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Meet Kathleen Gramzay of Kinessage in Scottsdale

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kathleen Gramzay.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Kathleen. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I started my massage therapy practice in 1999. After one year of doing deep tissue therapy on professional athletes and clients, my body was killing me. The pain in my back, neck, and wrists was telling me that if I didn’t find a smarter way to work I was done. I taught anatomy and kinesiology and the lens I innately see through is movement. I reasoned that if I could figure out how to use the body’s design for movement instead of force, I could continue doing this work I loved. I cleared that pain as well as a chronic back issue where my back up to that point would just “go out” for five days at a time.

From there, I translated my self-care into a method of massage that was easier on me and kinder and more effective for my clients and named it Kinessage® Massage Through Movement. In 2006, with a number of years worth of data on its effectiveness, I thought: “Why should this just be for me and my clients?” I then went through the process of creating the curriculum and became an NCBTMB national continuing education provider teaching both Kinessage® Massage Through Movement and Kinessage® Self-Care to occupational, physical, and massage therapists around the country, running my practice and teaching business concurrently.

In 2015, when I saw the opioid addiction epidemic in full swing, I knew I had to bring Kinessage® to business and the public so that everyone who was looking for an alternative to drugs or having to see someone, had a do-it-yourself option for musculoskeletal related pain and tension.

In June of 2016, I launched the Kinessage® Release Your Pain Self-Care System, a virtual system that can be used by individuals or to which companies can subscribe to their employees. I also conduct live Kinessage® training for companies that can be done separately or in conjunction with the System.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Goodness, I have yet to meet an entrepreneur who has had a smooth road! This has been a progressive 17-year journey of building four different kinds of businesses from scratch – a massage therapy practice, a continuing education seminar business, and then two different simultaneous models for Kinessage® Self-Care for business and the public. Corporate wellness is one arena, a virtual online self-care system for the public is quite another. For me, the biggest challenge through all of them is being ahead of the collective curve. When I first started teaching Kinessage® to massage therapists, using the nervous system to do the work instead of force was not the prevailing concept. Nine years later, there are several nervous system-based methods that have gained popularity.

In bringing Kinessage® to business and the public, the hurdle is again education of something beyond the norm. For decades people have been conditioned to believe that pain relief comes in a bottle or only through a professional’s hands. Traditional medical treatment in the U.S. for musculoskeletal disorders has been drugs (primarily opioids) and surgery. The fallout of the opioid epidemic that is just starting to be truly acknowledged, is opening peoples’ eyes to the heavy financial and societal costs of that road.

The challenge is to educate people about their own built-in pain relief system and their ability to self-activate it. It is possible to release pain and the underlying cause of most soft tissue musculoskeletal disorders and restore function by partnering with the body, instead of just treating symptoms with drugs and contending with their horrific side effects.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Kinessage – what should we know?
My business empowers people to live more easily and comfortably in their bodies so they can do what they love to do from increasing focus and productivity in your work day, to being able to enjoy workouts or play on the floor with your grand kids. I am known for making the body/mind easy and fun to understand, and engaging audiences in the discovery of how quickly their bodies release pain and increase mobility through kindness, movement, and self-loving touch.

I’m most proud that the method of self-care I developed for myself 17 years ago has evolved to serve therapists and is now being successfully used by the average person to clear their own musculoskeletal disorders. In contrast to the fatal effects of opioids, regular use of Kinessage® not only helps prevent reoccurrence and injury, it improves overall health and vitality.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Kinessage® would not be serving business and the public today without all the support I’ve had. Pam Field, RN, BSN, NCBTMB taught me myofascial release and got me started on teaching anatomy and kinesiology. My clients were my teachers in that I had to find new ways of approaching the body in order to relieve their conditions. Linda Hedquist, LMT, a wise and seasoned therapist in many modalities, helped me to convey to therapists what was innate to me. Roxanne Styles, one of my clients and steadfast supporter, became my videographer and produced my teaching videos. In addition to Pam Field, Carole Osborne, Ralph Stephens, and Ruth Werner were wonderful mentors and colleagues who gave me advice and helped me structure my teaching business.

Coming back into the corporate space after 17 years, I am blessed with amazing advocates in the world of Human Resources, Linde Harned of Peopleink and Shannon Teixteira of Pivot HR, have and continue to support Kinessage and its advancement. Dan Johnson of the Wellness Council of Arizona recently brought Kinessage LLC on as one of their preferred providers. I am grateful for forward-thinking business leaders like Mary Ann Sturm of Copperpoint Insurance Companies, who see the exponential value of providing their employees with preventive, holistic tools to get and stay healthy.

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Image Credit:
Elena Thorton

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