…Especially in the case of my Mother’s Day massage giveaway contest. I only received one entry this time around, but it was one that made a profound impact on my heart. My thoughts and prayers go out to Alexis’ mom, whom I look forward to bringing some peace and R&R to her mind, body and soul.

My mom definitely deserves an hour of rejuvenation with Curtis, or as I like to call him, the magic muscle man… It has been a difficult year for my mother. She is struggling with cancer and the past couple of weeks have been especially hard. She is taking an experimental drug that is affecting her physically and emotionally. My mom is a very strong, independent and amazing woman, but this ailment had affected her mind and body. I know of no one better than Curtis to help her reconnect the body and mind to create a flow of positive energy that I know she needs more than anything right now. I love you mom.


When it comes to our mothers, we really need more than one holiday a year to honor all of the love, support and hard work they’ve put in year after year, day after day. But, we still should take the time to appreciate Mom on Mother’s Day, even if it is just another greeting card holiday. So what better way to say “thank you” than 60 minutes of R&R and “me” time?

Don't you think your mom deserves some R&R?

This Mother’s Day, I am giving away one free 60-minute massage to one lucky mom! No other gift can provide the ultimate in pampering, as well as rejuvenation, than a one-of-a-kind massage. Help your mom relax, sooth any aches and pains, and restore balance.

Entering this giveaway is easy. All you have to do is tell me why your mom deserves a session of relaxation and rejuvenation by leaving a comment here or in the comments section below.

I’ll review the submissions, select the mom that I believe is most deserving, and reveal the winner here on my blog on Saturday, May 8, 2010. The winner can give the good news to Mom on Mother’s Day. 🙂 Now what are you waiting for… tell me why your mama deserves a massage!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Curtis G. Souza

The fine print: Submissions must be posted by Friday, May 7, 2010, 5 p.m. PST. Winner must be at least 18 years of age and a resident of Merced, Stanislaus or San Joaquin Counties. To be eligible, you must leave your correct e-mail address because that is how you will be contacted. Massage to be redeemed at I Am Yoga or Fontis Spa & Salon in Turlock, Calif. before July 30, 2010.

It’s official! We have a winner of a free, 60-minute massage courtesy of yours truly. A special thank you to Chris M. for submitting this comment on his wife Cassie’s behalf. What a great hubby. Congratulations, Cassie!

I would like to nominate my wonderful wife Cassie. She is a stay at home mom who chases our little ones around the house all day so I can work. I work a lot so she puts in the extra hours as well. She never fails to keep the house in order (as much order as there can be… lol!) and to have dinner ready when I get home. Not to mention the full time online classes that she takes, I know she doesn’t get much “her” time.

I couldn’t do what I do without her, and I know a pampering is always in order. Thanks for considering her for a free massage!


Stay tuned for more contests coming in the near future. Thanks to everyone who participated and helped spread the word!

Thanks to everyone who participated!

With Spring literally right around the corner and the sunshine teasing us these past few weeks, I wanted to do something special for my Facebook fans. A little Spring cleaning for the soul, if you will.

You might be asking yourself, OK, Curtis… what are you up to? I am giving away one free 60-minute massage to one lucky fan! Massage therapy relaxes muscles, easing and soothing your aches and pains. It rejuvenates — restoring balance to our body and being, making us better for all the things life throws our way.

Do you need a bit of R&R? Enter my free massage giveaway!

How can you enter? All you have to do is tell me why you — or someone you know — deserves a session of relaxation and rejuvenation. To enter, leave a comment here or in the comments section below to nominate yourself or a loved one to receive the gift of touch.

I’ll review the submissions the weekend of March 19, 2010, select the person that I believe is most deserving of a free massage, and reveal the winner here on my blog on Monday, March 22, 2010. Good luck!


Curtis G. Souza

The fine print: Submissions must be posted by Friday, March 19, 2010, 7 p.m. PST. Winner must be at least 18 years of age and a resident of Merced, Stanislaus or San Joaquin Counties. To be eligible, you must leave your correct e-mail address because that is how you will be contacted. Massage to be redeemed at I Am Yoga or Fontis Spa & Salon in Turlock, Calif. before May 1, 2010.

When it comes to your massage, you want to get the most out of your session – whether that’s reducing stress, relieving pain or just seeking some much-need relaxation. An experienced therapist should be able to pick up many clues about your needs through an initial interview before the session. Even by how you sit, talk and walk can clue a massage therapist in to your needs!

What you divulge to your masseuse can be critical to a successful bodywork session. Don’t hesitate to discuss particular issues you would like addressed (i.e. tension, knots or lower back pain) and feel free to ask about the techniques your therapist will use in your session.

A skilled massage therapist will be in tune with your body and energy. But if they aren't, let them know!

Massage is a safe therapeutic art, but information can be key to a successful session. Before you get started, make sure to let your therapist know about any acute or chronic medical conditions you may have. Depending on your situation, massage may be used cautiously, or not at all. For example, massage should be avoided when a person has a fever, open wounds, or particular skin disorders. People with long-term medical conditions, such as diabetes, cancer or osteoporosis, should seek a physican’s advice before massage. With medical supervision, a trained masseuse often helps ease long-term pain and stress, usually with gentle strokes and personalized techniques.

During the session, vocalize your needs as they arise. If the room is too warm or cold, speak up. The massage session is for YOU! Your therapist knows this, but may not be sensitive to your particular needs. (As a therapist, it’s my hope that your masseuse is tuned into your physical clues.)

Herbal and aromatherapeutic oils add healing benefits to massage. If you’re sensitive to an oil, if you’d like your therapist to use more/less massage oil, or if you don’t care for the way your oil smells – let your masseuse know! We welcome your feedback, and it’s important to us that you get the most out of your session.

It’s also important to distinguish between comfortable and uncomfortable pain during your massage. Feel free to ask your therapist for less or more pressure, depending on your needs. You might experience some initial discomfort throughout sensitive areas of your body, or during deep-tissue work, but this should go away once your muscles relax a few minutes later. This is comfortable pain. But if you’re feeling pain that causes you to wince, cry out, or tense up, it’s probably not doing you any good.

The healing touch of massage is one of the best gifts you can give your body. Be candid with your massage therapist so you can be sure to get the most out of this wonderful gift!

It’s common that some of my first-time clients come to me and ask, “Curt, there are so many different kinds of massages out there. Which one is right for me?” As my old teachers used to say, there’s no such thing as a dumb question. There ARE many options when it comes to massage therapy. In this post, I hope to identify which one may be right for you.

The most common form of massage is the Swedish Massage. Often the first massage technique that we therapists learn, it’s best known for its ability to bring the body into a state of relaxation. This type of massage is reserved to the upper most layers of the skin and muscle, and doesn’t involve deep tissue. A Swedish massage is an excellent choice for those seeking their very first massage.

A sports massage is great for preventing and treating sports-related injuries.

Next up is the Sports Massage. This type of massage is great for treating sports-related injuries, and can be effective in preventing injuries. During a Sports Massage session, muscles and ligaments are stretched and lengthened, resulting in improved athletic performance.  Just what every athlete wants, right?

Another well-known form of massage is the Deep Tissue Massage. A personal favorite for many, a deep tissue massage great for treating various types of chronic pain. As the name suggests, this massage variation goes deep into the muscle and tissue. One thing to note about this particular form is that due to the amount of friction used, patients may experience a slight degree of discomfort during or immediately following the treatment. But you shouldn’t worry – most people experience a little tenderness or soreness post-massage.

Up next? The Hot Stone Massage. Many of my patients really enjoy this detour from a traditional Swedish or Deep-Tissue Massage every once and awhile. This form of massage uses heated stones that are placed on certain points in the body. Widely believed to bring balance to the body, the heat from the stones relaxes tight and tense muscles. And it simply feels good!

Reflexology can help relieve tension in other related areas of our body.

Reflexology is more involved than simply massaging the feet, contrary to popular belief. It’s a natural healing art based on the principle that there are reflexes in the feet, hands and ears — and that stimulation and massage on these points will connect with various points throughout the body. Reflexology can relieve tension, improve circulation and help promote the natural function of the related areas of the body.

Aromatherapy Massage uses one or more scented plant oils, known as essential oils, to address specific needs. The massage therapist can select oils that help relax, reduce stress, energize and/or balance, based on the needs of the client. One of the most common essential oils used in aromatherapy massage is lavender. Aromatherapy massage is an excellent choice for those with stress-related conditions.

Spa Therapies is a type of massage commonly found at spas and resorts. It may be a combination of other types of massage, including aromatherapy, deep tissue, reflexology, hydrotherapy and much more.

Thai Massage is like doing yoga, without you having to do any work! This style aligns the energies of the body using gentle pressure on specific points, where the therapist moves and stretches you into a sequence of postures. More energizing than other forms, it also reduces stress, improves flexibility and range of motion.

A Thai Massage is like doing yoga, without you having to do any work!

A form of Japanese bodywork, Shiatsu uses localized finger pressure in a rhythmic sequence on acupuncture energy pathways to perform a deep tissue impact. Each point is held for 2-8 seconds to improve the flow of energy and help the body regain equilibrium. Although the firm pressure is applied, people are pleasantly surprised to find themselves uber-relaxed without any soreness post-massage.

We can’t forget Pregnancy Massage. Also known as Prenatal Massage, this form is used to help promote circulation, relaxation and reduce stress in expectant mothers. I must stress that it is critical that pregnant women use a professional to perform this massage, as too much stimulation may have a negative effect on the baby.

Prenatal massage can help expectant mothers with increased circulation and relaxation.

Of course, with any massage, you should first seek the opinion of your massage therapist. Tell them how you’re feeling. Do you feel stress, tension or pain in any part of your body? Do you have any current injuries and illnesses that the therapist should be aware of? Any reputable massage therapist will ask you these questions (and more) before your treatment starts. Hopefully, this post has helped you identify which style of massage therapy might be right for you!

Still looking for the perfect gift for loved ones and friends? Give the gift of R&R through a therapeutic massage.

Give the gift of relaxation and a renewed spirit!

Buy a gift certificate from me, and I’ll give you a second gift certificate for HALF OFF! Call 831.840.5614 to get your gifts today.

*Offer valid through 12/25/09.

Most people don’t equate massage therapy as a means to a healthy life. Sure, you’ll see the doctor several times a year, pump antibiotics and vitamins into your system, torture yourself with the latest fad-diet and workout like a crazy person towards that “perfect” body. But have you considered the benefits of getting a regular massage every four to six weeks? If you haven’t, I urge you to think again!

I’ve been a massage therapist for more than four years, and to this day, I am still amazed at how many different ways this beneficial form of therapy contributes to overall health and wellness. Here’s a list of 10 reasons why you should get into the habit of restoring your mind, body and soul through regular massage.

Massage therapy contributes to overall health and wellness.

1. You don’t have to live with aches and pain. Relieve it!

A frequent massage can provide a considerable reduction in pain. Whether you have pain in your back, neck, shoulder, joints or muscles, or suffer from arthritis, migraine headaches, Fibromyalgia or muscle injuries, coming in for a regular massage can release all of this unnecessary tension.

2. Say goodbye to stress!

Stress is something we all encounter – but how we manage that stress is key to living a healthy, balanced life. According to Ronda Del Boccio, a Nationally Certified Therapist of Massage and Bodywork, experts believe that stress accounts for 80-90% of all illness. Can you believe that? We could significantly reduce much of what ails us today if we listen to what our mind and body is telling us – it’s time to RELAX!

When you come in for a massage, you allow your body and mind to delve into a deep state of relaxation, which relieves muscle tension and lowers your blood pressure. In addition, you’ll feel more alert and revitalized – not just physically, but mentally too.

3. Banish your body’s built-up toxins.

Massage helps remove waste products from your muscles, tissues, and skin more easily. According to the American Massage Therapy Association, a massage can release the lactic and carbonic acids built up in your muscles during exercise (these acids are the reason you feel pain and occasional cramping post-workout), thus increasing muscle recovery rates. Why do you think pro-athletes receive regular massages? (Hint: It’s not because they are spoiled!

4. Find your inner R&R.

I can’t recount how many clients I see who benefit from a regular massage as an alternative to coping with depression. When you treat yourself to a regular massage, you’re doing more for yourself than you realize! A massage can boost your self-esteem, improve your mood, reduce the symptoms of depression, diminish anxiety, and alleviate insomnia. Moreover, there’s a bonus for all of you ladies – massage also can ease PMS symptoms.

Massage can improve your mood, reduce unwanted stress and eliminate toxins from your body.

Massage can improve your mood, reduce unwanted stress and eliminate toxins from your body.

5. Get your groove on with better flexibility and mobility!

Massage therapy is a fantastic way to improve one’s motor skills, and it maintains posture in the skeletal system. Think of how much better you’ll feel with all of the “kinks” worked out!

6. Fight the signs of aging.

Perk up your immune system functions. Alleviate muscle aches and stiffness. Improve your tissue elasticity and joint flexibility. Enhance your blood and lymph circulation. Renew your once-healthy, vibrant skin. ‘Nuff said.

7. Get better – faster.

Accelerate the healing process when it comes to your muscles, tissues and skin. Massage therapy is great for athletes, as well as for those recovering from surgery or workout soreness.

8. You won’t just feel better – you’ll LOOK better!

A regular massage invigorates skin gland production. What does that mean? Clear, healthy skin. Studies have also shown that massage therapy can help reduce cellulite and superficial scar tissue.

9. Duh! It also feels AMAZING.

Who doesn’t love a good massage? Seeing your massage therapist on a regular basis can be a wonderful experience for deep relaxation, leaving your body and mind feeling rejuvenated and at ease.

10. It’s a healthy investment in you.

If the first nine reasons didn’t convince you, then think of it this way – when was the last time you were able to take a vacation and retreat from the everyday stresses of life? A regular massage will not only make you look and feel years younger, it’s an opportunity to give your mind and body a mini-vacation without leaving far from home. Cheers to good health!

Welcome to my blog, Balanced Mind & Soul. My goal is to provide helpful tips, pointers and information about improved health and wellness through massage and other techniques. Feel free to provide feedback at any time… I would love to hear from you. Blessings!

About Balanced Mind & Soul

Balanced Mind & Soul is a massage blog written by a practicing, nationally certified licensed massage therapist, and offers tips, pointers and information about improved health and wellness.

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