Holistic Massage School Teaches Students About Essential Self-care

Self Massage – Essential to Holistic Self -Care

Harmony Curtiss – Director – Laguna Hills

“Self-massage is an essential part of any Massage Therapist’s holistic self-care program” says Harmony Curtis, Director of Healing Hands School of Holistic Health – Laguna Hills.  “A simple self-massage done regularly can go a long way to reducing tension, stiffness, and inflammation in over-used muscles.  Even Massage Therapists with the best body-mechanics will occasionally experience sore or tight muscles, so being able to address your own needs, is a skill worth developing”, she added.

Theracane – Available for sale at Healing Hands School of Holistic Health’s retail/book-stores.

When a holistic practice or skill is worth developing, Healing Hands’ Directors usually make it part of the School’s curriculum.  That’s why the Circulatory Massage and Deep Tissue Manipulation classes include an introduction to using Tennis or LaCrosse Balls.  They’re used to apply pressure to the body’s acupressure points.  Students also experience the Thera-cane, a plastic, cane-like instrument, used to self-release Trigger Points. 

The class’ instructors, also teach students to release tension in one area of the body by using another body part to apply pressure or for stretching.   Shiatsu class instructors also dedicate class time to demonstrate using a tennis ball to increase circulation and reduce tension on energy meridians of the body.   

Paula (left front) and Harmony Curtiss (center front), lead a group of students in a Tai Chi flow to warm their muscles and calm their minds before Body-work.


In almost all Healing Hands’ courses, a portion of class is reserved for students to stretch-out and warm-up their muscles.  A ritual they are encouraged to do prior to delivering any form of body-work.  Simple, yet effective self-massage techniques are also taught.  As in the examples shown below, self-massage reduces aches and pains and can restore optimal function to muscles and soft tissues of the body.  By incorporating self-massage into their holistic, self-care programs, Graduates ensure their ability to work in their chosen profession for years to come.

Four Easy, Self-Massage Techniques for Neck & Shoulders :

  1. Using fingertips of both hands, place them where your neck meets the shoulder and make small, circular movements. Be sure to use medium pressure and work your way up the back of the neck to the hair-line.  These circular movements ease muscular tightness more effectively than direct, static pressure on the area.  Continue these circular movements up and around the base of the skull until you feel the tightness or soreness diminish- usually 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Sitting upright in a comfortable chair, start from the base of the neck and press down with your fingers along the top of the shoulders. When you reach the bony part of the shoulder, slide your hand back to the base of the neck and repeat the pressing at least three more times.  Finish by stroking firmly from the top of the neck down to the shoulder on both sides.
  3. Using one hand at a time, knead each shoulder with a firm, squeezing motion. Move between the neck and the bony part of your shoulder.  Repeat several times each side, or until the any soreness is diminished.
  4. Placing your right hand over your head to the left temple, apply steady pressure to stretch your neck – right ear to the right shoulder and hold for the count of 5. Next, place your left hand on the right temple, applying steady pressure to stretch your neck the opposite way – left ear to the left shoulder and hold for the count of 5. 


Founded in 1992 by Paula and Neha Curtiss, Healing Hands has successfully prepared more than 7,000 students for satisfying careers as a Massage Therapists and can do the same for YOU!  With campuses in Escondido, San Diego (Kearny Mesa), and Laguna Hills, Healing Hands offers day, evening and weekend schedules.  Interested students can train for a rewarding career in less than a year!  To learn more go on-line to: www.HealingHandsSchool.com or call us at  949.305.2722 in Laguna Hills or (760) 746-9364 in Escondido or (858) 505-1100 in San Diego (Kearny Mesa).


Holistic Massage School Shares – How To Create a Life Changing Vision Board (Part 2 of 2)


Step Three – Collect Images that inspire and motivate you.

Here’s when it starts getting fun!  You’ll want to explore a variety of different sources for your potential content.  Whatever you choose, make sure the images appeal to you and demand your focus. All words used on your vision board must have a positive, appealing tone, and phrased to reflect present tense, ie: “I enjoy eating healthy, nutritious meals that help me maintain a healthy weight” as opposed to “I will starve myself until I reach my goal weight”. 

Sources may include:

  • Images found on-line via search engines
  • Images shared on Pinterest
  • Topic specific websites or E-magazines
  • Websites for Inspirational Quotes
  • Websites with Positive Affirmations
  • Personal photos, drawings, poems, prayers
  • Print Magazines, newspapers, greeting cards
  • Original affirmations specific to your circumstances

Step Four – Put it all together and Make it Happen!

Keep in mind, this is your Vision Board, so it should reflect your unique personality, preferences and potential.  Let go preconceived limitations and let your Spirit soar!  In addition to the desired end, focus on the process to accomplish your goals.  Above all, keep it positive, inspiring and challenging enough to inspire growth.

Choose colors that reflect the nature and content of your vision board.  Use strong colors like red, yellow and bright green to denote excitement, energy, and achievement. Use soothing colors like light blue, pale pink and soft teals to relay peace, calm and serenity.  Make sure to include plenty of images and inspirational sayings.  Relate them to the specific steps you’ll take to reach your goals.

Look for images that reflect the characteristics you’d like to see in your best Self.  For example, if you’re working on becoming less judgmental, find a picture that symbolizes acceptance of others. If you’d like to feel less fearful, include a picture of a fearless warrior or to feel less anxious, include a photo of a roaring Lion. Find images that are strong, bold and empowering.

Choose images that also reflect your desires, such as a slimmer, healthier, stronger physique. Or a new wardrobe, class in Holistic cooking, a new car, or new career! There is no right or wrong way to create a vision board, so you can’t get it wrong.  And, everyone who takes the time to create one can benefit.  Here’s how….

Benefits of a Vision Board:

  1. Vision Boards help us achieve our goals. They are intended to help you identify and clarify your goals, dreams and aspirations in life. They include the necessary steps to reach our goals, as well as why we are choosing to make them a reality. Knowing what you seek and how to proceed, greatly increases your probability of success.
  2. Vision Boards reconnect us to our inner childhood, like making a list of toys we want for our birthday. They can inspire excitement, creativity and keep us motivated.
  3. Vision Boards can boost our drive and determination. They are a daily reminder that we have a sense of purpose and reason for living and thriving.
  4. Having a vision board helps strengthen our resolve when encountering challenges or obstacles to our goals along the way.
  5. Creating a vision board is an exercise in thinking outside the box. Vision Boards help you move beyond self-imposed limitations and explore your true potential.  You may not think a new home is attainable in your near future, however, a vision board allows you to open yourself to new opportunities that may make your dreams a reality over time.

Founded in 1992, Healing Hands School of Holistic Health is considered a trail-blazer in education the Holistic Healing Arts.  To date, the sHealing Hands Faculty has prepared more than 7,000 graduates for successful careers and can do the same for you.  Is a career as a Professional Massage Therapist right for you?  Learn more at www.HealingHandsSchool.com  or call us at: (858) 505-1100 in Kearny Mesa/San Diego, (760) 746-9364 in Escondido and (949) 305-2722 in Laguna Hills.


Holistic Massage School Shares – How To Create a Life Changing Vision Board (Part 1 of 2)

A “Vision Board” is a collage of pictures, concepts, affirmations, inspirational quotes, and symbols that help you conceptualize your dreams, goals and aspirations.  Creating a vision board can allows for introspection, and clarity.   You’ll need to think about what you value, how you want to show up in the world, and how you define living a ‘good life’.  You are then faced with the challenge of coming up with ideas, plans and steps for achieving your desires.  As you overcome these challenges, you gain clarity, confidence and a sense of empowerment.  Simply put, Vision Boards can help us become our best selves. 

Step One – Reflect on what’s really important to you, ask yourself:

  • What do I really value?
  • What do I consider to be a good life?
  • What would a good life look like for me?
  • What are my relationship goals?
  • What kind of ‘partner’ do I want in life?
  • How can I improve my interaction with others?
  • Whom do I want to spend time with?
  • How do I want to spend my time?
  • How do I want to contribute to society?
  • What would I like to accomplish or learn?
  • What are my career goals?
  • What steps could I take to help me land my dream job?
  • What are my goals for fun and recreation?
  • What are my health and fitness goals?
  • How can I achieve the weight, strength, flexibility, health I desire?
  • What are my personal goals?

Step Two – Choose a format and supplies.

Most people who make vision boards make them out of poster-board, foam-board, cork-board, or on any material that can be hung up or propped up against a wall.  Others may choose an electronic format such as MS Word or In-Design programs that allow you to ‘cut and paste’ contents via your computer when needed. Still others may take advantage of the social media web-site Pinterest, that allows you to electronically pin images and information to a ‘board’ of your creation. 

My personal favorite is a 3-panel foam, display board used for science projects.  The 3-panels allow you to address multiple topics on one board.  The construction allows it to stand alone, and because it’s light it can also be suspended if space is limited.

You’ll also need a pair of scissors, a glue stick or mounting tape, colored paper, colored markers and an optional easel-back so it may stand-alone.  Gather together any magazines, cards or photos you’d like to include.  Those who enjoy creative self-expression may include glitter, rhinestones, ribbons, frames, block letters or other crafting items of their choice. 

The idea is to create a board that speaks to your mind and your heart.  A Vision board is best created from a place of gratitude for where you are.  Try to suspend self-limiting thoughts or judgments about what you can achieve.  Approach your Vision board with a sense that “Anything is Possible”.

Note: To be continued…..Check back next week for How to Create a Vision Board – Part 2 of 2!

Yoga: Benefits Beyond Your Mat

Most people who are not familiar with yoga assume that it consists of simple meditation and a few poses. But this way of exercise is strenuous, and it requires collaboration from your mind, body, and soul.

We are passionate about giving our students every opportunity to live holistically. Yoga is a great way to relax your mind, strengthen your body, and fill your soul. One way we incorporate yoga is through our Yoga Massage course. This class applies guided breathing, stretches, and postures from Thai Yoga along with the rhythmic compressions, pulls, and stretches of Thai Massage.


Discover what you could gain from a regular yoga practice:


You Learn The Power Of Your Breath

Of course, any type of exercise will naturally boost your mood as you release endorphins, but yoga brings a different sense of peace to your body. Even through difficult poses, you are trained to breathe through your movement. This type of breathing calms your tense muscles, helping them stretch further and further every time.

Yoga also trains your breathing from the inside out, forcing you to think about the way you breathe. Because breathing is such a mindless act, this is something all yogis must constantly be working at.


Mindfulness Stays With You After Your Practice

Yoga demands your full attention. In order to progress, you must give it your complete focus within your body, mind, and soul. One of the main reasons many people practice yoga is because of its ability to tune out the worries of the outside world and truly pay attention to just yourself.

Any experienced yogi will agree that the mindfulness practiced on your mat does not stop there. Prioritizing the present moment helps us recenter ourselves and avoid being overwhelmed by what is surrounding us.


Your Intentions Can Align With Life Goals

Before the start of every yoga practice, it is important to set an intention for your practice. Setting an intention is the most powerful way to incorporate yoga into your lifestyle. Doing this brings awareness to the values you wish to manifest both on and off your mat.

When you pay close attention to the intention of your practice, you can use it to help guide the rest of your day. The positive energy that is cultivated during your practice gets carried with you far after the practice has ended.


Next time you step on your mat, use the power of yoga to your advantage. Not only is it beneficial to your body, but it heals your soul and trains your mind to become resilient and peaceful.

Our Escondido campus is offering a course in Yoga Massage this Winter Session!


By the end of this course, students are able to combine massage and yoga-like stretches with gentle joint mobilization as an integrated, adapted, and assisted flow.


The classes run December 15, 17, and 22nd.


Mondays 9:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M. and Saturdays 6:00 P.M. – 10:00 P.M.


Register here.


Holistic Massage School Shares WHY Massage is Good for Your Body!

In today’s ‘health-conscious’ culture, we are all aware that Massage Therapy is good for us, but how many know exactly Why

 “At Healing Hands School of Holistic Health our Faculty has a passion for educating students about the Why of all things related to massage and the body”, said Harmony Curtiss, Director for the Laguna Hills location.  “No course better demonstrates this passion than our 100-hour class titled: Anatomy for Body-workers.  In this class the instructors present a detailed exploration of the body’s many Systems, how they serve the body.  We also educate students on just how these body systems are positively impacted by massage.  Below are a few “fun facts” shared in class”, she added.

The Circulatory System:  A good circulatory system means that an adequate supply of the blood’s nutrients and oxygen reach billions of cells in the body.  This is vital for the healthy functioning of the whole body, from the muscles to internal organs. By encouraging dilation of the blood vessels, Massage increases the bloods circulation throughout the entire body. 

 The Integumentary System (The Skin!):  If you want a glowing complexion, consider receiving a regular Massage.  Full body massage helps to exfoliate superficial dead skin cells of the body.  It also increases circulation and facilitates cell renewal.  Receiving Massage regularly can help keep wrinkles at bay by maintaining the collagen fibers that give skin its elasticity and strength (tone). 

The Muscular System: Massage increases blood flow, thus allowing vital nutrients to circulate more efficiently.  Massage is popular among sports enthusiasts because it improves muscle tone and strength, restores mobility, optimizes performance and ensures elimination of waste products.  Massage before exercise, can help loosen and warm up muscles thus reducing injury.  After exercise massage can ease soreness, relieve cramps, relax muscles, increase range of motion, and helps speed healing.

 Digestive System:  Your digestive system is the first to respond to stress.  Something unexpected or uncomfortable comes up and immediately we feel “knots in our stomachs” as our anxiety level increases.  Fortunately, regular massage helps regulate your digestive system.  In addition to releasing tight stomach muscles and getting the intestines to relax, a stomach massage helps to mobilize food through the digestive system.  Proper digestion aids in the assimilation of nutrients and facilitates ease of elimination.  It also reduces symptoms such as flatulence and constipation. 

The Nervous System: The nervous system is a complex network that relays messages from the brain to the rest of the body.  Millions of nerve endings leave the brain at the base of the skull and run down the spinal cord.  Depending on the depth of the massage and the specific techniques used, the nerve endings can be either stimulated or soothed.

Lymphatic  System (aka Immune System):  The lymph system absorbs and eliminates waste substances within the body.  Unlike blood circulation, the lymphatic system has no pump of its own and is dependent on muscular action to get its work done.  The increased circulation caused by Massage helps to accelerate the Lymphatic System.  Massage therapy actually speeds the flow of lymph, encouraging a more effective filtering and elimination of waste throughout the body.  An efficient lymphatic system provides the body with a strong immune system to fight against infections and disease.


NOTE: Anatomy for Bodyworkers comes to our San Diego classroom on January 5th 2019.


At Healing Hands School of Holistic Health, we’ve prepared more than 7,000 graduates for successful careers as Massage Therapists and can do the same for YOU!  To learn more about Anatomy for Body-workers or any of the other 80+ classes offered, visit us online at www.HealingHandsSchool.com.  Or, call us at: (858) 505-1100 in Kearny Mesa/San Diego, (760) 746-9364 in Escondido and (949) 305-2722 in Laguna Hills. 




Attention Health & Wellness Enthusiasts… Holistic Massage School Asks…



If you answered YES! …then… Healing Hands School of Holistic Health

May be Exactly What You Need in 2019!

The Faculty and Staff at Healing Hands School of Holistic Health are dedicated to providing an unsurpassed education in the Holistic Healing Arts.  Their curriculum boasts over 80 Massage and Holistic Health courses that have been a source of inspiration and motivation for over 7,000 Graduates.  Most move on to successful careers as Professional Massage Therapists and Holistic Health Practitioners.  Some choose the freedom of a private, solo practice. Others use Massage to complement a Nursing or Coaching career.  Still others use their newly acquired knowledge and skills to nurture a healthy lifestyle for themselves, family and friends. 

Healing Hands’ classes go far beyond the basics of Massage strokes and techniques to more advanced courses or what our Faculty calls ‘the big guns’.  These classes are perfect for students interested in Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine.  Courses like Myo-Fascial Release (San Diego / Feb.), Neuromuscular Trigger-point therapy (Escondido / Feb.) and, 10 Session of Structural Integration (Laguna Hills, Feb.), educate students about how the effects of poor posture, overuse and injury.  Students learn strategies to help clients heal, make postural changes, increase their strength and avoid future injury.

As a school of Holistic Health, Healing Hands’ curriculum also includes courses in nutrition and medicinal herbs.  Courses such as: Herbal Studies and Applications (January / Escondido), and Herbal Healing and Massage (March / Laguna Hills) teach how herbs affect us and their use in therapeutic practices.   Healing Hands’ 60-hour course entitled Holistic Nutrition (San Diego / Feb.) explores essential nutrients and identifies nutrient dense foods.  Students learn how to create meals that will enhance their energy, focus, health and mental well-being.   

Another reason Healing Hands stands out among its competition is its Founders, Paula and Neha Curtiss are experts in the holistic approach to life, health and healing.  One class offered that you won’t find anywhere else is their 2-day Holistic Living Retreat.  This course, attended by Healing Hands’ Faculty, Staff, Students, and their families, has been a favorite since the school’s inception in 1992.  Each year, during the Easter holiday weekend, the Healing Hands Community of Healers come together in a beautiful, natural setting to unwind, rejuvenate and connect with nature and eachother. This year’s Holistic Living Retreat falls on April 20th and 21st. Those interested may register through any Healing Hands location starting on April 6th


To learn more about Healing HandsHolistic Living Retreat’, or any of the other 80+ courses offered, go online to www.HealingHandsSchool.com or call us at (949) 305-2722 in Laguna Hills, or at (858) 505-1100 in San Diego (Kearny Mesa), or (760) 746-9364 in Escondido.  “Touching Lives, Touching Hearts”.



Achieve Optimal Health in the New Year!

Did you know…..Yoga is a philosophy as a well as a practical science and healthcare system that has been around since ancient times? The word ‘Yoga’ comes from the Sanskrit root word Yuj which means to join. Yoga is a joining of the individual consciousness (Jivatma) with the Universal Consciousness (Paramatma). It includes specific poses combined with breath control and guided meditation.

“Yoga is an exceptional Holistic Health practice that our students at Healing Hands School of Holistic Health are encouraged to engage in daily” said Harmony Curtiss, Director for Healing Hands – Laguna Hills. “Yoga practice, whatever the form, can be used to reduce stress, nurture self-awareness, build muscle strength, increase flexibility, promote relaxation and enhance your overall wellbeing”, she added.

While there are more than 100 different forms of Yoga, most combine strengthening and stretching poses along with deep breathing and guided meditation.  Ashtanga Yoga is just one Yoga style that is physically challenging and extremely therapeutic.  Known as the ‘eight limbs of Yoga’, Ashtanga Yoga addresses all the aspects of the individual.  It is aimed at creating harmony in the internal and external worlds.

The ‘eight limbs of Yoga’ contained within an Ashtanga Yoga practice include:

  1.  Yama helps us harmonize our interactions with our external world. Yama consists in resisting all inclinations toward violence, lying, stealing, sexual activity, and greed.
  2. Niyama helps us maintain self-discipline and control of our internal world. Yamas, are recommended activities and habits for healthy living, spiritual enlightenment and liberated state of existence.  They include 1) Self-Purification; cleanliness, 2) Contentment, delight, happiness, joy.  An experience of acceptance of life, ourselves. 3) self-discipline or any discipline that is willingly and gladly accepted in order to bring about a change of some kind—whether it be improved health, a new habit, better concentration, or a different direction in life. 4) Self Study; an effort to know the Authentic Self (that which shines as the innermost core of your being). 5) A trustful Surrender to God.  Giving ourselves over to a higher purpose.
  3. Asana or yoga poses help us maintaining optimum health of our physical body. Yoga poses can help strengthen muscles, enhance flexibility, massage internal organs and improve our coordination and balance.
  4. Pranayama which includes exercises to control our breath, can improve both our physical as well as mental health.
  5. Pratyahara involves methods to prepare for meditation. Pratyahara is the point where the inner journey begins.
  6. Dharana is the beginning state of all internal visualization techniques. It involves focus and concentration of the mind on an internal object.
  7. Dhyana is when your mind remains focused on the object of meditation for a prolonged period.
  8. Samadhi is when the practitioner goes beyond the sense of individuality when meditating and eventually experiences a oneness with the Cosmic Consciousness.


Learn more about strategies to improve your Holistic Health at Healing Hands School of Holistic Health.  Founded in 1992, Healing Hands is considered a trail-blazer in education of Massage and the Holistic Healing Arts.  To date, the Healing Hands Faculty has prepared more than 7,000 graduates for successful careers as Massage Therapists and can do the same for YOU!  Find out if a career as a Professional Massage Therapist is right for you. call us at: (858) 505-1100 in Kearny Mesa/San Diego, (760) 746-9364 in Escondido and (949) 305-2722 in Laguna Hills.


3 Steps To Begin 2019 With Intention

As we enter a new year, we are given a chance to start fresh. With new beginnings come new ways to alter your lifestyle for the better. Living with intention is a term many people use freely, but do not fully understand how to achieve it.

It is easy to fall into a rut of wanting to be in a different place in your life or not being fully content in where you are right now. Living each day with intention will give you the opportunity to manifest the life you truly want in 2019.

At Healing Hands, our programs educate our students beyond simply massage therapy. In order to promote overall wellness, you must create a balance within your mind, body, and soul. This balance is best achieved by creating intention within your life.


Create this upcoming year with intention, with these steps:

Step 1: Reflect

In order to get ahead, you must take a step back first. Reflecting on your past year will help you understand what truly mattered to you in 2018. Take time to celebrate your victories, but also recognize the lows. This form of self-reflection helps to ground yourself into what is important. This is a key step into manifesting your ideal year.  


Step 2: Ask Yourself Questions

Now that you have reflected on past events and emotions you have experienced within 2018, it is time to start asking yourself what you want 2019 to be like for you. Give yourself the opportunity to lay out exactly how you see the ideal year ahead of you. For example, ask yourself questions such as: What do you want more of in your life? What do you want less of in your life? What truly matters to you? Let these questions guide your actions this year.


Step 3: Act

After reflecting and planning, the only thing left to do is to act upon it. Living with intention means being present in your day-to-day life. Many times, especially through the stress of the holidays, we can be just going through the motions of life. These are the moments in which we must remind ourselves to stay present. A great way to practice this is through meditation, body-reading, and other spiritual practices.


At Healing Hands, we promote mindful and intentional living in our classes. Through courses such as Spiritual Healing, Reiki, and our Holistic Living Retreat, students train their mind, body, and soul to focus on what truly matters to them. Being present in every moment creates an awareness that cannot be achieved in any other manner.


Each of these courses mentioned will be available during our Winter Session!

Spiritual Healing:

Escondido – April 5th-19th

Mondays & Fridays from 6:00PM – 10:00PM


Laguna Hills – February 4th-March 4th

Mondays 6:00PM-10:00PM


Reiki I:

Escondido – March 21st-28th

Tuesdays & Thursdays from 9:00AM – 4:00PM


Laguna Hills – February 5th-12th

Tuesdays & Thursdays from 9:00AM – 4:00PM


Reiki II:

Escondido – April 2nd-18th

Tuesdays & Thursdays from 9:00AM – 3:30PM


Laguna Hills – February 14th-March 7th

Tuesdays & Thursdays from 9:00AM – 3:00PM


Holistic Living Retreat:

All campuses welcome – April 20th & 21st


Sign up for courses here.

Maternity and the Professional Massage Therapist (Part 2 of 2)

What Massage Therapists need to know when planning on having (or adopting) a baby… (cont’d.)

Option 4 – Purchase Your Own Short-term or Temporary Disability Plan – If all else fails, selecting your own Short-term or Temporary Disability Insurance Plan may be a sound solution.  As there are dozens of commercial insurance vendors offering a variety of short-term plans, you’ll need to read the options and fine print to ensure you get the coverage you’ll need.  You can learn more about the differences between Short-term and Temporary Disability plans at: https://www.thebalancecareers.com/short-term-vs-temporary-disability-insurance .


Option 5 – Apply for State Disability Insurance:

California is one of four states in the Union that provide for short-term disability.

Below are some of the general requirements that apply:

  • The Massage Therapist must have worked 30 days to six months, (depending on the state) before being eligible for benefits.
  • There is a one-week waiting period before benefits are payable. (You can’t receive benefits until the 8th day you are temporarily disabled).
  • The disability must be non-work related.
  • Benefits last no more than 26-30 weeks (52 weeks in California).
  • The weekly benefit is approximately 60% of a Massage Therapists wages.
  • Pregnant Massage Therapists can receive short-term disability for several weeks for delivery and recovery.
  • An independent medical examination to determine the Massage Therapists initial and continuing eligibility may be required.

Option 6 – Apply for Family and Medical Leave – When paid leave or an individual insurance plan is not an option, many American women will turn to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). 

The FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons. This includes continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave. Eligible employees are entitled to twelve work-weeks of leave in a 12-month period for:


  • the birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth;
  • the placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one year of placement;
  • to care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition;
  • a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job;
  • any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered military member on “covered active duty;” or
  • Twenty-six workweeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness if the eligible employee is the servicemember’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin (military caregiver leave).

To learn more about FMLA, please visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s website on FMLA at: https://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/


Disclaimer: The above information is provided as a guide for Massage Therapists considering pregnancy and may not contain all potential resources available for financial assistance. 

Founded in 1992, Healing Hands School of Holistic Health is considered a trail-blazer in education the Holistic Healing Arts.  To date our Faculty has prepared more than 7,000 graduates for successful careers as Massage Therapists and can do the same for you.  Find out if a career as a Professional Massage Therapist is right for you.  Check us out online at www.HealingHandsSchool.com  or call us at: (858) 505-1100 in Kearny Mesa/San Diego, (760) 746-9364 in Escondido and (949) 305-2722 in Laguna Hills.




Maternity and the Professional Massage Therapist (Part 1 of 2)

When it comes to taking time off to start a family, American women face a variety of challenges. Half of all two-parent households in the U.S. have both parents working yet, we remain the only developed nation that doesn’t mandate paid leave for new parents. As Professional Massage Therapists themselves, the Staff at Healing Hands School of Holistic Health (and Massage) is sensitive to the needs of graduates who wish to start or grow their families.  Toward that end, they offer the following information they’ll need to know when planning on having (or adopting) a baby.

What Massage Therapists Need to Know About Maternity Coverage

‘Maternity coverage’ is health insurance for pregnancy, labor, delivery and newborn baby care.  It became a mandatory benefit of insurance plans in the United States in 2014. For the first time in US history, women were assured access to maternity coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  

Maternity Coverage is now considered an essential benefit offered by all ACA health insurance plans.   Coverage includes ‘outpatient services’ such as: screenings for gestational diabetes, lab work, and pre and postnatal check-ups.  Coverage of ‘inpatient services’ include hospitalization, physician fees, medications, baby care, counseling for breast-feeding and breast pump rental.

So, if you’re a Massage Therapist planning a birth or adoption, and do not have Employer provided health insurance, ACA is a viable alternative.  You may compare plans and make a purchase at: www.AffordableCareCalifornia.org/Coverage-CA. It’s important to know that your baby’s birth triggers a ‘special 60-day enrollment period’ during which you can enroll or change health plans.

Note: Massage Therapists who are Members of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), may select an optional health insurance plan at HealthInsurance.com .  The web-site offers a wide variety of leading health insurance companies such as Blue Cross and Blue Shield, HealthNet, Kaiser Permanente, PacifiCare and more. For AMTA member assistance choosing a plan call 1-855-345-0533.


What Massage Therapists Need to Know About Maternity Leave?


The terms ‘maternity leave’, ‘paternity leave’, and ‘parental leave’ refer to the time a parent-to-be takes off from work to prepare for the delivery and care for their newborn baby.   The term may extend beyond the birth mother to include fathers, domestic partners and adoptive parents.

It is important to note that the US Federal Government does not guarantee maternity leave (paid leave) benefits to working women.  Also, research by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) revealed that only 60% of employers offered 12 weeks of maternity leave, which may or may not be fully paid. 

So, what is a Professional Massage Therapist to do to maximize her income if she plans to have or adopt a baby? Below are a few options:

Option #1 – Employer Provided “Paid Leave” (aka – Short-term Disability Insurance or STD)

Some companies say they offer paid leave when it’s really short-term disability insurance (SDI). SDI is private insurance that replaces part of your income if an injury, illness or pregnancy prevents you from working. Some employers provide group STD policies as part of their benefits packages.

STD coverage can offer income if you miss work due to late-stage pregnancy, pregnancy complications, childbirth, and recovery.  Most STD plans cover between 50 to 100 percent of your salary for six weeks of leave after birth or adoption. It may be longer if you’ve had a C-section or other medical complications. Massage Therapists who wish to become pregnant should speak with their Human Resources representative to discuss specific eligibility requirements and plan benefits.

Option #2 – Shared “Short Term Disability” (STD Benefits)

Some Massage Therapist employers offer pregnant employees (who qualify) an optional Short-Term Disability Insurance plan they may elect prior to getting pregnant.  In this case, the plan is typically administered by a third party and policy payments may be paid, at least in part, by the employer. Since this kind of plan must be elected before you become pregnant, it will require some fore-thought and planning.

Option #3 – State Disability Insurance – (SDI Benefits)

California’s State Disability Insurance (SDI) Program provides short-term Disability Insurance (DI) income replacement benefits to eligible workers in need of time off work. You may be eligible for DI if you are unable to work due to non-work-related illness or injury, pregnancy, or childbirth.

Note: Check back next week for Part 2 of 2