Holistic Massage School Shares Five Strategies for Grocery Shopping for Optimal Nutrition

“We all know that food ordered at a local Diner or Buffet can be filled with empty calories and ingredients that aren’t always the healthiest” said Harmony Curtiss, Director for Healing Hands School of Holistic Health – Laguna Hills (Healing Hands).  “By selecting and cooking your own meals, you are empowered to take charge of your nutritional intake which is essential to Holistic Health”, she continued.

According to researchers in Australia who examined the habits of 1, 136 women, food shoppers who made a habit of planning meals made better shopping decisions.  The evidence showed that those who pre-planned and shopped with grocery lists ate more healthfully than those who did not.  Shopping choices for these women included more fruits, vegetables and healthier product options. The study also found that approaching grocery shopping as a holistic practice to nurture yourself (and your family) as opposed to a chore, made a huge difference.

To ensure that your next trip to the grocery store is one you’ll look forward to, the Faculty at Healing Hands has put together five ‘Insider Tips’.  These tips will help you navigate grocery stores and find the best products, so you receive the best return for your nutritional dollar.

Tip #1 – Even those of us who do read labels acknowledge they can be extremely confusing. Fortunately, experts say that as a rule, the fewer the ingredients listed on the label, the healthier the food.  So, the best option is to select the product with the shortest list of ingredients.

Tip #2 – Observe your product’s positioning on the shelf.  Be aware that the big food companies pay “slotting fees” to position their products on the shelves at eye level.  The tactic usually leaves the top and bottom shelves open for healthier, more natural alternatives.   So, be prepared to look high and low for the most nutritious options.

Tip #3 –Shop the circumference of the store to find foods with the best nutritional values.  In most grocery stores, the healthiest food items can be found along the walls, rather than within internal isles.  Fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and fresh meat, poultry and seafood can all be found around the edges of the store. Typically, nutritionally less potent, processed food items are moved to the inner isles, and often can be avoided all together.

Tip #4 – Remember the Nutrition Pyramid and be sure to include your daily requirement of fresh fruits, vegetables, grains and low-fat protein sources when planning meals and creating a shopping list.  The Pyramid model does not take into account dietary restrictions of all individuals, so learning what YOUR individual needs are, is equally important.  Having healthy selections readily available can keep your blood sugar balanced and curb unhealthy food cravings and impulsive eating.

Tip #5 –  Beware of deceptive marketing tactics. Many conglomerate companies use words that sound healthy to ‘spin’ the description of their food product.  For example, the term ‘Whole grains’ ensures the product has not been refined and stripped of most of its nutritional value.  The term ‘Multi-grain’ on the other hand, is deceptive as it may or may not have been refined, so it offers no guarantee of its nutritional value.  Learning differences such as these can help you avoid consuming foods with empty calories.

At Healing Hands, our wonderful Faculty  inspires students with the most comprehensive massage therapy and holistic health courses in southern California! Please see the full schedule of courses. Founded in 1992 Healing Hands has prepared more than 7,000 Graduates for rewarding careers as Professional Massage Therapists and can do the same for you. If you’d like to learn more about our programs, please contact us. 

Healing Hands School: Building Careers and Lifelong Relationships


We pride ourselves on our dedicated staff, which average many years with our schools. Their passion for massage and holistic healing resonates not only with our team but also with the students that enroll at Healing Hands School. Some of our staff members were our students once upon a time!

We want to share a post with you that Pilar Chandler posted on her Instagram recently.

Chandler posted her Teacher of the Year honor from April 2011 with this note, “Found this today… sweet memories! I taught massage therapy at Healing Hands School for about 10 years! Right before I left on sabbatical, they awarded me teach of the year! I fell in love with the school the day I walked in. I sat down in the classroom and then made it a part of my life for the next decade! It was such a wonderful environment for growth and learning and healing, (I am) forever grateful for my time and experiences there. I found my calling and my voice and so much more!”

We couldn’t have been more touched by Pilar’s words.

Paul Curtiss responded, “Awww, Pilar it was wonderful to teach you, then to watch you become a teacher, and now to think of how many you have touched. Your healing work is an inspiration to all of us!”

Tera Ratinoff then shared her experience, “I finished my Holistic Healing Practitioner over eight years ago, and she’s still my favorite teacher.”

Michal Ettinger also shared her sentiments, “A special school indeed. And you were definitely worth of teacher of the year.”

Jess Dyrenforth, ART, HHP, shared her experiences with Healing Hands School and Pilar Chandler. “You were my sports massage teacher. So grateful to have had the experience, and tap into your vast knowledge.”

The common thing is that we all had a love for holistic healing. What is also important is that we walked away with these lasting friendships.

People come to our school searching for a better way to give back to the universe, and we are fortunate to guide these people through the techniques and to help set them up for a successful and enriching career in massage therapy and holistic healing.

Are you considering a career change? Are you looking to start a new life with a new purpose? We can help.

We help students every day with financial aid options to cover the costs of tuition. Once they’ve completed the coursework, we can help place them with some of the top spas and massage therapy practices in Southern California.

Thank you, Pilar, for celebrating your honor and your passion for what you do.

Do you have stories or memories you’d like to share?   We’d love to hear your experiences.  Tag us on social using the hashtag #healinghandsschool.

If you’d like to learn more about our programs, please contact us.

Lost Your Job? Financial Aid Could Help Pay For Your Massage School Tuition at Healing Hands School of Holistic Health

Losing a job can be downright terrifying. 

While some may be able to bounce back quickly, others can face hardship. They also may end up asking themselves, “Is it possible that it is time for a change?”

We work with people nearly every day that have come out of a job loss. Those people now look forward to the future with a fulfilling career of massage therapy and holistic health.   They likely felt what you might be going through now. However, they were determined to seek a rewarding career. 

One of the programs that help fund tuition for students like you is the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).  

WIOA is a program that provides comprehensive retraining of the nation’s workforce development programs.   This includes people recently laid off.  It can also include adults over the 18 years of age who qualify as low-income.

Each case is different, but you won’t know whether or not if you qualify unless you talk to a member of our team at one of our locations in Southern California.

The WIOA program helps provide both grant and loan funding to qualified candidates, and you may find that the money can pay for some or even all of your tuition!

With a Healing Hands School of Holistic Health certification, you will find yourself immediately in high demand.  Imagine hand picking your next position at the top spas, sports medicine therapy, and elder care facilities in the State of California.

If you have ever dreamed about working in a field that is rewarding, has flexible schedules, and most importantly fun, now is the time to contact us to find out what you may be eligible for in financial aid.

See If You Qualify Today

We have tremendous experience placing people just like you in one of our programs.  Would you like to see what the Healing Hands School of Holistic Health family is like?   We invite you to check out our Facebook page and see what we are all about. 

Want immediate information on your financial aid eligibility, click here and fill out the form with your details.   A Healing Hands team member will get you the information immediately. 







Holistic Massage School Offers Memorial Day Special for Veterans and Military Members

“San Diego County is known for having the largest percentage of Veterans in California”, said Paula Curtiss, Founding Director for Healing Hands School of Holistic Health.  “This year, in addition to honoring those who lost their lives, we want to recognize all Veterans and Active Service Members for their service and sacrifice.  Toward that end, Healing Hands will be offering complimentary, one-hour Massages to Service Members who present a U.S. Military ID at any of our three SoCal locations”, she continued.

 Healing Hands’, “We’ve Got Your Back!” Memorial Day special will run Tuesday, May 29th and Wednesday, May 30th at all three Healing Hands’ Student Massage Clinics.  Veterans may call to schedule their free massage during the school’s office hours which are 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM Mondays through Fridays.  (See contact info in the closing paragraph below.)

Paula’s appreciation for Military members is nothing new to the Faculty and Students at Healing Hands. Aware that massage can be of significant value in treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, (PTSD), affecting close to 50% of Vets returning from war zones, Paula created a Community Internship Program.  The Program has given students opportunity to provide therapeutic massage to Veterans at Recuperative Care Centers, Wounded Warrior Clinics, Stand Down events and Resident Facilities for more than 25 years. 

Veteran Student at Healing Hands School

The symptoms of PTSD include feelings of hyper-arousal, high-anxiety, digestive disorders, super-vigilance and insomnia.  These symptoms are experienced when Cortisol levels (stress hormones) are elevated for extended periods of time. Massage therapies like Circulatory Massage and Deep Tissue have been found to substantially reduce Cortisol levels and associated symptoms.  In addition, studies found that Massage also increases Serotonin and Dopamine (good feeling hormones) levels.  Higher levels increase one’s feelings of well-being, reduce feelings of anxiety, and relieve Insomnia.  Massage Therapists help to facilitate the neuro-chemical changes that allow our body’s healing systems and processes to kick in. 

Healing Hands students take pride in serving U.S. Veterans, and it shows.  Many Veterans on the receiving end of our students’ therapeutic massages became interested in learning massage themselves.  In addition to fulfilling a growing demand for therapeutic massage in our communities, we discovered that Veteran/Graduates are uniquely qualified to work with service men and women still suffering from the demands of their military service.

 Veterans interested in a career as a Professional Massage Therapist can count on Healing Hands for the best Massage Therapy and Holistic Health training available!  Approved by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education, Healing Hands is authorized to accept Veterans Benefits (Title IX and Post 9/11, chapter 30, 31, 33, and 35), on behalf of Military Service Members who qualify.  All that’s needed is for the Veteran/applicant to submit a Certificate of Eligibility when enrolling.

Healing Hands boasts two nationally accredited Certification Programs, 80+ Massage and Holistic Health courses, plus an unrivaled number of career placement opportunities, which gives YOU the competitive edge!  At Healing Hands, you can begin a rewarding career as a Professional Massage Therapist in less than 1 year. Learn more on-line at www.HealingHandsSchool.com or call us at (949) 305-2722 in Laguna Hills, (760) 746-9634 in Escondido, or (858) 505-1100 in San Diego.


Holistic Massage School Teams up to Host Therapeutic Massage Workshops

Paula Curtiss, Founding Director for Healing Hands School of Holistic Health, (HHSHH), recently announced the release of two new health workshops for massage enthusiasts and their families.  Teaming up with area massage clinics and spas, Paula designed these information packed workshops to empower attendees of all ages.  Offered on a first come, first serve basis and delivered at the hosting Spa or Clinic’s location, these workshops serve to raise awareness of Healing Hands School while boosting memberships for spas and clinics, making it a win/win for everyone.

The first workshop to be released in 2015, Holistic Health and Wellness for All –   is a two-hour workshop offered to Spa/Clinic clients, employees, and their families.  This workshop touches on the physical, mental, and spiritual components of Holistic Health.  Attendees learn simple yet powerful holistic practices to increase their body’s energy, strength, flexibility and overall health.   This workshop has already received rave reviews from Spa patrons and has inspired new ideas for future workshops.

The second workshop, to be promoted for Mother’s Day 2015, Kneading Your Mother–  is a one-hour workshop for Spa/Clinic clients and their mothers.  This workshop addresses common problem areas of the body, and discusses how bad posture and alignment patterns can cause tension, pain, stiffness and even injury.    Paula also demonstrates correct body alignment, proper body-mechanics and exercises to help Moms of all ages keep their bodies strong and flexible.   

Credited with developing the first Massage Training Programs for community colleges in the State, Paula and husband, Neha, are considered trail-blazers of Holistic Health education in California.  Since starting Healing Hands School in 1992, they’ve prepared more than 6,000 students for satisfying and rewarding careers as Massage Therapists and Holistic health professionals. 

Currently, HHSHH offers two top-notch certification Programs and over 80 massage and holistic health classes.  Nationally Accredited and State Approved, Healing Hands is also the school of choice for So Cal therapists seeking continuing education credits required by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB).    

For more information on Healing Hands Health Workshops, or to learn more about Programs and classes offered at  Healing Hands School of Holistic Health, visit us on-line at www.HealingHandsSchool.com or call us in Escondido at (760) 746-9364 or in Laguna Hills at (949) 305-2722.

Holistic Massage School Announces 2015 Winter Schedule and Quarterly Newsletter

Hello Healers,

Welcome 2015!  This New Year, California massage therapists see our profession becoming more formalized. As of January 1, 2015, the California Massage Therapy Council [camtc.org] requires new criteria shutterstock_152680601for state certification. State certified massage therapists must complete 500 hours of training from an approved massage therapy school, and pass the massage therapy exam administered by MBLx. Healing Hands School is proud to say that our pass rate for the standardized national exam is 100%! We are ready to help our students pass the state exam and enter the profession well trained in their hands-on skills as well as well versed in the body of terminology utilized in our profession. Paula Curtiss’ course, Standardized Test Practice Review, is designed to help students design and practice their study plan to be perfectly prepared for this new state requirement.

 This Quarter we welcome Faun Parliman back to our Laguna Hills classroom. Faun teaches sublime energy healing work in her Reiki and Spiritual Healing classes. Ken Smith brings his newly expanded Structural Integration work in 2 formats: Principals of Structural Integration and 10 Sessions of Structural Integration. Join Ken to learn from his many years of experience as a highly successful massage therapist and structural worker. In Escondido, we welcome 2 new Guest teachers: Frida Hauksdottir brings her skills as an Osteopathic Manual Therapist to teach Therapeutic Mobilizations. Learn how to help the joints move efficiently, free of pain. Also, Petra Scotti-White is offering our first Yoga Therapy course to Healing Hands. Join Petra to learn how yoga poses and moves can be integrated into your work with clients.  Check out the 2015 Winter Schedule!

This quarter’s Holistic Health Practitioner graduates span the breadth of our school’s demographics. This quarter’s HHP graduates include: veterans from our Armed Services; young men just starting their lives as working adults; highly motivated graduates who have secured work in exotic locales like Alaska; diligent men and women who stepped out of their normal life experience to participate in Healing Hands School’s program courses; the soft spoken and gentile; and the colorful and witty. Please join us as we congratulate Alma Alvarez, Patty Anderson, Christina Anthony, Julie Arriola, Amber Bennett, Catherine Castronovo, Kerry Catori, Teryn Concagh, Robert Culver, Emily Rose Danaher, Alicia M. Dirksen, Brittney Edwards, Steven Gonzales, Charlene Goodman, Benjamin Gunn, Benjamin Hannum, Jamie Harb, Kristen Jacobs, Valarie Johnston, Mishell  Kuveke, Alexandra Paige Lyon, Brianna “Jo” Martinez, Torrey Mason, Sharon Matos, Taylor McCollum, Tracy Nonaca, Ashley Norris, Faviola Perez, Natalie Ramos, Arianna Reyes, Madeline Steward, Alex Wade, Ashley White, and Rheya Yancy. We look forward to hearing of your future successes and thank you choosing Healing Hands School of Holistic Health.

As our industry sees growth and continued re-organization, Healing Hands School is proud to continue our mission of providing a wide variety of courses for the student and the therapist to further their education and enhance their career.

Happy New Year 2015!

In Peace and Health, Paula & Neha
All of us at Healing Hands


Holistic Massage School Discusses Strategies to Reduce a Women’s Risk for Breast Cancer

Did you know…..that according to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is second only to lung cancer when accounting for cancer deaths among women in the USA?  In fact, in 2013, an estimated 296,880 new cases of breast cancer were diagnosed, with approximately 39,620 women expected to die as a result.  Risk factors for breast cancer include: age, race, ethnicity, genetics, personal & family history of cancer, exposure to estrogen and progesterone, hormone replacement therapy, and a variety of lifestyle factors.

 “Although many of our risk factors for developing bshutterstock_131745701reast cancer are beyond our control”, said Paula Curtiss, Founding Director for Healing Hands School of Holistic Health.  “there are still many holistic health practices proven to be effective in lowering a woman’s risk.  Below is a list of my top ten”, she continued.

  1. Maintain a Healthy Weight – Postmenopausal women who are overweight or obese have an increased risk of breast cancer, and they have a higher risk of it returning after treatment.
  2. Engage in Daily Physical Activity – Regular exercise helps women maintain a healthy body weight, lowers hormone levels, and causes positive changes in a women’s metabolism and immune factors.
  3. Get Massaged Regularly – Research on massage in people with breast cancer have shown that massage offers both physical and emotional benefits such as: feeling less pain, reduced anxiety, feeling less depressed, increased levels of dopamine which produces feelings  of well-being, and an increase in white blood cells that boost the immune system .
  4. Avoid Hormones – Hormone Replacement Therapy and birth control pills can increase your risk of developing breast cancer.
  5. Reduce Alcohol Consumption – Current research suggests that having more than one to two alcoholic drinks, (including beer & wine) per day raises the risk of breast cancer, as well as recurrence after treatment.
  6. Develop the habit of healthy eating – A diet that includes many fruits and vegetables and fewer animal fats, have proven to provide many health benefits.
  7. Self-care – A routine (bi-monthly) self-exam can help detect lumps, bumps, and other changes to breast tissue, so you can seek a doctor’s care early on as early detection saves lives.
  8. Educate yourself on the role genetics and genetic mutations (ie: BRCA1 and BRCA2) play.
  9. Understand your family history of breast cancer and other cancers that may affect your chances.
  10. Seek preventative care! Mammograms are still considered the best defense against breast cancer as early detection substantially increases survival rates.

shutterstock_133339211At Healing Hands School of Holistic Health, you can learn all about Massage, Diet/Nutrition, Herbal remedies and many other Holistic Health practices for optimal health.  For more information about our school or the 80+ holistic health courses we offer, visit us online at www.HealingHandsSchool.com  or call us at (949) 305-2722 in Laguna Hills or (760) 746-9364 in Escondido.


Citation: American Cancer Society. Breast Cancer Facts & Figures 2013-2014. Atlanta: American Cancer Society, Inc. 2013.)

Massage School Reports Changes to CAMTC Certification & State Licensing Requirements

Hello Healing Hands,
The California Massage Therapy Council has made significant changes to state certification requirements.
I. As of January 1, 2014, no more 250 hour Massage Therapy Certification
  1. If you have completed 250 hours and your application is received by CAMTC by December 31,2014, you may still receive a 250 Massage Practitioner Certificationshutterstock_152680601
II. As of January 1, 2015 all applicants are required to have 500 hours and pass an approved exam
  1. You may upgrade from CMP to CMT without taking exam if you do so before December  31, 2014
  2.  CAMTC approves of the following exams: Massage and Bodywork Licensing Exam [MBLEx]; the National Certification Exam for Therapeutic Massage [NCETM]; and National Certification Exam of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork [NCETMB]
We are here to help you attain your personal and professional goals in the field of holistic health. Please contact us so we can help.
Stay in touch!

Holistic Massage School Acknowledges 22nd Anniversary

Founded by Paula and Neha Curtiss in 1992, Healing Hands School of Holistic Health (HHSHH) celebrated its twenty-second Anniversary on Saturday, February 8th, 2014.  The school, which has classrooms in both Escondido and Laguna Hills, California, boasts two Massage Therapy and Holistic Health Programs and over 80 electives/modalities for students to choose from. 

Nationally accredited and approved for Government funding via Federal Student Aid, Veterans Benefits, and the Workforce Investment Act, HHSHH is considered a path-blazer in Holistic Health Education.  Over the past 22 years the school has earned a reputation for turning out exceptional Massage Therapists and Practitioners, putting graduates in high-demand throughout San Diego and Orange counties.  To date, the school has prepared over 6,000 students for successful careers in the industry and is still going strong.


Earning their living as Massage Therapists, while raising a young family, Paula and Neha knew back in 1992 that they had something more to offer.   Believing that Massage Therapy is a Healing Art as well as a Science, after much discussion and meditation on the subject, the couple identified an aligned vision: To teach therapeutic bodywork so that the massage student not only learns the techniques, but is inspired by the art and craft of the work.  

After identifying their vision, the couple turned their attention to answering the question: How can we teach hands-on massage skills while engendering deep respect for the body and compassion for each other.  Looking to past instructors, Western Science and the disciplines of Eastern philosophy, they found their answer.  They would develop curriculum that required the student to experience both sides of the massage, give them a comprehensive understanding of the structure and function of the body, and provide ample opportunity for them to gain practical experience.  Most importantly, they would do so by creating a classroom environment of trust, respect and joyful discovery.

When acknowledging the school’s 22nd anniversary, Paula said, “I want to thank our, dedicated students, exceptional Faculty and hard-working Staff for our school’s many accomplishments.  If not for them and the 6,000 graduates who believed in our mission, our vision would not have become a reality”.  Neha, the school’s Director of Education added:  “We’re very fortunate to have attracted Massage Therapy and Holistic Health educators who specialize in their subjects and have a tremendous respect for the Healing Arts.  They have been the driving force behind our success, not only imparting their knowledge and skills, but also by modeling the sensitivity and awareness necessary to become a solid practitioner.”

Currently, HHSHH has more than 350 students interested in pursuing a career the  US Department of Labor reports as being the fastest growing in the Nation. The reason; new technologies can now confirm the therapeutic benefits of Massage making it a fully accepted adjunct to mainstream medicine.  Now, in addition to traditional settings like Day Spas, Gyms and Resorts, Massage therapy is also being offered at Doctors’ and Chiropractic offices, Physical Therapy Clinics, Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Rehab Centers, and even in Corporate settings.  With the average starting salary between $15 and $45 an hour, it not only offers variety, it allows practitioners to achieve financial independence. 

Paula and Neha Curtiss believe that becoming a true Healer, requires a balance of academic and technical knowledge, clinical skills, manual dexterity, sensitivity and awareness.  If you have a passion for promoting health and self-care, yet crave autonomy and a profession you can take anywhere, then it may be time to consider the highly gratifying career of a Massage Therapist or Holistic Health Practitioner. For more on HHSHH and our programs, please call us at (949) 305-2722, or visit us online at www.HealingHandsSchool.com.