Circulatory Massage for Hospice Patients

“Circulatory Massage is an excellent integrative therapy that can be used to enhance the quality of life for Hospice patients”, said Paula Curtiss, Founding Director at Healing Hands School of Holistic Health, (HH). “Massage Therapists who work with Hospice patients provide a very nurturing experience that helps reduce pain and discomfort while restoring feelings of self-esteem and self-acceptance”, she continued.

Paula is a Certified Massage Therapist, Holistic Health Practitioner, and the Founding Director for Healing Hands School of Holistic Health (HHSHH).  Possessing over 25 years of experience as a multi-modality Massage Therapist and Instructor, Paula understands first-hand how providing a gentle, therapeutic touch delivered with focused attention can diminish the feelings of isolation and loneliness many terminal patients experience. Proven to be useful as a primary or integrative therapy for any condition with a stress component, Circulatory Massage can provide substantial relief to patients diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, one of the most stress-full events one can experience.Holding hands

In HH’s Circulatory Massage class students are educated about age-related changes and their impact on the Hospice patient. These include, thin, fragile skin, bones, joints as well as common clinical conditions. Students examine the causes and contraindications associated with chronic and terminal illnesses. Through lecture, demonstration, and hands-on practice, students learn a variety of bodywork styles and techniques to address aging concerns while also promoting relaxation.

Circulatory Massage facilitates the release of neuro-chemicals that reduce stress and alleviate pain.  With regular Circulatory Massage, many Hospice patients enjoy a reduction in the need for narcotic and psychotropic medications which often come with their own negative side-effects.  In addition to physical benefits, Circulatory Massage delivers many significant and immediate psychosocial benefits for terminally ill patients.  Once diagnosed, many experience a roller-coaster of strong feelings, emotions, thoughts and fears.  These may include but are not limited to:

  • Denial about their diagnosis
  • Anger about the negative mental and physical effects of their disease or treatment
  • Frustration about the limitations imposed by the disease
  • A sense of being powerless and vulnerable
  • Depression and hopelessness
  • Guilt about how their illness and dying will affect loved ones
  • Mood swings caused by drugs, dementia, or simply the situation itself
  • Fear of death – the unknown, and/or the progression of the disease


Paula shares the reality of this work with students, explaining how working with the dying isn’t easy and often presents uncomfortable, even confrontational challenges.  It requires a willingness to face our own limitations and emotional vulnerabilities and to stay present and engaged despite of our fears.  She also shares how Circulatory Massage given to the terminally ill allowed her to share many enriching and fulfilling moments with patients she might otherwise have missed. Paula believes that providing Circulatory massage for Hospice patients can facilitate profound growth, both personally and professionally for the Massage Therapist and encourages all students to explore this soul-enriching massage specialty.

Considered a trail-blazer for Holistic Health Education in Southern California, HH has been serving residents from campuses in Escondido and Laguna Hills for over 24 years.  To date, HH has prepared more than 6,700 students for successful careers in Therapeutic Massage and can do the same for you! To learn more about HH, their Circulatory Massage class or any of the other 80+ classes offered, visit us online at  or call us at (949) 305-2722 in Laguna Hills or (760) 746-9364 in Escondido.