By: Jodelle Greiner, The Brookings Register

It took Diane Kinney a while to answer her calling in life, but now she’s totally embraced it.

“It’s important in our stressful world … to treat yourself to a massage, too, so you can get rid of your stress and relax,” Kinney said.

She recently opened her business Health Through Massage in a new location: The Farmstead in White.

When Dedicated Investment Group of Brookings announced it had acquired the old White Care Center building, re-named it The Farmstead, and said they’d be open April 17, Kinney took notice.

“That’s my birthday,” she said.

She attended the open house for the “wall-breaking” in December 2017 and “that was what really finalized it,” Kinney said.

She talked to Randy Hanson, managing member of DIG, about the office space that was available and “how ideal it would be for me,” Kinney said. “It just looked like a perfect place to be.”

“I live in White … and I want to work here,” Kinney said.

A long-time calling

Kinney was introduced to massage therapy by her grandmother.

“She was a reflexologist. They called her a toe tickler back in the day, in the 60s,” Kinney said.

She grew up watching how her grandma healed others.

“When she got sick in 1980, she taught me how to do it, the treatments, and said I had healing hands,” Kinney recalled.

Kinney got married and raised a family, then earned an associates degree in occupational therapy at North Dakota State College of Science.

“That brought me to Brookings to work at the hospital with occupational therapy,” Kinney said.

She concentrated on daily living skills, working with the hand therapist while she was there. Her boss was Terri Sellers.

“We did a lot of treatments and different kinds of massages. She taught me a lot on how to do different treatments,” Kinney said.

She kept up her continuing education credits and also did chair massages at health fairs before her life took a turn.

Back to her roots

Kinney was brought back to her roots when she fell off a horse in 2004 and fractured the T12 vertebrae in her back and needed treatment herself.

“I couldn’t walk without extra devices, like a cane, for three months,” she said.

Barely able to walk, she couldn’t do her job.

“In my OT world, you have to get up and down off the floor all the time. It just didn’t work, so I couldn’t go back to work for three months. Then when I did, I just did light work,” she said.

It prompted her to assess her life’s calling.

“I thought this is a perfect opportunity to do this – what I was really told to do at 20 years old,” she said. “At 20 years old, my grandma told me, ‘you have healing hands, you should be doing this,’ so I waited until I was 43.”

She went back to school, graduating in December 2005 with a massage degree from Sioux Falls Therapy Health and Massage Education Center.

Her teacher focused on reflexology and she’s done continuing education in that area, too.

“At school, I felt like the massage really healed because we would work on each other and clients. That’s how we learned, hands-on that way at school,” Kinney said.

She found The Exercise Place in Volga owned by Tim Nelson and started Health Through Massage in the back.

“I had my office space there up ‘til April of this year,” Kinney said.

She also worked at Edgewood Vista doing home health/hospice through the Brookings Health System.


Kinney is settling in nicely at her new office space, 200 Patrick Avenue, Suite 115, on the north side of the building. A big blue foot sits outside her door, marking the entrance to her suite.

She’s getting new clients, plus her established ones have followed her to White, “even from Volga,” Kinney said.

She likes the amenities in The Farmstead, like the internet service and the laundromat, so she doesn’t have to take her laundry out, especially in the winter.

To better serve her customers, Kinney got to customize her office with extra electrical outlets and other features.

“I got to pick out the flooring. I did not want carpet in here (due to the oils used),” Kinney said.

She was allowed to paint the walls whatever color she wanted.

“They were gray, so I painted green, more relaxation,” Kinney said.

She uses aromatherapy to help her clients relax and kinesio taping to support muscles and blood flow.

Since she lives in town, if a client calls and wants a short-notice appointment, she can come right over, except on Wednesday afternoons. That’s when she’s at Edgewood Vista in Brookings, helping in the dementia unit.

“They won’t let me leave,” she said with a laugh.

Kinney still works other places, like Canyon Ranch Trail Rides, with her mom, Karen Borgen and daughter, Jessica Nelson.

“A lot of the trail riders like massages,” Kinney said.

She still does massages for the Brookings Area Quilters retreat three times a year – “It’s been a fun time,” she said.

Important benefits

Massage is important to Kinney because she sees what it does for people.

“It helps to relieve their stress level, builds endorphins to make them happy; it releases blood flow and helps the nerve endings so they have less pain,” she said.

“After a massage, they feel like they’re alive more, less pain. There’s a lot of benefits,” she added.

Kinney feels called to continue to help people through massage.

“It’s a passion. My hands are healing, I believe God has given me this. Through God, he has brought me here to help heal others and help them to stay well,” Kinney said.


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