We All Need To Speak Out


While it’s a positive change that those who have endured sexual assault feel they have the space to come forward, I think we have all been overwhelmed by the level of abuse that seems to pervade every walk of life and every industry. I am especially saddened and appalled at the stories coming out about recent reports of abuse in the massage industry.

As a male massage therapist, I particularly feel I need to speak out. My promise to all those who come into my massage studio and those whose homes and businesses I enter to offer bodywork that I will provide a safe, comfortable space for my clients both physically and emotionally. I consider this a solemn responsibility and have always worked to make the therapeutic experience a safe, healthy, and positive experience for all my clients. I so appreciate all the clients who have put their trust in me and will always live up to that trust.

Hopefully, as we move forward, we can all work to make this world safer for everyone.


The Power of Touch


What started a few years ago as simply as way to learn more about caring for my body and to help my wife Loren’s back issues has led me in an unexpected direction. After thirty years in the tech industry and twenty with one company alone, I’m am excited to announce that I am taking my practice as a massage therapist full-time!!

It has been a fascinating process that has brought me here. When I would give Loren a back rub, she would often say something like, “Wow, that was amazing, you should think about massage school.” And then one Valentine’s Day a few years ago, I borrowed a massage table from a friend and after the day together I told her I had one more surprise planned. She came in to find the table set up and ready. I gave her my first massage on an actual table. At the end she was in a near comatose state of relaxation and didn’t get out of bed until noon the next day. When she did get up, she said, “Yeah… you need to go to massage school.” That was February, by the end of March I was enrolled, and I started that June. 

I only intended on taking the basic Swedish program, but before I had finished the program I was already taking more advanced courses. The deeper I got into the course work, the more fascinated I was with the myriad of ways touch could affect change in the body: relieving pain, correcting posture, calming nerves, and bringing a deep restorative relaxation, just to name a few.

Once I took my first practical exam with the instructor and got the approval to work on people outside of class, I posted on a local Facebook group that I was student looking for practice. Immediately, 40 plus people expressed interest and I worked on about 25 people from that group. The first person I worked on told me it was the best massage she had ever received. Before I had completed my Swedish course I had several five star reviews on my Yelp page. 

As I was going through the advanced program, my plan was to build a small, part-time practice. By the time I completed the program I had decided that I wanted to make a complete career change and focus on bodywork full-time. This past April I rented a beautiful space in La Playa Pilates studio across from the bird refuge and have been working nights and weekends to build my practice. This past week I took the leap and left the company I had been working for for the last two decades, I am excited about what lays ahead.

I would love for you to be part of this journey. Let me show you how the power of touch can change your body, relieve pain, reduce stress, and bring a depth of relaxation you may never experienced before. 

Find out what Crazy, Stupid, Good is all about.

Massage is About Wellness

In modern culture, we often view relaxing as a luxury. When we think about getting a massage, we think of it as being pampered—we view it as an indulgence. But it is much more than that. Taking the time to stop, relax, and breathe puts our body in a powerful state of self-healing and restoration. Unfortunately, stresses of everyday life can keep us in a state that makes it difficult, if not impossible, for the body to heal itself.

The body’s stress response is designed to protect us from imminent danger. It shifts the body’s priorities from “rest-and-digest” to “fight-or-flight,” and in doing so digestion, healing, and rest are put on the back burner. In a more balanced world, this stress response is short-lived and your body quickly returns to a rest-and-digest state. Not so in modern culture. Often, we are in a stressed state from the moment we wake up in the morning until we finally find sleep in the evening. And most of us don’t even get enough sleep. This continual stress not only doesn’t allow the body to heal, it introduces all kinds of physical problems. Tension headaches, teeth grinding, shoulder and neck pain, lower back pain, and digestive issues, to name just a few. More and more research is demonstrating that stress is a major contributor to disease and sickness.

It’s no wonder that people find meditation and taking time for reflection and gratitude so powerful and healthful. These practices shift the mind and body away from the stress and hurry of the day — at least for a few minutes — to a state of relaxation. Massage/bodywork can take this shift to the next level. Not only can it help take you to a deep state of relaxation where the body can self-heal, bodywork can directly address some of the physical manifestations of stress. Headaches, jaw pain, neck and shoulder issues, lower back pain—all can be directly addressed with bodywork.

For many, massage and bodywork are becoming a regular part of their wellness routine, not the occasional indulgence. They view massage the same way they view diet, exercise, and other healthy lifestyle choices.

Let me show you what a consistent massage routine can do for your health and wellbeing. I have massage packages that make it easy and affordable to make massage a regular part of your wellness routine.

Call or text to book a massage today

“It’s hard to sleep with this backache...”

Sleepless nights can go hand-in-hand with pregnancy. This is the result of the aches and pains that are commonly experienced while carrying a baby.

Back and neck pain, hip and pelvic pain, sciatic nerve irritation—all can cause stress, and make for long days and sleepless nights.

Using an integrative approach to massage - blending various techniques - I can relax you, ease tired and aching muscles, and reduce the stress pregnancy has put on your body.

Let me introduce you to an exceptional relaxation and therapeutic massage experience.

Just don't take my word for it...

"I've experienced the good, the bad, and the ugly massages in Santa Barbara, and I am currently on cloud nine after my 60 minute prenatal. Thank you so much Steve Shepard for the amazing massage tonight. Steve was professional, receptive, convenient, perfect pressure! Please contact him for your next massage, you won't be sorry!" --E. K.
"Pregnancy can be an uncomfortable time for the body- but Steve's prenatal massage has left me feeling like I'm floating through the rest of my day. His pressure was PERFECT and he was easily able to access some hard-to-get-to spots (i.e. the SI joint and QL) that frequently get worked throughout pregnancy. His friendly, professional demeanor made me feel at ease and comfortable throughout the entire massage and I cannot thank him enough for the wonderful experience!" 
--C. P.

Why Massages Really Do Keep You Healthy: A Cardiologist Explains

Several recent studies point to benefits of massage therapy that help heal the heart.

In 2008, researchers studied 263 volunteers who had a massage for 45 to 60 minutes. Average blood pressure fell by 10 mg Hg and heart rate by 10 beats per minute after one treatment. That's about as much as you might get from prescribing a new blood pressure medication for life!

Earlier this year, 50 people with mildly elevated blood pressure received a 15-minute massage, three times a week for 10 sessions, while a similar group just relaxed for the same amount of time. Blood pressure fell at the end of the sessions and remained lower for several days—but only in the massage group.

Another study this year examined 8 women with high blood pressure who'd had an hourlong massage each week for four weeks. At the end of that period, their blood pressure fell by 12 mm Hg systolic (top number) and measurements in the blood reflecting inflammation (specifically VCAM-1 if you like science) fell significantly. A control group just rested for the same amount of time and had smaller improvements in the same measurements. The drop in markers of inflammation is intriguing and suggests massage therapy may have a body-wide healing effect.

“You’re just going to have to live with it...”

TMJ  Syndrome For those suffering from jaw pain, clicking, locking, headaches, and other issues, “just live with it,” is often what they have been told.

But, there is an alternative to living with it, resorting to pain killers or corrective surgery.

Focused, integrative bodywork around the jaw and related muscles can be a very effective alternative. By integrating deep tissue, trigger point, craniosacral and other techniques, I have developed a method of gentle manipulation of the jaw and related muscles to help correct jaw alignment, muscle constriction, and help alleviate pain.

By integrating these techniques with exercises   you can do at home, pain, clicking, and headaches can be greatly reduced and often eliminated.

What Your Massage Therapist Thinks of Your Body

A number of years ago when I worked at a day spa, I introduced myself to my massage client. As the massage began, she mentioned how relieved she was that she was getting a massage from a woman. As I’ve gotten some of my best hands-on massage from men, I found that curious and asked her why she thought that.

“Because I’d have to suck in my guts for a man,” she responded.

Interestingly enough, men certainly don’t feel the need to suck in their guts for me. And nor should they.

If I got paid for the number of times a woman confessed apologetically about not having shaved her legs, I’d have quite a bit more in the bank.

The truth is that we don’t really care about your hairy legs. What matters is how they feel and what we can do to make them feel better...

Modern Bodywork Open House

Steve Shepard is bringing his bodywork practice to Santa Barbara and Montecito!

Come celebrate the grand opening of Modern Bodywork’s spacious and serene massage studio at La Playa Pilates. Everyone is invited to drop by and get acquainted over wine, beverages, and light hors d'oeuvres.

4:00 to 8:00PM, Friday, April 7 at
La Playa Pilates & Wellness
1809 E Cabrillo Blvd #A
Montecito, CA 93108

We will be giving away a FREE 1 hour massage!

Text, or call for more information: 805 252 8617

TMJ Dysfunction

“You’re just going to have to live with it...

For those suffering from jaw pain, clicking, locking, headaches, and other issues, “just live with it” is often what they have been told.

Unfortunately, TMJ issues don’t always fall under a single, easy to identify cause. Making it difficult to identify the root cause. Causes could include whiplash or facial trauma, teeth grinding, poor bite, stress and anxiety, trigger points, and postural issues. So, the first step in treating TMJ dysfunction is assessing what the causes could be and addressing those issues before working directly on the jaw muscles. By improving posture, and easing tightness in the neck and shoulders the chances of successfully treating TMJ issues increases dramatically.

Focused, integrative bodywork around the jaw and related muscles can be very effective. By integrating deep tissue, trigger point, craniosacral and other techniques, I have developed a method of gentle manipulation of the jaw and related muscles to help correct jaw alignment, muscle constriction, and help alleviate pain. 

By doing daily, simple exercises to improve posture and jaw range of motion can speed recovery and enhance the effects of manual therapy. 

By integrating these techniques with these simple exercises you can do at home, pain, clicking, and headaches can be greatly reduced and often eliminated.


Deadly Issues That No One Ever Told You About Sitting

People always equate relaxing with sitting. Probably most of you agree, but the problem is if you sit for most of your waking hours, you’re slowly killing yourself. At least, that’s what four experts say in a detailed infographic presented here.

About the serious health issue mentioned earlier, one of my friends heeded the warning. He’s a freelance writer like me, and he had developed a bad habit of sitting for long periods of time. Back then, most of the time, he was chained to a chair hitting keys on his keyboard. Every day, his wife would urge him to go out and go walking. She would push him to step out of his office and move around so he won’t develop some dreadful disease. He did. Today, he is thankful he listened to his wife, because more and more materials pop out from different sources covering deadly issues associated with sitting for extended hours....



A neuroscience researcher reveals 4 rituals that will make you happier

You get all kinds of happiness advice on the internet from people who don't know what they're talking about. Don't trust them.

Actually, don't trust me either. Trust neuroscientists. They study that gray blob in your head all day and have learned a lot about what truly will make you happy.

UCLA neuroscience researcher Alex Korb has some insights that can create an upward spiral of happiness in your life.

Here's what you and I can learn from the people who really have answers:

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6 Breathing Exercises To Reduce Stress

Stress comes in many varieties and at some point in time, we’ve all experienced the type of stress that triggers the fight-or-flight response, which in turn activates the sympathetic nervous system. This type of stress can leave us feeling frenzied all day long as we constantly bounce in and out of the stress response.

One of the best and most accessible tools we can use to decrease stress is to connect with our breath...

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Why Massage Therapists love to hear your stomach growl

It happens at least once every day, a client tenses up just a little and apologizes for the rumbling coming from their abdomen.  With any luck I quietly reassure them it is alright and help them relax enough to forget about it. For some, it is a passing thought and for others the embarrassment doesn’t give up as quickly. The truth is that in the massage room, aside from sighs of relief, snores, or beautiful music, a rumbling tummy is one of our favorite sounds!

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Getting The Most Out of Your Massage

Seems simple enough. This is not just for the benefit of your therapist, but yourself as well. You will be more comfortable if your body is clean. While you don’t have to bathe immediately before a massage, make sure you are thorough when you do bathe. Remember, body odor doesn’t just belong to the arm pits.

Don’t rush
Leave yourself enough time to get to and from your massage. Fighting traffic and rushing to get to your massage and rushing back does not lend itself to a relaxing experience. Getting to your massage a couple of minutes early lets you start the relaxation process before you are even on the table. In addition, take a little “me time” after the massage.

Inform your therapist
It’s important that you are open and honest with your therapist about the condition of your body and health. There certain conditions and situations where a massage could actually be harmful. Tell your therapist about any injuries, sickness, infection, or other medical issues. Pregnant? Be sure to let your therapist know and how far along you are. As well as any medications, supplements and herbs you are taking.

Talk about your concerns or questions
Talk to your therapist about what you need and are expecting from the massage experience. If there are certain parts your body you want given special attention, discuss it with your therapist. Don’t be afraid to ask about terms or modalities with which you are not familiar. 

Breathing is involuntary, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need to think about it and even practice it. Deep, deliberate breathing is essential to moving into a relaxed state. Before you get on the table, take a couple of slow, deep breaths and feel yourself begin to relax. Is your mind racing while you’re on the table or are you having trouble relaxing into the massage? Breathe.

Turn off your phone and your mind will follow
In this day and age the quickest way to turn off the stress of the day is to turn off our phones. And off means off. Nothing will pull you out of a deep state of relaxation quicker than your phone vibrating from an incoming call or text. 

Don’t be embarrassed
As you relax, your body may respond in ways that might be embarrassing under normal circumstances. People sometimes fall asleep, drool, or pass gas as their body relaxes. Men sometimes get involuntary erections. Your therapist is well aware of this and should not be put off by any of it. Don’t let it get in the way of your relaxation. Remember, breathe.

Get massages on a regular basis
Going once a year or so for a massage can be a fantastic relaxing experience, but it does little to help improve your health and well-being long term. Those neck and shoulder issues you want addressed are not going to be fixed in a single session. Massage should be part of your personal healthcare plan. A massage every 4 to 6 weeks not only will help improve your overall health, but developing a relationship with a massage therapist who knows your needs will increase the effectiveness of your sessions.


The Effects of Stress on the Body

Stress is part of our human experience. But, in our modern world, stress can take a toll on our mind and body. The linked article outlines how pervasion the effects of stress are on our bodies. Massage and bodywork can address nearly all these stress related issues.

Massage can help you move into a state of relaxation, but it does more. It can strengthen your immune system, lower blood pressure, help with sleep, relieve pain, improve posture, and more.

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6 Ways CranioSacral Therapy Facilitates Brain Health

A primary focus of CranioSacral Therapy is to gently lessen the body’s connective tissue strain and decrease meningeal stress. CranioSacral Therapy is based partly on the theory that certain light-touch manual techniques can help relieve cell stress and improve health by enhancing the form and balance of the connective tissue matrix, in particular connective tissue layers surrounding the brain and spinal cord....

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