Holistic Massage School Discusses Treatment Alternatives for Anxiety /Depression Sufferers

“In his book, Healing Anxiety and Depression, Dr Amen identifies 7 different types of anxiety/depression, based on thousands of brain scans taken at his clinics” said Paula Curtiss, Founding Director for Healing Hands School of Holistic Health.  “Each type of anxiety may respond differently to different remedies, whether pharmaceutical or natural, so understanding the type of anxiety you’re dealing with is the first step to finding relief.  Fortunately, Dr. Amen has a questionnaire in his book that can be very useful in determining your anxiety type and starting an important conversation with your doctor about appropriate treatment”, she added.

Called the “feel good” brain chemical, Serotonin is a neurotransmitter associated with sleep, appetite and mood.  If Serotonin levels are too low, one might experience pessimism, depression, lack of appetite, irritability, anxiety, and irregular sleep patterns.  In cases where symptoms of anxiety are severe, your doctor may suggest a medication to boost Serotonin levels.  In cases where symptoms of anxiety are less severe, there are a variety of natural remedies that can substantially reduce or even diminish symptoms of anxiety all together.  

Pharmaceutical medications to treat anxiety include SSRIs (Selective Serotonin re-uptake Inhibitors) and Benzodiazepines, which increase GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) that has a calming and stabilizing effect on mood. Other medications include Tricyclic Anti-depressants, which are very effective in treating symptoms of anxiety disorder; MAO Inhibitors, which improve symptoms of anxiety with depression and; Beta-blockers, which can be used to reduce the fight or flight response usually associated with high stress levels.

Unfortunately, all pharmaceutical medications can incur some negative side effects.  These include minor effects like: dry mouth, stomach upsets, blurred vision, weight gain, memory problems, difficulty concentrating and drowsiness.  More severe side-effects may include: an increase in aggressive and/or suicidal thoughts as well as potentially fatal spikes or drops in blood pressure.  So, be sure to discuss all your anxiety symptoms with your physician and explore the pros and cons of each medication before deciding on a course of action.   

The good news…. there are a number of holistic practices one can enlist to help them boost Serotonin levels in the brain and relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression.  In addition to the biochemical benefits, taking action to help yourself feel better is empowering and goes a long way toward facilitating the healing process.  Natural remedies to reduce anxiety and depression include but are not limited to the following:  

Vitamin B6 –B6 taken as a supplement can help with GABA synthesis. GABA – (gamma-aminobutyric acid) occurs naturally in your brain, where it functions as a neurotransmitter and has an inhibitory function – it tends to slow down neuron firing.

Magnesium -is great as a muscle relaxant, and also has a calming effect. Low levels of magnesium are associated with a whole range of disorders, including high blood pressure, diabetes and thyroid imbalances as well as anxiety.

Theanine – Not only does theanine boost GABA (an inhibitory neurotransmitter), it also tones down some of the stimulating neurotransmitters that make you anxious. It also boosts Dopamine – which is one of the “feel good” neurotransmitters.

L-Tryptophan –  L Tryptophan is available as a supplement to boost serotonin levels. The recommended dose is 1000-3000 mg per day, taken on an empty stomach with a small amount of carbohydrate for best absorption.

5-HTP – 5 –HTP is another supplement that can increase your brain’s serotonin levels. The recommended dose is 50-10 mg for adults taken two to three times a day. Children would take half this recommended dosage.  Taken at night, 5-HTP can help you sleep better as well.

St. John’s Wort – an herbal remedy that can be effective in boosting serotonin levels more gently than prescribed medications.  The starting dose for adults is 600 mg taken 2-3 times per day.  Be sure to select one with a minimum of 0.3 percent of the active ingredient Hypericin.     

Diet/Nutrition – Most types of anxiety will respond well to a high protein low carbohydrate diet.  This is because protein will tend to boost dopamine and norepinephrine levels, which are low in some types of anxiety and depression (another reason knowing your anxiety type is important).    But people who have Type 4: Over-focused Anxiety/Depression, need to enhance their brain serotonin levels and may respond better to a high carbohydrate diet.

Exercise  –  Regular exercise is an excellent way to boost your serotonin levels, naturally and safely.  Exercise also boosts other feel good neurotransmitters such as dopamine and endorphins, so you’ll reap immediate benefits as well as long term benefits from your efforts.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – In essence, CBT involves identifying your dysfunctional thoughts and then challenging them, with questions such as: Realistically, what are the chances of that happening? And….What other ways are there of looking at this situation? 

Healing Hands School of Holistic Health (HHSHH) has been serving residents in Escondido and Laguna Hills for over 24 years.  To date, HHSHH’s staff of highly qualified Instructors have prepared more than 6,500 students for successful and rewarding careers as Massage Therapists and Holistic Health Practitioners.  To learn more about HHSHH or the 80 + classes offered, please visit us online at www.HealingHandsSchool.com or call us at (949) 305-2722 in Laguna Hills or (760) 746-9364 in Escondido.

Holistic School: Grapefruit Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

Holistic School: Grapefruit Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette
Print Recipe
A delicious crisp salad for the family to enjoy!
Servings Prep Time
4 people 20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 20 minutes
Holistic School: Grapefruit Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette
Print Recipe
A delicious crisp salad for the family to enjoy!
Servings Prep Time
4 people 20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 20 minutes
Servings: people
  1. • Place equal portions of lettuce on 4 plates • Top lettuce with Grapefruit sections and Radish slices • Sprinkle 1 oz. crumbled Feta cheese and ¼ of almonds onto each plate Dressing: • Place reserved grapefruit juice in small bowl • Add Olive Oil, Dijon Mustard, and Lemon juice and whisk until mixed • Add in Basil, Salt and Pepper and mix thoroughly – chill until ready to serve • Pour dressing over salad and Enjoy!
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Holistic Massage School Discusses Benefits of Yoga


Have you ever watched a dog as it wakes from a nap?  They usually will yawn, then stretch their front paws out in front of them Once they have stretched to their limit, they release the stretch then end it with a full body shake, before happily trotting off on their way.  It’s as if dogs instinctively know the benefits of stretching to relieve accumulated tension, align their spine and energize their bodies. 


“A well-rounded, daily practice of Yoga, can go a long way to relieve muscle and joint pain and stiffness caused by excess tension held in the body”, says Paula Curtiss, Founding Director for Healing Hands School of Holistic Health (HHSHH).  “In addition to improving circulation to the muscles; regular Yoga exercise helps you become stronger, more flexible and can enhance your over-all posture, ease of movement and mental clarity.  Because Yoga is such an important and effective self-care tool, we encourage all students to practice it regularly.  In fact, we include Yoga stretches as part of the warm-up exercises for many of our massage classes”, she added.

The word “yoga” comes from Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language and is considered an ancient Hindu spiritual discipline.  This spiritual science offers a direct means of stilling the natural turbulence of thoughts.  Yoga’s purpose is said to be “the uniting of the mind, body and spirit.

While there are many different versions of Yoga practiced today, most session will include breath control, simple meditation, and the performance of poses or postures, each of which has specific physical benefits.  Practiced regularly, Yoga’s been proven to enhance overall health by creating balance in the body and by inducing both physical and emotional relaxation.  Depending on the yoga tradition, the poses may be done in quick succession, creating heat in the body through movement; or, when done slowly they can increase strength, stamina and help to align the spine.

To find out more about Holistic Health or the 80+ Massage and Holistic Health classes offered at HHSHH, please visit us online at www.HealingHandsSchool.com  or call us at (949) 305-2722 in Laguna Hills or (760) 746-9364 in Escondido.

Delicious, Fat-Melting Smoothies – in Just Six Easy Steps?

informal taste test of HHSHH students’ most popular fruit and veggie smoothies revealed 1 ‘stand-out’ recipe among dozens. 

In most cases, the recipes Students suggested followed a similar recipe but ingredients varied depending on individual taste preferences.   The following 6 steps are provided as a Do-It-Yourself Smoothie Recipe with multiple options for add-ins.  Below the 6 step recipe is the Smoothie recipe students selected most for its great taste and heart healthy ingredients.

Do-it-Yourself Smoothie

1 – Choose a low calorie liquid such as: water, green tea, almond milk or coconut water

2 – Add 1 Scoop of Protein Powder to boost your metabolism and diminish hungersmoothmovehercules

3 – Add 1 cup of anti-oxidant rich fruit such as; Blackberries, Blueberries, Papaya, or Pineapple

4 – Add 1 cup of nutrient rich brightly colored vegetables like Zuccini, Spinach, Kale, or Yellow Squash

5 – Add 1 Tbsp. of Chia Seeds, peanut-butter or Avocado to burn fat and increase nutrient absorption 

6 – Sweeten with Stevia or Yacon Syrup and top with a fat-burning spice like Cinnamon, or Tumeric


HHSHH Student’s Pick – Chocolate and Chia Tummy Taming Smoothie

1 – In a blender, pour 1.5 cups of coconut water

2 – Add 1 scoop Chocolate Protein powder

3 – Add 1 cup of blackberries

4 – Add 1 cup of Zuccini

5 – Add 1 Tbsp each of Chia seeds, Cocoa Powder and Cinnamon

6 – Sweeten with Stevia, mix to desired consistency, top with a mint leaf and Enjoy!

Holistic Massage School Acknowledges American Heart Month

american heartmonth

This February, Paula Curtiss, Founding Director for Healing Hands School of Holistic Health (HHSHH) showed her support for American Heart Month by encouraging students to start heart healthy habits early.  “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year more than 610,000 deaths occur as a result of cardiovascular disease, making it the #1 leading cause of death for men and women in the United States”, said Paula.  “Although that is a very scary statistic, there are several holistic health practices one can adopt to dramatically reduce their risk and optimize their health in the process.  As students of Massage, you’ll not only reap the benefits of these practices for yourself, you have an opportunity to model healthy, holistic self-care to clients as well” she continued.

The following is a summary of the easy life-style changes Paula suggests to optimize health and reduce your risk of heart disease.

# 1 – Move Your Body! – Even ½ hour of walking daily can boost mood while reducing odds of obesity, stress, depression and anxiety, which are all risk factors for heart disease.

#2 – Adopt a Heart-Healthy Diet! – The high obesity rate among Americans has contributed to near epidemic rates for Diabetes, which is a deadly cardiovascular disease.  Eating a diet high in fresh fruits, vegetables and low in artery clogging trans-fats, will not only help to shed excess weight, it will give one’s body the nourishment needed to repair itself and support optimal health.  

#3 – Know Your Cholesterol Numbers!  Since high blood fats are a big contributor to heart disease, knowing your numbers is crucial to being proactive about your health.  The higher your “healthy” cholesterol (HDL) and the lower your “lousy cholesterol” (LDL), the lower your risk factor for heart disease. 

#4 – Monitor and Maintain Healthy Blood Pressure Levels!  Hypertension (high blood pressure) is known as “the silent killer” because it often occurs without symptoms.  High blood pressure can tear at the delicate lining of your blood vessels. Check out the CDC website to learn more at www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/index.htm.

#5 – Stop Smoking and Avoid Those Who Do!  Since there is overwhelming evidence that cigarette smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke will not only increase one’s risk of lung disease, it greatly increases one’s risk of heart disease as well.  For suggestions and aids to help you kick the habit, go to: www.cdc.gov/tobacco/quit_smoking/index.htm.

#6 – Address Your Stress!  While daily responsibilities, challenges and life demands won’t stop, you’re response to them can be a big factor in how stress affects you physically. Practicing holistic self-soothing methods such as receiving a massage, meditating, doing Tai Chi, or practicing Yoga are all great ways to positively impact endorphins (happy hormones) and reduce Cortisol (stress hormones) levels.

#7 – Above All, Take Responsibility!  Practice, holistic self-care by making healthy life-style choices daily, and be proactive about seeking medical care when needed.  Before sitting down with your Doctor, take a few moments to write down a list of symptoms and concerns to assure you get all your questions answered. 

For more information about preventing heart disease, please visit the American Heart Association at http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/ .  To learn more about HHSHH or the more than 80 Massage and related holistic health courses offered, please visit us online at www.HealingHandsSchool.com or call us in Laguna Hills at (949) 305-2722 or in Escondido at (760) 746-9364.

Holistic Massage School Shares Romantic Gift Ideas for Valentine’s Day

Each Valentine’s Day, loving couples wrack their brains coming up with new gift ideas for each other, hoping to find something that will make their partner feel special and loved.  Before investing in an expensive piece of jewelry, sugar filled box of candy or other store-bought item that may or may not convey your intention, consider a therapeutic, stress busting Couples’ Massage or, even better….learn how to give one!    

At Healing Hands School of Holistic Health, we’ve been teaching the Art and Science of couples massageMassage for more than 24 years.   While most of our students enroll in a Certification Program to receive the training they’ll need to work as a Professional Massage Therapist, we also offer classes ‘a-la-carte’ for individuals interested in educating themselves and their loved ones about holistic self-care practices.

“Every quarter, we offer three Circulatory Massage Classes that can be taken during the daytime, or in the evening, or as an intensive day class” said Harmony Curtiss, School Manager for the Laguna Hills campus.  “These options accommodate students who are currently working but seeking a career change, or stay at home Moms and Dads who want to learn massage so they can nurture family and friends.  Depending on the circulatory class selected, students can learn how to provide a therapeutic massage in as little as 1 month with our Intensive or, up to 3 months should they opt for an evening class.  We also offer classes on Holistic Nutrition, Superfoods, Medicinal Herbs, Homeopathic Remedies, Yoga, and other self-care practices that can positively impact anyone’s health and wellbeing”, she continued.

If learning how to give a massage is not an option, a Couple’s massage is a great way for partners to celebrate Valentines Day.  In addition to reducing pain and stiffness in your muscles, a Couples massage will boost Endorphins (good feeling hormones), reduce Cortisol (stress hormones), help stabilize blood pressure and blood sugar levels, improve circulation, and enhance your mood and feelings of wellbeing.  Starting your Valentines celebration with a therapeutic Couples massage is a great way to build intimacy and show a loved one just how much you care.

Healing Hands School of Holistic Health has been serving residents in Escondido and Laguna Hills for over 24 years.  Offering day, evening and weekend classes, HHSHH’s staff of highly qualified Instructors have prepared more than 6,500 students for successful and rewarding careers as Massage Therapists and Holistic Health Practitioners.  With more than 80 Massage and related Holistic Health classes, offered, no Holistic Massage School is more dedicated to helping students realize their potential as professional healers than HHSHH.  To learn more about HHSHH or the 80 + classes offered, please visit us online at www.HealingHandsSchool.com or call us at (949) 305-2722 in Laguna Hills or (760) 746-9364 in Escondido.

Holistic Massage School Shares Ten Simple Ways to ‘Go Green’ at Work

“While some self-serving politicians may not choose to admit that climate change exists, environmental scientists are certain that global warming is already changing our environment, and fast!” said Paula Curtiss, Founding Director for Healing Hands School of Holistic Health.  “If we want our children and grandchildren to enjoy our beautiful planet and its many life sustaining resources, we must act now to reduce our carbon footprint and work teco-friendlyoward an environmentally sustainable society.  Below are ten simple ways we at HHSHH have “gone green” in an effort to reorient ourselves and our students toward sustainability…

  1. We run a “digitized, paper-reduced” office. By storing student enrollment information, student records, course syllabuses and handouts on computer with access through our website, HHSHH has greatly reduced paper waste and substantially reduced energy costs for reproduction of these materials.
  2. We encourage students to choose reusable bottles, plates, utensils and containers for their water, lunch and snacks so we minimize trash and easily separate recyclable items.
  3. We plug our computer hardware and peripheral equipment for each workstation into power strips with on/off switches so the whole set-up can be turned off at once each evening to minimize energy consumption.
  4. We use our air conditioning and heating systems at both campuses very sparingly, and when they are used we set the thermostat at recommended settings of 78 degrees in the summer, and 68 degrees or cooler during the winter months.
  5. We use biodegradable soaps and cleaning products at the school, and sell biodegradable massage oils, lotions and gels to students and Alumni, keeping chemical pollution to a minimum.
  6. We send e-mails whenever possible instead of using paper envelopes and letters, and we review documents on-screen when possible, instead of printing to paper.
  7. We purchase recycled paper, we print to both sides of the paper whenever possible, and we recycle printer cartridges when they empty.
  8. We use natural daylight as a free source of lighting for our offices and classrooms whenever possible as it has been proven to improve worker productivity while reducing energy usage.
  9. We use compact fluorescent light-bulbs which use 70% less energy than incandescent bulbs, and installed motion-activated light switches in all school bathrooms so the lights turn on for a designated period of time (eg: 10 minutes), keeping energy usage for lighting as low as possible.
  10. We consolidate all office supply orders to reduce the amount of packaging used and delivery trips (wasted gas) made, and reuse office supplies boxes for storage or outgoing shipments.


Healing Hands School of Holistic Health has been serving residents through two regional campuses located in Escondido and Laguna Hills for over 23 years.  With more than 80 Holistic Health courses and two Certification Programs to offer, HHSHH is considered a trail-blazer for Holistic Health education in Southern California.  To date, HHSHH has prepared more than 6,000 students for successful and rewarding careers in Massage Therapy and Holistic Health. To find out more about the educational programs or financial aid available at HHSHH please visit us on-line at www.HealingHandsSchool.com or call us at (949) 305-2722 in Laguna Hills, or (760) 746-9364 in Escondido. 

Holistic Massage School Celebrates 24th Anniversary



“We’re very excited to be celebrating our 24th Anniversary here at Healing Hands School of Holistic Health (HHSHH)” announced Paula Curtiss, Founding Director and CFO.  “Though a lot has changed in the past 24 years, our original Mission: To preserve and enhance human health by providing quality education and training programs – is as evident today as it was day one.  We have an exceptional team of highly qualified instructors that have prepared more than 6,000 students for successful and lucrative careers as Massage Therapists and Holistic Health Practitioners”, she added.

Paula and husband, Neha Curtiss, are holistic health advocates who have been teaching massage therapies and body-work since 1988.  The couple is credited with developing and leading the first Circulatory Massage Training Programs for Community Colleges in California.  After teaching within the constraints of Irvine Valley and Mira Costa Community Colleges for a few years, they were inspired to do more and on February 7, 1992, founded HHSHH.  Since then, in addition to making an education in the Healing Arts more available and affordable for students, they have the freedom to add or change classes as they deem necessary.

What started as a basic 100-hour Massage Technician Program covering Swedish Massage, has expanded to more than 80 + massage and related holistic health courses.  Classes can be taken individually or as part of a Nationally Accredited Certification Program.  For fast licensure, HHSHH offers a 500-hour Massage Therapist Program.  Students pursuing more advanced techniques, may choose a 1000-hour Holistic Health Practitioner Program. Classes are offered during days, evenings & weekends.

bonsai hands_full

As miraculously as the curriculum has expanded, so has the HHSHH staff and faculty.  Now, in addition to Neha and Paula, the school employs more than two dozen Staff and Faculty plus a group of highly-qualified Guest Instructors.  All Instructors who work at HHSHH are practicing Massage Therapists and Holistic Health Practitioners who specialize in their respective subjects.

Paula and Neha’s reputation as Trail-blazers for Holistic Health becomes especially evident when one reviews their Annual Catalog of Classes.  While many other massage schools limit classes to basic Anatomy and a few massage modalities, HHSHH offers a wide selection of traditional massage modalities, plus many advanced and complementary classes like: Structural Integration, Visceral Manipulations, or Nutritional Superfoods.

 “Our faculty’s primary goal is to enable our students to realize their potential as professional Healers and not just massage technicians,” said Harmony Curtiss, a Staff Instructor and Manager for the Laguna Hills campus location. “We deliberately teach our students holistic self-care practices so they may enjoy the benefits first hand.  We’ve learned that these practices optimize their professional longevity, helping to ensure their ability to work in their chosen profession for years to come.” she added.

To learn more about HHSHH Programs or the more than 80 Massage and Holistic Health courses offered, please visit us online at www.HealingHandsSchool.com or call us at (760) 746-9364 in Escondido or at (949) 305-2722 in Laguna Hills.

Holistic Massage School Offers Reiki Healing Classes by Renown Master Instructor, Faun Parliman


“Founded by Mikao Usui, Reiki is a powerful, holistic treatment that involves the laying on of hands to direct a flow of life-force energy that comes through the practitioner to the patient”, says Faun Parliman, Reiki Master and Guest Instructor for Healing Hands School of Holistic Health (HHSHH). “Considered a Japanese system of natural healing, the word Reiki translates to ‘guided Universal life force energy’.  Reiki was brought from Japan to the West in 1937 by one of Usui’s students, Mrs. Takata, where it has been passed on to millions of people all over the world, with numbers continuing to grow!”, Faun continued.


An alternative and integrative healing therapy, Reiki is used to promote relaxation, enhance spiritual connection, spiritual healing and personal transformation.  It is a healing modality based on the premise that when one’s life force energy is low, or out of balance, they are more likely to feel stress and succumb to disease.  Alternately, when one’s life force energy is high, they are more able to maintain optimal health and enjoy an enhanced sense of well-being. 

Shown to be effective in helping almost any illnesses or ailment, Reiki is gaining increased acceptance as an effective, alternative healing therapy.  When used as part of an integrative medical treatment plan, Reiki minimizes negative side effects of medicines and treatments, and can substantially speed the healing and recovery process.

Although Reiki is a simple technique to learn, the ability to use Reiki must be transferred by a Reiki Master via an ’attunement’. Once ‘attuned’ to Reiki symbols, students are able to tap into this life force energy; to positively impact their own and their client’s health and quality of life.  Students of Reiki are also inspired to practice specific ethical ideals offered by Reiki’s Founder, Usui as treatment for the improvement of body and mind.  These ideals are as follows:

Don’t Get Angry Today.

Don’t Worry Today

Be Grateful Today

Work Hard Today (referring to meditative practice)

Be Kind to Others Today

reiki hands heart

In 1992, Reiki was added to the long list of healing modalities offered at Healing Hands School of Holistic Health, (HHSHH).  The school’s Reiki Instructor, Ms. Faun Parliman, has been a Reiki Master since 1985 and is trained in three major lineages of Reiki.  Born a gifted psychic, Faun’s ability to heal came to her spontaneously in 1977.  From 1979 through 1981, she ran a healing center out of her home where she amassed a wealth of knowledge and experience dealing with the human energy system. Since then, Faun has shared her knowledge with countless Reiki healers both nationally and internationally. 

Faun’s natural intuitive gifts and wealth of experience make her an exceptional Reiki Master and valued instructor for Reiki I and Reiki II classes at HHSHH. To learn more about Ms. Parliman, Reiki, or any of the 80 + Massage and Holistic Health courses offered, visit us online at www.HealingHandsSchool.com or call us at (949) 305-2722 in Laguna Hills or (760) 746-9364 in Escondido.