturing form of acupressure, may be the most comfortable. (Click on "Further Reading About Massage" for more information on Comfort Touch.) But any type of massage can be adapted by a skilled therapist. Let the therapist know what is most helpful to you.

In addition to making your needs known, do your part to make the massage comfortable and relaxing. Remember that it is OK to stop and drink some juice during a massage if you need to. Let your therapist know if you have time constraints. For example, a one-hour massage may be most appropriate. A session that is too long may put you at risk for hypoglycemia, defeating the whole purpose of a relaxing massage.

An integral part of management

Massage can give a wonderful psychological boost to someone who is living with diabetes and striving to balance all the factors involved in maintaining a healthy lifestyle-proper nutrition, adequate exercise, blood glucose monitoring, appropriate use of medicines, and stress management. Massage therapy contributes an important piece to my diabetes regimen of care. I hope that as other people with diabetes understand and experience the benefits of massage therapy, they can consider it a valuable part of their own integrated health-care program.

Mary Kathleen Rose is a certified massage therapist who teaches therapeutic massage in a number of massage schools and medical settings in the Boulder, Colorado, area. She is the developer of the Comfort Touch style of massage and has trained hundreds of people in this approach. She has had Type 1 diabetes since 1985.
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2 Responses...

Anonymous says:
June 10, 2012 at 4:09 AM
Playing music and making the vieewr read is stupid. Why aren't you appearing and talking etc? Fortunately most diabetics know not to waste their money on so-called natural cures because there are none. That term alone makes me think of Kevin Trudeau and most people know that he's a snake oil salesman/huckster/con man!
Anonymous says:
January 8, 2014 at 2:09 AM
Please understand that you can only send prtocasds to existing clients because personalisation is important in communication. Dropping prtocasds anonymously is costly and not effective. You must decide on a promotional theme. Let's say it's Swedish National Day this month and you can offer a Swedish massage to tie in nicely.Next: For new customers/first timers, offer a 50% on any massages. At the same time, take down all their details. To get new customers, try flyers with your namecard. Position yourself well at malls, you'll notice that spas and similar businesses are on certain floors/areas of a building. Just hang around the area. Then you get the likeliest customers. Try non-peak hours and avoid weekends where people don't have time or are not interested. Should also try office buidings. For existing customers, you should offer some simple packages. Eg. $300 for 4 sessions vs. $400 normal price. Or you can word it as : Pay 3 x and get the 4th session free. You can also try and persuade the newcomers to sign up to the packages. Alternatively, you can also sell' by telling your existing customers that if they bring a friend and their friend sign up for the packages, they can get one or two sessions free.What this does is : it gives you the $ upfront. Also, it is your duty to call/remind those who had packages to utilise it. It is a good way for you to assess the service/quality when you can chat with them. They can even tell you what competitors are doing.

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What is an MFR therapist?

January 26th, 2012 • Posted by Brandon/ Rebecca Scott • Permalink

Therapeutic Insight: The Myofascial Release Perspective—What is a Myofascial Release Therapist? ?Part II


by John F. Barnes, P.T., L.M.T., N.C.T.M.B.

Therapeutic Insight: The Myofascial Release Perspective—What is a Myofascial Release Therapist? ?Part II, MASSAGE MagazineIn my last article, I discussed what is necessary to become a myofascial release therapist. To expand, a myofascial release therapist is a highly skilled individual who has explored deeply within themselves to attain clarity and strength. They embrace the power of silence while flowing in the present moment.

Thinking and talking is like static on a radio—nothing is being accurately perceived or heard. It is only when we are in deep stillness and silence that we are capable of receiving the information we need in order to make proper analytical and intelligent decisions. This is wisdom—one being's mind-body wisdom communicating with another's mind-body wisdom. It is this deep communication that allows the therapist to accurately perceive what a person or animal's unique problems, dysfunctions and potentials are in order to make accurate therapeutic decisions, moment by moment, in order to enhance their performance, health and well-being.

As a client, when you are being treated by a myofascial release therapist, you are encountering a unique individual. This individual has extensive and special training and talents, and has expended a considerable amount of time developing his skills and awareness. They have done everything they will be asking their client to do and feel. They are interacting with their client from an extensive knowledge base and extraordinary personal and professional experiences. They have had the courage to feel their own pain and face their own fears. They have already been to where they will take you for your healing to occur. We believe therapists can only take their clients as far and as deep as they are willing to go themselves.

When you are with a myofascial release therapist, you are in the hands of someone who has internalstrength, courage, integrity and incredible awareness. You will sense the gentle, yet powerful feel of their essence when they are near you and as they touch you. Allow their presence and the luminescence in their eyes to inspire you and reconnect you with your essence. We know that you have these attributes also, and we will help you reach your full potential. We will help you reach your goals as long as you are willing to help yourself. What you will get out of myofascial release is what you are willing to put into it.

Your myofascial release therapist's formidable skills, inner calmness and confidence will help you peel away myofascial and emotional barriers that have blocked the full expression of your true self. In so doing, you will rediscover your own tranquility, strength, mental clarity and awareness. Re-igniting your "spark of life" will return you to a natural, joyful, healthy and pain-free active lifestyle.



John Barnes, MASSAGE MagazineJohn F. Barnes, P.T., L.M.T., N.C.T.M.B., is an international lecturer, author and acknowledged expert in the area of myofascial release. He has instructed more than 50,000 therapists worldwide in his Myofascial Release approach, and he is the author of Myofascial Release: the Search for Excellence (Rehabilitation Services Inc., 1990) and Healing Ancient Wounds: the Renegade's Wisdom (Myofascial Release Treatment Centers & Seminars, 2000). He is on the counsel of Advisors of the American Back Society; he is also on Massage Magazine's Editorial Advisory Board; and is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association. For more information, visit

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3 Responses...

Anonymous says:
February 3, 2012 at 7:01 AM
i agree with your your belief is massage thrapiest play an important role for any massage.i am always prefer Massage Houston for my relaxation.
Anonymous says:
June 10, 2012 at 7:25 PM
1) Emphasise the benefits to them, ratehr than cold facts. Instead of Based Locally' try Faster response times and lower costs as based locally.2) Highlight the key benefit the letter is about in a header or bullet points. You only have a few seconds for them to decide whether to actually read the letter in full.3) Keep it short more than one page (side) is too long is most cases. 4) Have a call to action tell them what to do next: call for a quote , order your brochure today , Register on our web site 5) A PS. can repeat or emphasise a key point, or add for ce to the call to action, such as Call this week for a 5% discount! 6) Use decent quality paper (although not nessesarily expensive branded paper) and pre-printed letterhead or decent colour quality laser print.
Anonymous says:
January 9, 2014 at 1:07 PM
Rolling a golf ball under your foot while sitting pvdoires too little pressure. If you do this while standing and apply more weight on the ball, the pressure will be to intense and can even hurt the participant. For something in between Google nestoiter-gravity rock pillow and foot massager black bar. Both products the rock pillow and the bar provide a measurable and reliable way to apply pressure on the soles of your feet, thus getting massage via gravity, while standing.Overall it's a good article. No pushy sales pitches, no urging claims to buy custom orthotics or supportive shoes as the only remedy for the problem. I like when doctors offer do-it-yourself suggestions. Thank you.

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Headaches. What a pain! August 17th 2012

Posted by Brandon Scott