Massage Me Please

Santa Barbara Bodyworks Makes Learning and Enjoying Easy

It was one of those office emails that occasionally slide from one employee to everyone else at The Independent: “Cheap massage this afternoon at Santa Barbara Bodyworks, limited spots available.” It’d been floating in The Indy ether for an hour already when I sent what I thought was a vain response: “Any spots left?”

Amazingly, my usually discount-hungry coworkers hadn’t jumped on this deal, no doubt because most believed it to be snagged upon reception. Lo and behold, I was in, and at 5:30 p.m. on a Wednesday, I was ready to get the cheapest massage of my life, this side of Bangkok.

I’d been to Santa Barbara Bodyworks before-which is behind a stack of buildings at 113 West Mission Street between Chapala and De la Vina-and understood that the lower price was because your treatment came from a masseuse-in-training. I arrived a tad early as requested, and relaxed in the lobby of a veritable massage classroom, where soft tables were partitioned by traditional rice paper walls.

Once connected with Shawna, I followed her to my table, de-robed, and got ready for what I accepted could be a lackluster, masseuse-in-training massage. Minutes later, I realized I was in for the real deal, her hand kneading my office-tired muscles like putty. About halfway through the massage, when Shawna was working my thigh, I heard what must have been the instructor enter. Suddenly, her hands turned my neck to jelly, my leg still being worked by the “student.” Ecstasy might be too strong of a word, but at the time, everything was slipping away.

Eventually, my bliss ended-though not before an organ-settling stomach rub-but that doesn’t mean there’s not more to be had. For those of you who need a massage, Santa Barbara Bodyworks is open to all who’d be happy paying $25-$35 for a 60- to 75-minute massage, and will do more advanced treatments seven days a week. Better yet, for those who’d rather deliver this sort of glee to others-and I hear pro masseuses enjoy a significantly stable salary-now’s the time to start one of the 14-week classes offered by S.B. Bodyworks, which is billed as the only spot in town to fulfill the state’s new 250 hour requirement.

CLARIFICATION: Santa Barbara Bodyworks is not the only massage training program in Santa Barbara that offers training to fulfill the state’s new 250-hour requirement. Santa Barbara Body Therapy Institute also offers up to 1,000 hours of training to prepare graduates for state certification. See to learn more.


For more info, call 569-3230 or visit


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