Holistic Massage School Shares: How Bad Posture Affects Over-all Health and How to Correct It!

If you were to ask a room full of Certified Massage Therapists what the most frequent complaint among massage clients is, your answer would be unanimous; pain, tightness, and restricted motion in the neck shoulders and upper back.  Why does this happen to so many massage clients regardless of their size, shape, age, occupation, or activity level?   The answer, according to Paula Curtiss, Founding Director of Healing Hands School of Holistic Health, is “a client’s habitual posturing”.    In other words, the reason so many people experience neck and shoulder strain/pain is because they have unknowingly adopted “bad” postural habits, like slouching, when standing or sitting, not realizing they are causing their own pain.posture

What massage therapists see most often is a client’s slouched posture forcing their head forward straining their neck muscles, destabilizes the shoulder blades and distorting spine- alignment.  Spinal mis-alignment then strains back muscles and can potentially affect internal organs as well as breathing.  In fact scientific research supports the fact that for each inch your head leans forward off its supporting structure- the neck, the force needed to support its weight increases by ten pounds.  At 3 inches forward (as in the example), the average 10 pound head feels like 30 pounds (Citation: Cailliet). 

“The good news,” say’s Paula Curtiss, “even chronic, long-standing postural issues can be greatly improved and often completely corrected with the help of a knowledgeable massage therapist and the conscious practice of perfect posturing.  Even a few months of diligent attention to posture along with corrective bodywork can profoundly benefit your body long term.  Some of these benefits include: diminished back, shoulder and neck pain and fatigue; a reduction in the frequency and severity of tension headaches; a more open chest cavity that allows for deeper, better breathing and oxygenation of muscles and body tissues;  enhanced digestion & elimination, and an over-all increase in energy and feelings of wellbeing.  Best of all, perfect posture can improve anyone’s appearance as it optimizes height and reduces the ‘pot-belly’ look that occurs when we round our shoulders and sink into a slouching position”, she continued.

To understand how your body might be out of balance, you need to understand the characteristics of a balanced body structure.  A quick way to “feel” perfect posture is to stand against a wall with your feet just a few inches out. Now, allow your head, shoulder blades and butt to rest gently against the wall.  Adjust your hands to fall to your sides and position your feet so they are pointing directly ahead.   If you’re like most people, perfect posture feels uncomfortable and foreign at first.  With practice, however, it becomes easier to achieve and maintain. 

We have many classes training a Massage Therapist to specifically work with a clients body posture, including: Deep Tissue Manipulation, Myofascial Meridians for Pain Release, Structural Integration, Somatics, Therapeutic Mobilization, Therapeutic Stretching, and Yoga Therapy.  To find out more about Massage Therapies for the Upper Body, or any of the other 80+ Massage and Holistic Health classes offered at Healing Hands School of Holistic Health, please visit us on-line at www.HealingHandsSchool.com, or call (949) 305-2722 / Laguna Hills or (760) 746-9364 / Escondido.

DIY Pad Thai Recipe From your favorite Massage School, Healing Hands


There’s nothing better than making your own delicous Thai food at home.  So here is a delicous & healthy recipe for the standard, go-to dish in Thai cusine.

Pad Thai


8 oz of rice noodles

6 oz of chicken filet (thinly sliced)

4 oz of raw shrimp (shelled &  deveined & chopped)

2 fresh red chilies (seeded & chopped)

2 garlic cloves (chopped)

8 fresh chives

3 eggs (beaten)

¾ cup unsalted peanuts (toasted and chopped)

¾ cup of bean sprouts

4 Tbsp fresh cilantro, (chopped with a little extra to garnish)

2 Tbsp peanuit oil

2 tsp brown sugar

2 Tbsp Thai fish sauce

1 lime (juiced)




Soak noodles in a bowl of hot water for 10 minutes (or per package directions) then drain and set aside.

Add oil to a preheated wok over high heat.

Add garlic, chili and chicken and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes

Add shrimp to mixture and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes

Add chives and noodles to wok, cover and cook for 1-2 minutes

Add the fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and eggs.

Cook egg mixture until eggs are just set

Stir in the bean sprouts, cilantro, and peanuts until heated (1-2 minutes)

Garnish with cilantro leaves and chopped peanuts

Holistic Massage School Newsletter – Summer 2015

Hello Healers,

Summer of 2015 finds Massage Therapy more integrated in the American experience than ever before. The Healing Hands School clinics see more clients each week. During our On-Site Therapy course we visited 5 different facilities which are ready for our student interns. Our job placement board has more jobs posted than our graduates can fill. At Healing Hands School, we are so happy that we can teach very practical hands on skills, and yet stay true to our lineage of holistic health. Each staff member, teachers, and student adviser is a healer. We are dedicated to continuing our mission of bringing a comprehensive experience of holistic health to all our students. 

This Summer, we have a new class in our elective line-up: James Beard’s Introduction to Breathwork. James teaches several breathwork techniques which can be integrated into your massage practice. James teaches how to use the breath as a healing tool. In Laguna Hills, Shana Lipner’s Herbal Studies course is condensed to twice a week, and we welcome Shannon Gonzales back from her maternity focus to once again bring us her Energywork for Bodyworkers. In Escondido, Claudia Baben and Jennifer Peterson will teach LomiLomi Hawaiian Massage. Jennifer Johnson, owner of the Hideaway Spa at the Marriott, will teach Massage as a Business.

Please celebrate with us as we congratulate our latest Holistic Health Practitioner graduates: Justyne Carnes, Angela Carnes, Gabriella Davis, Gina Ferrera, Brittany Huggins, Jessica Kolleda Osborn, Dawn McCadden, Anneka Preston, Moises Reynoso, Wendy Taylor, Robert Thomas II. You are a beautiful and unique group of diverse healers comprised of 2 new parents, a professional drummer, a bicyclist therapist, and a U.S. Marine veteran. You came to Healing Hands with open minds and strong convictions. It has been wonderful to work with each of you. We are truly excited to hear how your healing path will unfold before you. Good work awaits your healing hands.

With the warmth of Summer ripening around us, we wish all peace and health,

Paula & Neha
All of us at Healing Hands

Summer 2015 schedule: http://healinghandsschool.com/schedule-massage-therapy.php

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Holistic Massage School offers Trigger Point Therapy Course to Combat Muscle Pain

Trigger points (TPs), also known as trigger sites, or muscle knots, are hyperirritable spots in the connective tissue (fascia) that attaches, surrounds and separates muscles and internal organs throughout the body. TPs are caused by a small micro-spasms (misfiring) in the muscle that creates knots in tight bands of muscle fibers. These knots prevent oxygen from reaching the muscle and may cause toxic substances to build-up, resulting in pain, stiffness and a limited range of motion. 

There are more than 620 potential TPs in the human body. These major and minor trigger points show up in the same places in every body.  Most trigger points remain inactive and don’t cause any problems.  Conversely however, when activated, TPs can be a signification source of chronic pain and negatively affect ones flexibility and ease of movement. shutterstock_130871246

Apart from pain, TPs may cause numbness, tingling, weakness, and a restriction in the range of movement for a body part. Depending on where TPs are located, they can also cause sinus congestion, dizziness, earaches, nausea, heartburn, and may result in depression if pain has become chronic.  Active TPs can negatively impact basic activities such as walking, standing, reaching, lifting, bending, sitting, as well as more complex tasks like driving, athletic performance or various leisure activities.

Activation of trigger points can happen for many different reasons.  These include: acute muscle overload, repetitive movements or chronic posturing (ie: holding the head forward while looking down to a cell phone or computer) trauma to a region, or a car crash which can cause multiple TPs instantly.  Other causes may include psychological stress, chronic inflammation, disease or other imbalances within the body system.

TPs are the basis of chronic muscle pain and when left untreated can wreak havoc in the body. Massage Therapists who learn to locate and release TPs, can help many people overcome the cause of long term (5-20 years) chronic pain issues.   That’s why Healing Hands School of Holistic Health (HHSHH) offers Trigger Point Therapy of the Lower Body – a 36 hour course, and Trigger Point Therapy  of the Upper Body – a 36 hours course, offered at both campuses (Escondido and Laguna Hills) to educate aspiring massage therapists on this important and proven bodywork modality. 

HHSHH’s Trigger Point Therapy course explores the many causes of trigger points and uses guided hands-on practice to teach students how to search for, reveal and identify Trigger Points in their own body as well as those of their clients. Students will learn and practice proven techniques to release trigger points can relieve the pain, stiffness and dysfunction they create.  The course empowers therapists to restore normal function to a muscle or group of muscles affected in their clients. It also provides an excellent self-care modality for massage therapists who wish to assure a long, pain-free career in massage therapy.

Trigger Point Therapy is a valuable skill that can be used to improve anyone’s quality of life, fitness level and over-all health and well-being.  To learn more about Trigger Point Therapy or any of the other 80+ Holistic Health courses offered at HHSHH please visit us on-line to www.HealingHandsSchool.com or call us at (949) 305-2722/Laguna Hills or (760)746-9364/Escondido.