Manual Lymph Drainage

Manual Lymph Drainage at Well Within?


Yes! Naomi has begun training in Manual Lymph Drainage and will be fully certified in April.

Manual Lymph Drainage: What is it?

First let’s discuss the lymphatic system. (Know all this already? Skip to the bottom for a description of Manual Lymph Drainage)

What does it do? Simplified, the lymphatic system protects our bodies from infection and disease.

How does it work? The lymphatic system is comprised of vessels just like the cardiovascular system. However, there are some important differences. The cardiovascular system has the heart to pump the blood through the vessels. The lymphatic system has no pump. The cardiovascular system is closed; the lymphatic system is open. The lymphatic vessels are also much smaller. They are about the size of a hair. These vessels are transparent and embedded in the skin.

When our blood flows through the cardiovascular system, about 80-90% of that fluid returns to the heart. The remaining 10% leaves the blood vessels and enters the space (interstitium) between tissue (muscles, skin, organs). The lymphatic vessels pick up fluid (now called lymph) from the interstitium. The lymph is brought to lymph nodes where it is filtered and returned to the blood stream.

How does it protect us? During filtration in the lymph nodes (of which we have about 600-700 around the body), the immune response is activated to combat things such as allergens – dust, dirt, fungal spores – things that entered through inhalation, digestion or injury.

If there is no pump, how does the lymph move through the vessels?

Increased Muscle Contraction (exercise)
Increased Respiration (deep belly breathing)
Increased Arterial Pulsation
Gut Action or Peristalsis (digestion)
Manual Lymph Drainage

Who could benefit from Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD)? Everyone can benefit from MLD as it stimulates the immune system. This can help with things such as fighting colds (as long as there is no fever) and detoxing. There are also times when our bodies may not be in optimal health and the first 4 items above are not sufficiently moving the lymph. This is when MLD may help in getting the body back on track.

Conditions that can benefit from MLD are:

Pregnancy (swelling in the legs and feet)
Orthopedic traumas, surgeries, wounds that need healing
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Lyme Disease
Venous Insufficiency
Dermatological Conditions: Acne, Scars, Cellulite, Stretch Marks

What can I expect in a Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) Session? MLD is a very light modality that addresses the superficial lymphatic system. As these vessels are embedded in the skin, the pressure is only enough to lightly stretch the skin. The stretches are slow and mechanical to aid the absorption of fluid into the lymph vessels.

MLD can be combined with massage therapy or used alone. Dependent on the client and their case, they may start with just 20 minutes of MLD and work up to more so as to not overload the system too quickly. This is especially important in conditions such as Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome where the client may feel sluggish for 1-2 days post treatment.

Stay tuned for more information coming soon about booking a Manual Lymph Drainage session at Well Within!

Centre Street Food Pantry

Acupuncture and Depression

Acupuncture and Depression

Did you know that depression is commonly treated using acupuncture? Did you know there are points on the limbs, head, ears and back that specifically treat emotions?

When someone comes in with a main complaint of depression, it is important for the acupuncturist to understand how depression manifests for the individual. Since every person is different, YOUR experience will likely be different from someone else’s.  This is where acupuncture can be extremely helpful. We can custom tailor the treatment to YOU! Are your symptoms primarily emotional or do you also get pain, ten-sion, insomnia, digestive upset? Are your emotional tendencies towards sadness, grief, weeping, anger, fear, all of the above? How long have you been depressed? What, if anything, caused your depression? Getting to understand YOUR individual struggle can better help us select your Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) pattern diagnosis and together we can put together a plan to get you on track to living more fully.

From a TCM perspective, there are a handful of patterns that can lead to depression. Treating the suspected pattern will, in time, bring your body back into proper balance and emotional stability. Acupuncture can help people reduce their dependency on medications and also help combat the negative side effects that medication can potentially bring on.

Acupuncture combined with other complementary therapies can be a great option for those who want to explore the more natural approach to the treatment of depression. It can also be a wonderful adjunct to standard care. To find out how acupuncture can help you on your journey, contact us.

Wyndmere Naturals Essential Oils

Wyndmere Naturals

For years, Laura and I have used Wyndmere Naturals essential oils both in massage treatments as well as in our own homes.  Admittedly, Laura was the first to discover them and, when we both had private practices in the same office, I would ‘borrow’ a drop or two of her oils to use in my treatments….I just loved the way they smelled and the way they made me feel!

We both share a ‘most favorite’ blend – Joyful Spirit – and when we created Well Within we both agreed that we would always diffuse this blend in our waiting area.  With bright notes of citrus and a whisper of floral ylang-ylang, Joyful Spirit delivers on its name…it just makes you happy!  Clients ALWAYS comment on how good Well Within smells and how calm and soothed they feel in our space.  We know that these oils play a part in this feeling.

There are many essential oil brands out there but we stick with Wyndmere Naturals because of the purity of their oils and their unending commitment to quality.

From Wyndmere Naturals: “Essential oil quality begins with the plant itself.  Plants that are thriving in their native habitat, harvested under the proper conditions and extracted by talented and capable distillers will produce the highest quality essential oil.  Wyndmere purchases essential oils extracted from plants that are indigenous and grown organically, ethically wildcrafted or pesticide free.  The oils are purchased frequently to ensure freshness and bottled in small batches so they don’t sit on the shelf for long periods of time before being sold to you.  Wyndmere does not test any of its products on animals, nor do the products contain any animal ingredients.”

Next time you’re in the office, ask your therapist to include one of Wyndmere Natural’s Synergistic Blends in your massage treatment at no extra charge to you.  You can also purchase a bottle for yourself to bring home if you’d like!



Pediatric Massage for the Child Athlete

Massage for the Child Athlete

Pediatric Massage: Support Your Child Athlete

By: Joy Dua, LMT, CIMT, CPMT

A child who participates in physical activities like swimming, ballet, gymnastics or soccer can receive many benefits from pediatric massage. Although most children can naturally perform sports with ease their bodies may experience muscle tightness, pain, limited range of motion or stress.

Why Pediatric Massage?

Massage for the Child Athlete Research has shown that massage therapy can ease physical discomforts in the body. Studies conducted by the Touch Research Institute of Miami show that massage can alleviate pain, muscle aches and anxiety in pediatric clients. This therapy also provides relaxation, reduction of stress hormones, increased sleep and better focus.

Pediatric Massage vs. Adult Massage

What is the difference between pediatric massage and adult massage? Children’s bodies are constantly developing throughout ages 0-18 years old. School-aged children have less developed soft tissue, muscle and bones than an adult’s body. A pediatric massage session will be slower paced with shorter sessions. The pressure is lighter to accommodate the growing body and draping is more conservative to ensure trust and respect.

With pediatric massage we can help our child athlete reach their fullest potential. We comfort pains, aid in restful sleep, decrease potential injury and help them focus and relax. When choosing a professional, be sure they are a licensed massage therapist trained in pediatric massage.

Call us with questions and to schedule pediatric massage for you child at 617-209-9355!

Joy Dua

Joy is a licensed massage therapist extensively trained in pediatric massage.  Her massage sessions benefit school-aged children to manage stress, increase sports performance and relax ADHD symptoms.  She is dedicated to promoting family health & wellness through massage therapy.  Read more about Joy HERE.

Yoga in the Park is Back!

Yoga in the Park

Take yoga, to the whim of Well Within’s energizing yoga teacher Jill, sprinkle in some sunlight and shady trees, add some fresh air, a soft patch of grass and you have Yoga in the Park! This is a fun opportunity to bring your yoga practice into the outdoors and enjoy the beauty of Newton. Grab your friends (newbies, super yogis and everyone in between), wear comfortable clothing and sunglasses and come help us keep the good vibes flowing through our neighborhood.

This event is BYOM (Bring your own mat.)

Where:  Wellington Park – 98 Kilburn Rd, Newton, MA
Wednesday, July 23rd at 7am
Wednesday, August 13th at 7am
Cost: $5 suggested donation (all proceeds donated to the John M. Barry Boys and Girls Club of Newton)

*Please note:  Yoga in the Park will be cancelled in the event of rain.  Please check our Facebook page the day of to confirm.

Register your spot today!

Register: July 23, 2014
Register: Aug 13, 2014

10 Things Learned in 10 Years

TenThings Learned In

10 circle

Years of Being a Massage Therapist

by Celeste Woodside, LMT

This June, I celebrate my 10th year of being a licensed massage therapist. In this time I have performed literally thousands of massage treatments. I have been an employee, owned a private practice and now have co-owned Well Within and employed other therapists for the past 4 years. This experience has certainly taught me a thing or two about bodies, the people inside the bodies, massage as an industry and most of all, a lot about myself.

Here are just 10 (of the many) things I have learned in this time and want you to know:

10) Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. Some clients think that if massage doesn’t hurt than its not effective. I am here to tell you that is simply not true. There is a fundamental difference between intensity and true pain. Good communication between therapist and client is the key to effective massage treatment.

9) On the subject of good communication. I promise you won’t hurt my feelings if you tell me to change something I’m doing. I WANT you to tell me if you need less pressure, more pressure, more lotion, quieter music, an extra blanket, less light, etc. So often clients grit their teeth in the face cradle when pressure is too deep or feel shy asking for extra work on their feet….this is YOUR time and I want it to be perfect for you. Speak up!

8) The industry of massage still has a lot to prove. Old stereotypes about our profession still exist and leave us vulnerable.

7) The work massage therapists do is calming and grounding and therapeutic….for us almost as much as for you. Being in the moment with a client with intent to calm and ground and heal has the uncanny side-effect of making us feel all those things too. This is one of my favorite things about my job.

6) Make no apologies…not for your unshaven legs, your dimply thighs, your chipped toenail polish, your rumbly belly, your pimples or your saggy skin. After many, many massages I have seen all kinds of bodies. Women–you are especially apologetic. I know that you are working hard, have little time, are caring for others and are doing the best you can. Your body is amazing. I am here to help you care for and love it…make no apologies to me!

5) Yes, its ok to fart. No really, I don’t mind.

4) We do not like to be called masseuses or masseurs and no, we do not work in a massage parlor. We are proud to be licensed massage therapists who work in clinics, wellness centers, integrated healthcare facilities and hospitals.

3) My clients care about me too! Some clients have seen me weekly, bimonthly, monthly or every now and then for years. A handful of these clients have seen me throughout the development of my career and have watched me grow from student to employee to business owner. They have let me continue to be their therapist through 2 pregnancies and continue to ask about the day to day life of my family. I have developed real friendships through this work that I truly treasure.

2) I take pride in sending my clients back out into the world a better version of themselves. Life can be stressful…this stress brings clients to my table. Sometimes a client may arrive stressed or angry or frustrated or sad and most commonly…in pain. I often get to be the one to turn the tables and send these same clients out of our doors relaxed, calm, centered, happy and, most often, relieved from pain. This is when this work is most satisfying.

1) I am ALWAYS learning. This has been the key secret to my success as a massage therapist. I never claim to have it all figured out or be the ultimate expert. Each day I am facing new challenges and revising how I think in an effort to always be a better therapist and do better work. 10 years from now I’ll have a list of 10 (at least!) new things I will have learned and I look forward to learning them.

Celeste WoodsideCeleste is co-owner of Well Within – Massage and Integrated Health in Newton, MA.  Read more about her HERE.

Seasonal Allergy Relief

allergy image

If you are suffering from seasonal allergies and medication just isn’t cutting it, we have some treatments that can help!

Sinus Drainage Treatment with manual lymph drainage and craniosacral therapy – 30 mins $50
Allergy Relief Acupuncture treatment – 30 mins $50

Our own Naomi Neustadt, LMT describes her Sinus Drainage Treatment and how it brings relief to those suffering from allergies:

“If you are like me, you may be suffering right now from itchy eyes, runny nose and maybe even a sinus headache. It can really put a damper on whatever newest beautiful flora is beginning to bloom. We have waited so many months for the sun to shine and get back outside and now getting outside may actually make us feel tired and run down.

Let’s back up for a moment….what are the sinuses? And what do they have to do with seasonal allergies?

A sinus is a hollow space or cavity. There are four pairs of sinuses in our skull that open up into the nose (they are called the paranasal sinuses). Like the nasal cavity, the sinuses secrete mucus. Some mucus is a normal function of the nose and sinuses, it helps keep the cavities moist and flushes out any foreign particles that we may inhale.

Allergies can cause the sinuses to become inflamed, which in turn causes an increase in mucus secretions. The increased mucus can cause air to become trapped in the sinus cavities and passageways. If the sinuses become so swollen and clogged that air cannot enter, we get symptoms we often describe as a sinus headache.

So the big question remains, HOW DO I FEEL BETTER?

One thing most of us understand is that drainage is key. There are many suggestions on how to achieve this relief.  I have had great success working with clients who suffer from seasonal allergies and chronic sinusitis. This specialized treatment includes a unique combination of basic manual lymph drainage of the neck, myofascial release techniques and craniosacral therapy focused on the sinuses and nasal passageways.

Here is what you can expect when you book this treatment:

During this treatment you will lay face up. Naomi will begin with gentle craniosacral techniques at the clavicle and head. Next the very soft, yet effective manual lymph drainage will start at the base of your neck and methodically move to your jaw and ear. Now that your body is relaxed and the lymph has been encouraged to drain in your neck, the focus will begin on the paranasal sinuses using craniosacral techniques to release the pressure on these cranial bones.”

The treatment takes 30 minutes. It can be booked on its own ($50) or added on to a massage therapy session ($40).

Call or Book Online now!

Learn more about Naomi and her work here.



Amour with a capital A(cupuncture)….

Acupuncture for Love

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine are all about gently encouraging the body to return to a state of harmonious energetic balance of Yin and Yang. Yin and Yang also pertain to the masculine and feminine aspects of our individual natures; as well as the duality and balance that exists in all romantic relationships.

For Valentine’s Day (or for any day!), it is a great idea to improve the balance and harmony and free flow of Qi, pronounced “Chi” (which basically means vital energy).

In addition, for Romance with a capital R, we need ENERGY, and we need to FEEL WELL.

Sexual interest and response suffers when our bodies are not in balance, or we are fatigued or just not feeling well. “Not tonight, dear. I have a headache!”

A thoughtful gift for your Sweetie could be a series of acupuncture treatments to help him or her to regain that sense of balance and wellness that has gone by the wayside due to life’s obligations and stresses.

All Gift Certificates at Well Within are 10% off through 2/28/14!  Buy one for your loved one HERE!

Exploration of Fascia

Exploration of Fascia
by Ashleigh Howland, LMT

Myofascial Release

When we were taught about the fascial system in massage school, our instructors enthusiastically explained that fascia was a connected web throughout the whole body, a substance the consistency of egg-whites that has a tendency of getting stuck in places. Causes of it sticking were immobility, guarding from injury, chronic overuse, dehydration, cold, and so forth. By releasing these stuck areas, we could create miracles! You could relieve a headache by working on the feet! We could release elbow tension by working the opposite shoulder! We could help the plantar fasciitis in the left foot by working up the left leg, crossing to the right glutes, and up into the right shoulder. We were taught that fascia was sort of a new discovery, something that was originally cut away and discarded as useless in the early days of body exploration, when entrepreneurial anatomists dug up bodies in their quest for knowledge. Fascia, it seemed, was the part of the body to understand the most clearly, as it was the key to better helping our clients.

I tried to get excited about fascia.I let my hand sit on my practice partner’s back for what seemed like eons, visualizing my healing power sinking down into the layers of dermis, fascia, muscle, and impacting the fascia that wove into the very bones. I tried to get the right level of “stickiness” where I could lift my hand, my partner’s skin would have warmed up to the point where it came with me, and then I could glide, without emollient, down the fascial line, releasing trigger points and adhesion as I went. I tried to note the changes in breathing as I worked the fascial restrictions through the ribs. Once, when I was having my own hamstrings worked on, I felt this incredible fluttering in my muscles as the tissue resisted release and then let go. I felt the woozy, almost intoxicated effect of the post-fascial session, when the body tries to acclimate to the new freedom you’ve created. But overall, I was underwhelmed. I just didn’t get it.

I happily continued massaging, forgetting about the glory of fascial work. I used Swedish strokes, long and slow, to increase circulation and relax muscles. I employed deep tissue tools, an elbow in the glutes, a forearm up the ITband, heel of the hand kneading the gastroc. I gave great massages, and I gave decent massages. My clients were happy, relaxed, and loose of muscle. All was well.

Then, in June of this year, I had a couple of different massages with colleagues who focused very much on fascial release. I sort of huffed to myself, convinced this would be a waste of my time when I could have been getting a good elbow through the shoulder.

The first massage was excruciating: I breathed deeply; I asked for less pressure, slower work; I wiggled and giggled and tried not to kick my therapist. I got off the table completely disoriented, and the next day, every bump I drove over sent shocks of pain into my paraspinal muscles. I felt like my nerves were raw and exposed. It was terrible, and my main issue, a sticky right hip, was no better.

The second massage was just 30 minutes between clients with a Well Within colleague (Mary!!). Her approach was slow. steady, and patient. She began with gentle palpation of the area to determine where the fascia was most restricted, and when she found an area with adhesion, she waited. And waited. And then began to move, ever so slowly. I felt little at first, and then warmth, like blood flow was returning to a parched area. There was some intensity, bordering on the edge of my comfort zone, as she worked closer to my sacroiliac joint and greater trochanter in the right hip, but when those moments passed, I felt looser. When I stood up, I felt freer than I had in months. It lasted a day or two, until I drove to the Cape and back, and then the tissue got stuck again. But over the next few weeks and months, as I continued to foam roll, receive both fascial and muscular work, stretch, and hydrate, the sticky hip resolved.

With myself as a test body, I began to explore this fascial situation once again, and then with clients. This time around, for an unbeknownst reason, I got it. I could feel the softening of tissue under my hands. I could feel and see the twitch of skin as the fascia below reacted to stretching. When my hands pass over the posterior ribs, I feel the rib cage expanding, feel the muscles working, and to me, it’s truly freedom blossoming beneath my hands. I have grown to understand that rock solid hamstrings will bend if I pin the fascia in the glutes with one hand, and hold and rotate the lower leg with the other, working my way down until I’m pinning just behind the knee. I’ve felt the quadricep attachments at the knee expand as I sink into the tissue and then begin to stretch. Sometimes it’s a long movement, such as down the erectors on either side of the spine; it can take anywhere from 3-5 minutes for one stroke, depending on how stuck the tissue is. Or I can use shorter, quicker friction to break up restrictions, such as the plantar fascia on the bottom of the feet.

It’s rare now that I don’t use fascial work in my treatments, at least as a palpation tool to indicate where the body is holding restrictions and stuck points. If a client truly wants to just unwind, I will not include fascial release; it’s absolutely effective, but not always relaxing. Feedbacks from clients is of the utmost importance, as is my listening to verbal and silent cues. I need to know, and to intuit, when enough is enough; fascial work can be very intense, and since I immensely enjoy using it as a technique and seeing its results, I have to be careful not to overwhelm my client. This is what happened to me in that first massage. Initially, the work was interesting; then it got uncomfortable; then my body began to activate its fight or flight response. As soon as that triggered, I was tensing and guarding while my therapist continued to push, quickly, through unwilling tissue. Yikes!

What I perhaps love the most about fascial work is that, for my die-hard deep tissue clients, it not only qualifies as “deepest tissue” since fascia blends into the bone; but it allows me to warm up the muscles and sink through even more layers of tissue. Once the fascial restrictions in and around a muscle have broken up, even a little, the muscle itself also begins to let go, which means I can manipulate it just that little bit extra. It’s easier on me than just digging in with my elbow and body weight; and much more effective for the client. For this reason, myofascial release works wonderfully with pregnant women, runners, desk jockeys, weekend warriors, cyclists, yogis, equestrians, teenagers, geriatrics, CrossFit fans, couch potatoes… Pretty much everyone!!

For an awesome and current article on fascia, check out this Runner’s World link:

Learn more about Ashleigh and her work HERE.

Ashleigh Howland