Q&A with Harmony Curtiss, Laguna Hills Branch Manager

This is the 1st of a 3 part series of questions about Healing Hands School of Holistic Health.  The questions are answered by Harmony Curtiss, Branch Manager in the Laguna Hills location

Q – Tell us about Healing Hands School of Holistic Health’s (HHSHH) history and faculty.

Answer – The Laguna Hills Massage Therapy & Holistic Health School started in 1992 when Paula and Neha Curtiss designed and taught the first 100-hour Massage Technician course [now called ‘Circulatory’] at MiraCosta Community College in Oceanside.  It was the first massage course to be offered at any community college in the state of California. The course was immediately successful, and Paula and Neha soon developed and taught the curriculum for the Healing Hands 500-hour massage therapy program. Healing Hands School then expanded to offer a 1000-hour Holistic Health Practitioner program and began seeking Instructors who specialize in the courses they teach. For example, our Hot-stone Massage teacher has done thousands of hours of Hot-stone Massage.  Our Structural Integration (SI) teacher has also done thousands of hours of SI and is held in high regard for his expertise in this form of bodywork.  The truth is, our faculty really cares about what they teach and are supported and guided in their efforts by Paula & Neha, whose desire is to help them become the best possible mentors for our students.  At Healing Hands, the students benefit from their instructor’s work experience, compassion and insight, as well as their knowledge and skills.  Today, the school employs close to 20 Instructors and staff and offers nearly 2000 hours of specialized courses in Massage Therapy and adjunct Holistic therapies.

Q – Tell us about the school’s student demographics.

Answer – We have two locations, and the demographics in Escondido are different from those in Laguna Hills. In Laguna Hills, most are in their 20s and 30s and are paying out of pocket for their education, meaning they are not receiving any type of financial student aid or special funding.  Students who enroll at Laguna Hills have usually explored a few of the 12 schools within a 20-mile radius of us, but choose HH for our reputation, affordable rates, and ability to tailor their program to the area of specialty they wish to pursue, something most other schools don’t offer.  In Escondido, the ages are similar, and while some students pay out of pocket, we also have those receiving Federal Funds such as Financial Student Aid, Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funding or Veteran’s Benefits. The demographics of our classrooms also influence where we provide Community Service. In Escondido, we work more closely with Veterans and provide Community Service at Wounded Warrior Clinics and Veterans Hospitals.  In Laguna Hills, our Community Service students work at area Nursing Homes, Chiropractic Offices and Rehab Centers. Students also choose Healing Hands because of our students’ reputation with employers. We receive approximately 4-10 notices seeking our graduates A WEEK! Many more jobs come into our office than we can fill, which means that our graduates have many job opportunities awaiting them.

Q – What Programs does the school offer?

Answer – Our Laguna Hills School of Holistic Health has two main programs, the Massage Therapy Program (MTP) of 500 hours, and the Holistic Health Practitioner Program (HHP) of 1000 hours.  The HHP Program includes the MTP program, and both enable the graduate to become licensed to open their own practice or work at a Spa, Gym or anywhere Massage is offered.  The difference is that HHP practitioner often earns a higher salary because they can offer their clients more adjunct therapies.

Q – Do students have to commit to a program of study, or can they take individual classes?

Answer – No commitment to a program is necessary.  We have students who come to us for a specific class, like Reiki or Herbal Studies, because it is something of special interest to them.  Others might like to take a program but have very busy lives, and can only take classes once or twice a year. Some students choose to take just one class to “test the waters” and see if a career in Massage Therapy or Holistic Health is right for them.  We welcome all students and allow enrollment to any class that does not have a pre-requisite. The benefit of enrolling in a Program is that it gives the student a discounted rate on all classes making it more cost-effective. To accommodate the undecided student, we allow those who take the basic Circulatory Massage course of 100 hours and wish to continue, to roll course hours and their initial investment into the 500 or 1000-hour programs.