Michelle Ebbin is a renowned expert in touch therapy and natural wellness. She’s an author, inventor, on-air personality, and mother of three. Since founding Basic Knead in 1994, Michelle has been committed to increasing awareness of the healing power of touch. Michelle appears regularly in the media, including The Dr. Oz Show, The Doctors, The View, and Home and Family, to discuss the benefits of touch and and teach touch therapy techniques to relieve stress, soothe the body and mind, and improve overall wellbeing. She’s the spokesperson for SOOTHE, the world’s largest and fastest-growing on demand massage service that’s now in over 50 major cities across the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia.
A graduate of Columbia University, Phillips Academy Andover, and the Institute of Psycho-Structural Balancing, Michelle has authored four books on massage, produced six award-winning massage DVD’s, and created best-selling massage products that have helped thousands of people discover the power of touch. She’s a Certified Infant Massage Instructor and member of the International Association of Infant Massage, American Massage Association, and Reflexology Association of America.
Michelle is on the Biller Center Advisory Board for City of Hope, a leading research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases, where she is helping to develop a massage program within their Biller Patient and Family Resource Center. Her goal is to make touch therapy available to all patients undergoing medical treatment, as well as to their caregivers and family members. She is also developing a program to make massage therapy available to doctors, nurses and all the medical staff. A portion of the proceeds of The Touch Remedy will go directly to City of Hope.
As a ballet dancer growing up and later in MTV music videos, I was always interested in new ways to keep my body strong and supple. During my freshman year at Columbia University, I took an acupressure workshop and started using natural, self-care techniques to stay healthy. My curiosity with touch grew when I experienced the healing effects of massage after a painful leg injury I suffered on a video shoot. Once I realized how powerful touch can be, I immersed in the world of massage therapy and learned everything I could about how touch, from reflexology and Swedish Massage to Rolfing, Cranial Sacral Therapy, and more. I was a total massage geek.
Initially, I founded Basic Knead as a Los Angeles-based massage therapy practice, consisting of private clients as well as movie studios and companies that brought massage therapists into their offices. Years later the company evolved when I created products to teach people about massage. I never had a real business plan. All I had was a sketch I made of reflexology points on the feet and a friend who owned a sock company. I printed the design on a pair of socks and gave a few pairs to my favorite clients. The next thing I knew, I received a call from an editor at InStyle Magazine. One of my clients had shown her my Reflexology Sox and she wanted to feature them in the next issue. A few months later, InStyle, Time, The New York Times and many other news outlets featured the Sox. I secured a national sales rep and within a year sold over 20,000 pairs. I then did what anyone would do: I maxed out all my credit cards to buy inventory and started selling Sox from my living room!
After the success of my Reflexology Sox, things started to fall into place. I had been modeling for a catalogue called Living Arts (which is now Gaiam) and they decided to expand their video production from mostly yoga videos to include a massage series. They asked me to work with them creating and hosting videos on reflexology, acupressure, baby massage, pregnancy massage, partner massage, and therapeutic touch. Around the same time, a literary agent friend in New York proposed the idea of writing an instructional book based on the success of my Reflexology Sox. Within a few months, I wrote a book proposal that she could shop to publishers and the next thing I knew, I was writing a book!
I have a new product idea at least once a day! But products are tough. My goal now is to build a platform from which I can educate people about the benefits of touch and inspire them to try touch remedies. If I come up with a super cool, unique product, I’ll consider getting back into product development. But right now I’m focused on promoting awareness of the power of touch therapy. I’m also excited about working with City of Hope to bring more massage therapists into hospitals to help people when they need touch the most. As part of City of Hope’s Biller Advocacy Team, I’ve been thinking about new ways to introduce touch therapy to people who may not be used to it but who could definitely benefit from it. For example, I’d like to teach simple bed-side techniques to soothe everything from nausea and anxiety to aches and pains. Everyone needs to learn these!
Michelle lives in Montecito, California with her husband, Luke Ebbin, and their three boys, Jackson, Cassidy, and Tanner. She loves yoga, plant-powered cooking, concocting natural body products, and sipping margaritas with her feet in the sand.