Up the Spine with the Align

by Gregg Emmel November 30, 2016

Up the Spine with the Align , Gregg Emmel, Culver City, California

I’m Gregg Emmel, the creator of Knotz Massage Tools. The current product line consists of three sculptural self massage tools that help you heal yourself and are available in Wood, Granite, and Resin. 


Knotz Massage Tools with Founder

1. The Align Self Massage Tool, the genesis of the Knotz product line, goes up the spine.

Knotz Massage Tools

2. The Turtle Self Massage Tool is a single point pressure.

The Turtle Self Food Massage Tool

3. The Muscle Self Massage Tool, is like a wedge and great for working on other people.

Muscle Self Back Massage Tool


Self-massage and self-healing is a choice and intuitive process. These self massage tools should be used carefully and at the consumer’s own risk. If in doubt about any pain, soreness, inflammation, lumps, bumps, bruises, osteoporosis, arthritis, sciatica, herniated discs, pinched nerves, or any other condition, consult your doctor or health practitioner.


Allow me explain about the Align Tool, along with my thoughts and inspirations of what it is and how the Align self neck massage tool came to be.

Here is how I have used the Align tool to clear my spine and realign my vertebra by myself. I have four herniated discs, two in the lower Lumbar Vertebrae at L3 and L4, and two in the upper Cervical Vertebrae at C3 and C4. Like many people, I simply lived with that pain for years -- doing physical therapy and relying on massage therapists to heal my body and feel better. The other option was surgery and fusing the vertebrae, which was not an option in my mind.  

I needed something to heal myself in those moments when I couldn’t have anyone else heal me.  Using knots of wood and organic wood shapes to lie on, I started working on my body, by myself and conceived of the Align self neck massage tool with two protrusions that would go up my spine clearing the path of pain. Align went from my mind to my hands, shaped in wood and used immediately on my back.

The Align self neck massage tool has two bumps on top, a curved bottom in one direction, giving the Align tool the ability to rock, and move perpendicular to that rocking direction, which makes the Align tool travel along that path in multiple configurations. As in "configurations," I mean the different ways the Align tool either moves and/or stays in place while in direct correlation to the User’s body moving and/or staying in place.

Align self neck massage tool

The Align tool and the User’s body move together over the floor or surface.  This back and forth ability of the Align tool to move, not move, and move with the body is achieved by the Align tool’s two protruded bumps acting as the fulcrum point. When the angle of attack or force of the User’s body- at the point of contact- comes from off-center and at varying angles to that fulcrum point and in conjunction with the curved bottom, it propels the Align tool along the Spinal column.

  1. The Align tool should be placed on a reasonably hard surface such as a rug on a hardwood floor.
  2. Wear a light t-shirt to help in the movement of the Align tool if you do not want to use oils.
  3. Breathing is extremely important to help move body knots out of the way and centering one’s mind.
  4. Drinking water before, during and after working out is also important to flush away toxins released from physical practices.

self back massage

Get a feel of the Align tool:  

  1. Facing up and laying on your back, place the Align tool at the base of your back by arching the back and using the gluts (buttocks), heels, elbows, shoulders and or head to raise the body.
  2. Gently lower down for a moment using your body to adjust the pressure on the contact points according to your condition and comfort level.
  3. You should be able to feel the Align tool nestle the vertebra from both sides of the spine.
  4. Sense what is happening with the Align tool and where the Align tool is located around the vertebra, you should feel if it is right or not, only you can truly feel your body and what is happening with it.
  5. When you are ready to clear the spine, starting at the lower back, arched over the Align tool gently lower down, move the Align tool with your forefinger and thumb, and feel the Align tool cradle your spine.
  6. Breathe into the feeling. Inhaling and exhaling with gentle downward pressure, adjusting ones position with heels and elbows, push and slide up, holding the Align tool a little bit, going all the way down to the base of your spine.
  7. Slide over the Align tool, pushing, sliding, push, slide, push the Align tool from the Lumbar spine to the Thoracic spine with the body moving over the Align tool and then the Align tool moving along the spine while the body stays still.
  8. Take a moment to feel the Align tool and your body. Reposition if necessary, then using ones heels and body to push the Align tool along the Thoracic spine.
  9. With the Align tool once again staying in place with the body moving over the Align tool, then with a slight change in the angle of attack to the Align tool the body stays in place as the Align tool is propelled, up past the shoulder blades to your Cervical vertebra.
  10. You can take the Align tool in your hands completing the final Cervical vertebra of the neck to the base of the skull holding the Align self massage tool and breathing, releasing tension.

Some times I put the Align self massage tool on a paperback or yoga block and just lie there with the Align tool fully supporting my skull for a couple of minutes. In a final move that elongates the spine and aligns the vertebra, support the back of the neck with interlocking fingers and gently stretch into your body pointing toes up and out and head toward the chest. You may literally hear vertebrae realign themselves during this stretching exercise while feeling tension leave the body.

Take a moment to relax, feel your body parts, let go of the pain. Find your spots and rest when you want. It is your practice.  Using the Align tool to go up your spine is a push and slide technique and a process of adjustment and repositioning if necessary.  When you hit a spot, easy up or stay with it, go deeper if you want. 

Remember to breathe, and be aware of your body, visualizing the vertebra getting cleared away and releasing tension. Aligning my back is second nature to me and it is something I do all the time when needed. It may take several attempts with stretching and meditation to have my body realign its self. When Knotz releases the tension, I feel great.

Another practice is to simply lie on the Align self massage tool in different places of your body adjusting manually by lifting up your body and moving the Align tool with your hands and gently lowering on the Align tool to feel your body.

self massage techniques

I had a women rip her shoes off and step on the Align Tool massaging her heel and the sole of her foot at the same time, working reflexology right there at the dinner party. There is no one-way to heal, so explore and release the pain. Soon you’ll be noticing other areas of your body that need attention, so use any Knotz Self Massage Tool to massage your body or just lay on it. 

Self massage techniques are smooth strokes, establishing a contact between the energy with-in the body and the energy congestions of the pain, with Knotz Massage Tools that connection can push the pain down, up, over and out of the body.

For A Detailed Demonstration of how to use our  Knotz Self Massage Tool  Click Here 


Gregg Emmel
Gregg Emmel


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