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Author Archive for Jessica Gutierrez

Celebrating 10 years of massage & bodywork in Auburn California

10 years of massage and bodywork in Auburn California
Celebrating ten years of Practice!

The beginning of 2019 marked my 10th year of practicing massage in Auburn California and my 9th year of earning my NCBTMB massage and bodywork certification. I thought this would be a good time to reflect on this important milestone and share a bit of my story.

I began my bodywork career after earning my Bachelors Degree and working in community media for non profit organizations in Washington State. After several years of work, mostly with at-risk youth, I felt burned out and ineffective and was acutely aware of my need for a quieter more introspective life in which I could focus on health and wellness. I moved to California and turned my attention to a career path in the healing arts, finishing a massage school certification I had begun more than ten years earlier in Nevada City, California.

After completing my certification I quickly built a practice within a chiropractic office where I primarily treated patients using clinical, therapeutic deep tissue massage. Trained as a birth doula and passionate about childbirth, I’ve also specialized in pregnancy massage since the very beginning. Between 2009 and 2014 I briefly worked in a couple other locations, including a spa and a fitness center but found that working with my own clientele was much more rewarding. In late 2015, after almost seven years working within the chiropractic office, I moved my practice to downtown Auburn where I have been (in a few different buildings) ever since.

My practice is now fairly well rounded and I’ve added energy work and CranioSacral work to my modality tool box. I still work a lot with pregnant and postpartum women and their families and in the past couple of years have been working with many children and youth between the ages of around six to seventeen. The addition of CranioSacral Therapy to my practice has given me tools to help with a wider range of physical, mental and emotional concerns and clients with a wider range of ages and life situations. People come in for many reasons and I feel grateful to have tools to help in many ways. When I don’t have the skill or experience needed I love to refer to other local practitioners.

Ten years seems like a long time, but not nearly long enough! Understanding the human body, mind and spirit is an endless, amazing journey and each transition in my own life brings me to a new perspective on all of it. My second decade of practice begins with me as the mama of a two year old, with my tender heart wide open after the transformative experience of birthing a child and myself as a mother. I strive to provide a safe, nurturing space for my clients to experience healing on multiple levels, whether it is body, mind or spirit.

To be quite honest, I’m really not sure what the next ten years will bring! I have goals to pursue more education in child development, craniosacral work, somatic psychology and mindfulness education. I love being a mother to my children, cooking, gardening and herbs, spiritual practice, and helping my husband with our small mushroom farm, Foothill Fungi. My hope and dream is for a peaceful, creative life in which healing work, business pursuits, parenting and abundant living interweave in reverent and playful community.

Grounding energy in chaos

My 18 month old daughter Estrella woke up this morning at 3:30 am, and then refused to take a nap until well after her regular nap time that afternoon.

“What on earth could be happening?” My husband and I wondered. We then realized that on top of the normal-for-her-age teething pain, she could be feeling the effects of the looming full moon eclipse.

Some studies have supported the notion that the full moon wreaks havoc on our sleep schedules. Add an eclipse to the mix and no wonder little Estrella was all hyped up.

What to do?

We focused on grounding and calming our own energy to help support her ability to relax and get the nap she so desparately needed. Shortly after we used the following tools she fell into a deep sleep and napped for almost two and a half hours (twice her normal nap length).

Since the energy of the January 20th eclipse and full moon could affect you all week, I thought I’d share what we did so you can use these tools too.


I began singing a repetitive simple song. Some of you may recognize this popular healing verse that balances the four elements and especially connects to the earth element.

“Earth my body, water my blood, air my breath and fire my spirit”

Here is an absolutely gorgeous adaptation of this song on Youtube.


Most of us are more focused upwardly, in our heads. I like to visualize that my body has a “root” or tail or that travels deep into the earth. I then imagine the energy from the heavens connects through me to this earthly root, and I am strongly centered in the middle, both grounded and spiritually connected. Children as young as 3 or 4 years old can be guided in this visualization, and when they are younger, simply do it yourself to benefit them.

Warm beverages and food

Warm chamomile tea with milk and honey, stabilizing and nourishing foods (with added healthy fat if your body can handle that) and limiting caffeine help me stay calm and centered amidst chaotic energy from any source.

“Get into your body” any way that works for you

Gentle yoga, dance, sitting meditation, a weighted blanket, a massage .. the possibilities are endless. What works for you? I gently massaged my daughter’s legs and feet to help her feel embodied. Sometimes a warm bath also does the trick. Gardening can also be an amazing way to feel grounded, especially when you do it barefoot!

The sky’s the limit

Use your intuition to find the best ways to help you and your family ground and center whenever life throws a curveball (or an eclipse) your way. Trust your inner guidance, and your growing awareness of what feels good, to inspire you!

CranioSacral & Massage Cupping Sample Pack

CranioSacral & Massage Cupping
Sample Pack

One Week Sale for New Years!

December 26 through January 3

Two 45 minute treatments for $100 ($150 Value)

Try something new this year! Craniosacral Therapy and Massage Cupping  are two highly therapeutic modalities that can be enjoyed as stand alone services or incorporated into any massage.  Our sample pack, offered for a limited time only, allows you to try both types of bodywork for $100 (150 Value) You will receive one 45 minute Massage Cupping session and one 45 minute CranioSacral session to be used before the end of January 2019.

Your Sample Pack includes two treatments:

One 45 minute CranioSacral Therapy treatment with Jessica Gutierrez

CranioSacral Therapy is a very gentle form of bodywork known for it’s deeply relaxing effects. It is said to calm the nervous system, decrease inflammation, and is used to treat many physical, emotional, mental and spiritual conditions.  CranioSacral Therapy influences the rhythm of the cerebrospinal that surrounds your brain and spinal cord, helping to restore a natural rhythm of ease and flow.  

One 45 minute Massage Cupping treatment with Brooke Poletti

Massage Cupping is a variation of the traditional cupping methods used in Chinese medicine and acupuncture. The only difference is that I move the cups around in massage-like strokes instead of leaving them static as in the traditional methods. Cupping provides the polar action of massage… lifting and creating space, allowing fresh blood and nutrients to get into the muscle tissue where it maybe hasn’t been able to circulate very well due to stress and tight muscles. It helps to break up adhesions in the fascia and scar tissue, providing greater ease of movement and less pain. Cupping draws inflammation and stagnation out of the soft tissue where the body’s natural circulatory system flushes it away. It can help relieve edema (excessive swelling) and it has a sedating effect on the nervous system. The suction from the cups also encourages collagen production in the skin, improving tonicity and it opens up the pores, allowing any oils or liniments to really penetrate deeper and more quickly into the muscles.

FAQS about this special offer:

Is this just for new clients? No! This special is for existing or new clients

Can I purchase more than one? Yes! You may purchase one as a gift and one for yourself.

How long do I have to book these appointments? You can book these appointments any time in January 2019.

Can I purchase this with a gift certificate I already have? Sorry, this offer may not be combined with any other offers or gift certificates.

We are happy to offer you these wonderful treatments to help you begin 2019 with ease of body, mind and spirit. Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have about these modalities or this special offer.  Please complete your purchase before January 3rd, 2019 and make sure you schedule with us by phone before the end of the month! Happy New Year from Jessica and Brooke!

This offer is brought to you by Awaken Integrative Bodywork and Ritual Therapeutics Massage & Bodywork, two independent businesses operating collaboratively under one roof. 

Let your worries fall away!

Let Your Worries Fall Away special offers

I haven’t offered a discount for the past couple years and probably won’t again for at least another year, but I have some extra time available these next few weeks and would love to fill it with this work that I love so much.

Now is a great time to become a new client (or come back after a break!) and I have something to offer my regular clients too:

New client offer

If you are new to my practice or it’s been longer than two years since your last visit,  a ninety minute session is available to you for the price of one hour (Save $40). Because I require new clients to book ninety minutes, this is a great opportunity to save on your first session!

Existing client offer: Save $10 on one hour and save $15 on 90 minute sessions.craniosacral massage auburn ca



What you will receive

My treatments combine CranioSacral Therapy (CST) and therapeutic massage techniques in a session that can benefit a wide variety of health issues and stress related conditions, or simply create a deeper inner connection and integration of body, mind and spirit.

Some conditions treated by CST

* Migraine Headaches
* Chronic Neck and Back Pain
* Motor-Coordination Impairments
* Colic
* Autism
* Central Nervous System Disorders
* Orthopedic Problems
* Traumatic Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries
* Scoliosis
* Infantile Disorders
* Learning Disabilities
* Chronic Fatigue
* Emotional Difficulties
* Stress and Tension-Related Problems
* Fibromyalgia and other Connective-Tissue Disorders
* Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)
* Neurovascular or Immune Disorders
* Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
* Post-Surgical Dysfunction

I work with the whole family; from children and parents to grandparents, and love to provide prenatal care throughout a woman’s entire pregnancy.

Please note: discounts listed above can only be applied to appointments scheduled before Nov. 6th and may not be applied towards sessions with Brooke. Please mention this offer when you come for your session. Thank you!

About Jessica’s sessionsAuburn CA Massage therapist

Jessica combines hands-on bodywork including craniosacral and massage with energy work to create a deeply healing and peaceful experience. Craniosacral work is a gentle touch therapy that often helps calm the nervous system, decrease inflammation and treat many physical, emotional, mental and spiritual conditions. Sessions are sixty or ninety minutes for adults and 30-45 minutes for children. Schedule online here  or call 530-906-8668

Craniosacral Therapy for head injuries

craniosacral therapy for head injuriesAfter several successful experiences treating head injuries with craniosacral work, I’m wanting to help more people in this way. I started looking into head injuries among high school football players and this article by the Huffington Post is very worrisome. Research and postmortem brain biopsies of high school football players showed 3 out of 10 had signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The disease, caused by head trauma such as concussion, leads to dementia, memory loss, suicidal thoughts, and personality and mood changes, among other progressive symptoms.The rates were higher as they advanced into college or pro level football. This is terrible and my heart just aches for these young people and their families! But I also learned that CST has been studied and looks like it helps. A 2017 study published by the Journal of Medical Acupuncture about CST and Concussion  showed craniosacral therapy to be clinically beneficial for post concussive syndrome. What if football players got treated with CST after every head injury?

So happy together …

Auburn California Massage Therapist Brooke Poletti

In my last blog, I shared that I felt so uncertain about the future of my business after a year of unsettling change.  I set an intention to invite simplicity and clarity to my practice, and thankfully my dear friend, Brooke Poletti, answered! As an independent business owner and advanced practitioner, Brooke joins us with her own clientele, and lucky for all of us , some availability for new clients as well. We are fortunate indeed to be able to house her practice within our walls. I highly encourage you to give yourself a gift of at least one session with Brooke, who can be booked online or contacted by phone 530-305-3284 for scheduling requests.

Please click here for more about Brooke’s work. I’d also like to offer a bit of a personal testimonial. Nearly ten years ago, when I first met Brooke, she was a mentor for me as I began my practice at Healing Hands Wellness Center. At that time, I was in a severe car accident which left me with debilitating head, neck and shoulder pain. Thankfully, I was able to receive regular massages from Brooke and through her therapeutic, corrective deep tissue work, my pain lessened enough for me to continue to develop myself as a massage therapist. Without Brooke’s work I may not be practicing today. I received a massage from Brooke last week and was again reminded how truly therapeutic her work is. Her technique and pressure are consistent and always prove effective. She recently became certified in prenatal and postpartum massage and added massage cupping to her menu. Again, we are all lucky to have her and I so look forward to some of my clients experiencing her work!


Learning to dance with what is

I recently became painfully aware that whatever semblance of rhythm was left in my life had become the rhythm of NO rhythm. In fact, most of my days are a complete cacophony. The patterns of yesterday never fit today. This is not my favorite thing, to say the least. For most of my life I’ve taken pride in being a good planner and organizer, and I’m also highly sensitive, so constant chaos and unpredictability is actually a real challenge for my body, mind and spirit to integrate. I’ve struggled, protested, dug my heels in and tried to enforce law and order, all in vain. I just can’t force my life to behave itself.

It actually has become so ridiculously disorderly it’s laughable, and in that hilarity I sometimes remember how to dance. Improvisationally of course, which is awkward, embarrassing and full of risk taking, danger and foolishness. Improvisational dance is also playful, joyful, meditative, and can be one of the most beautiful forms of movement I have ever felt or seen, because in improv, when dancers are so absolutely present with what IS, in that one powerful, poignant moment, PURE MAGIC is created. Which is what I hope my process will become, eventually.

I’m still in the awkward, embarrassing and foolish stage of the dance though, seemingly in all areas of my life. There are constant changes and interruptions in my family rhythms, including schedules, finances, health, and our daily sleep, food and play cycles.  For the past two years my husband has been creating a small mushroom farm and juggling numerous part time and temporary jobs which has meant countless changes in our schedules and finances.  Add to this a 14 year old son half-time and new baby full time and you have a holy mess!

Dancing with this constant change at home I now feel I’m running my business as if standing on a surfboard, and, not yet adept at surfing, always feeling wobbly and off balance. It takes most of my focus to keep my own head above water and yet, I’ve been imagining I could keep a busy practice afloat while I’m actually close to drowning. Needless to say I’m not doing the greatest job with most of my administrative tasks, including keeping us staffed.  After one more massage therapist (The fourth since my daughter was born last July) said goodbye a few weeks ago, I finally got the message that this business model isn’t working for me. I’m simply not very good at managing a massage studio right now.

Awkward? Yes. thinking of all the foolish mistakes I’ve made on this journey makes me cringe.  Embarrassing? Totally.  Early on in life I internalized a belief that I must finish what I start. I constantly hear a voice in my head saying, “If you’re going to do something, do it right”.  These beliefs lead me to act as if I just work hard enough, I can force it all to work out.  But sometimes it doesn’t. And part of me just hates that!

Rather than fight it, I realize this is the part of the dance where’s there’s a need  just a pause. A poignant moment that allows me to get grounded and centered and able to respond to whatever is actually happening, instead of what I’m anticipating or wanting to happen.

In this moment I notice I love my work with my clients more than ever before. I love going to the sacred space we just moved into, opening up the door, walking up the stairs, welcoming a precious human being for a session, and together presencing a timeless healing experience that rejuvenates, restores and soothes the body and mind. This part does work. Hallelujah!

I also notice I have absolutely no energy, heart or creative fire for advancement, growth, success or expansion in a business sense. A year ago I imagined myself working from home, managing a busy massage studio from my cell phone and laptop, becoming a social media guru while my baby somehow entertained herself or napped for hours.  I laugh so hard now at this vision, as most days I can’t even find my cell phone, much less keep it charged up to talk and organize with. And naps? What are those?

I don’t know exactly what’s next for me professionally, but I’m catching glimmer by being more present with what’s here now. I am actually quite relieved that my practice isetting smaller and quieter and requiring much less management. I offer a few sessions per week, by appointment, usually on Fridays and Saturdays when I am blessed with my husband’s flexible schedule and his ability to be with our daughter.  I’m so glad to have Denise Obray working with me and also grateful for the other massage therapists who have passed through my doors with their offerings and have now moved on.

It’s relaxing to let go of the need to know the next step. The music does have a beat, it’s just not in the place I expect it to be.  Awkward, foolish, unsteady I may be, but I’m going to be present with that too, and trust this process that I know will eventually illuminate a pure, powerful and purposeful movement once again.






New Year, New Rhythms

New Year, New Rhythms

Although I have mixed feelings about setting new year’s resolutions, I do find its a great time to establish new rhythms in my life. One thing I’ve learned about this is that I need to start where I’m at, rather than try to go from zero to one hundred overnight.

**What does it mean to start where you’re at?**

Here’s an example, and it’s a real one from my own life. Ultimately, I’d like to bring a meditation practice into my daily rhythm, because I know that for me, meditation keeps me healthy, mentally, physically and emotionally. I’d love to get back to a morning and evening hour-long sitting practice, because when I did that in the past, I experienced profound benefits including more energy, less pain, reduced anxiety and improved relationships. However, I know that if I set that as a goal it’s just too big of a leap and I would fail, which would therefore impact all my subsequent attempts and I would end up less likely than before to have a meditation practice in the future.

I’m a new mom, and there is no way I will get up tomorrow morning or any other day this year and suddenly have the time or energy to sit for an hour. Most people have life circumstances such as mine, or simply have deeply ingrained habits that will take time and gentle self compassion to change.

What works for me is this. Instead of making that huge leap all at once, I slow down and get comfortable with where I’m at right now, no judgement or self criticism. Then, I see where I can make one tiny step from where I’m at to where I want to be. This goes for any goal including all the common new year goals resolutions to lose weight, exercise, stop eating sugar, and so on and so forth.

I want a meditation practice, but I need to let go of the form it takes and integrate it into the life I have right now. To be specific, I can pick something I’m already doing, like nursing the baby, doing the dishes, or changing a diaper even, and practice mindful presence right then and there. With discipline and practice, this can become just as effective as sitting two hours a day, I believe, and over time result in a greater likelihood that my life’s rhythm will include a daily meditation practice.

What would you like to integrate into your daily rhythm? What are some small steps you can take towards those goals? As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts, particularly around ways to integrate body, mind and spirit in health and wellness.

Second Annual Holiday Gift Certificate Fund Drive

Massage Gift Certificates Fund Drive Awaken Integrative Bodywork

Massage Gift Certificates Fund Drive Awaken Integrative Bodywork

This year, holiday gift certificate sales will benefit families affected by the fires in Nevada County. We will donate 10% of all gift certificates between Thanksgiving and Christmas to The Community Disaster Relief Fund of Nevada County will distribute 100% of our donations directly to recipients.

Purchase online or at the studio!

How CranioSacral Therapy can help PTSD

How CranioSacral Therapy can help PTSD

CranioSacral PTSD Auburn

What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a complex condition involving the body, mind and spirit. Though most often associated with our military veterans, PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can affect anyone with a history of trauma.  Trauma can be the result of childhood injury or abuse, an accident or a number of other life experiences that create a painful trigger that is repeatedly is activated throughout life.  When the body/mind has not yet recognized that the event is over, the sympathetic nervous system (fight/flight) is activated and the body responds by continuously mobilizing muscles and other body systems in an attempt to numb the pain.CranioSacral PTSD Auburn

Individuals who suffer from chronic PTSD also have physical changes in their brain, most notably, a decrease in brain activity in the prefrontal cortex (higher level thinking and language) and increase in amygdala activity (emotional).  The physical brain changes are described further in this article in the NCBI database as a  “heightened activity only in the right hemisphere, specifically, in the areas that are most involved in emotional arousal – the amygdala, insula, and the medial temporal lobe. During exposure to their traumatic scripts there was a significant decrease in activation of the left inferior frontal area – Broca’s area – which is thought to be responsible for translating personal experiences into communicable language.” 

How can CranioSacral Therapy help?

The CranioSacral System is made up of membranes and fluid that surround, protect and nourish the brain and spinal cord. It extends from the bones in the head to the tailbone area known as the sacrum. Since this unique system had a direct impact on the central nervous system, it is easy to see how an imbalance there could cause any number or sensory, motor or neurological problems.

The main goal of a CST session is to allow the central nervous system the opportunity to relax, rejuvenate and heal from the traumas of PTSD. This holistic bodywork approach can help release the tension patterns created by the traumatic physical or emotional experience.

CST is light touch, full clothed therapy which leaves clients in a deeply relaxed state.  Clients often experience decreased pain and a sense of overall well being that continues long after the session is over.



Awaken Integrative Bodywork offers a $10 discount to veterans.  Sessions can be booked online or by phone at 530-906-8668.