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Meet Barbara Miller of Back to Life Massage and Bodywork in Mission Valley

Today we’d like to introduce you to Barbara Miller.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
After receiving a Journalism degree from the University of Oregon and working in television on-air promotions for almost 18 years, it was time for a change. I had been teaching exercise classes part-time since the early 2000’s and I loved helping people feel good in their body through movement. I started exploring health and wellness careers and was drawn to massage. I attended classes from 2005 through 2010 at the International Professional School of Bodywork located in San Diego, completing both the Massage Therapy and the Holistic Health Practitioner programs. I’ve been in private practice since 2010 and absolutely love what I do. I have a mission to help people, especially women, prioritize their health and self-care.

Most women are natural caregivers and put everyone’s needs first, leaving themselves with no energy to take care of themselves. I want to change that for all my clients by helping them create health and wellness goals and supporting them throughout their life as their body changes. Health is a fluid concept. It’s always changing. Some days we are more stressed than others. Some days we feel more pain and need more support. I’m here to help even out the imbalances with massage and self-care support throughout all of life’s ups and downs.

Has it been a smooth road?
Being in private practice and running a business has not come easy for me. I knew I wanted to work for myself, create my own schedule and work with a certain kind of client. Starting a practice was easy. Creating and maintaining a practice has been very challenging but I have kept at it and never given up on my dream. The hardest part has been working through my own ideas of what it means to be in private practice and discovering my ideal client. Working with a business coach has been invaluable in helping build my dream practice that sustains me so that I don’t have to supplement my income working for someone else. After 8 1/2 years, I have finally stabilized my practice and have so many amazing clients that I love serving and I just keep growing. It’s been amazing to see this dream realized!

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Back to Life Massage and Bodywork – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
My clients would say I’m known for my hot towels, squishy table and my signature Thai massage hip stretch! My approach to massage is very individual. Even with long time clients, no session is the same. I customize every session to what is happening for them that day so that as their needs and desires change, the massage work will modify. I blend several different types of massage including Swedish, trigger point therapy, lomilomi and Thai massage. I don’t shy away from deeper therapeutic work but I always want to make sure that there is plenty of soothing work to leave your body and your nervous system relaxed. A happy, relaxed nervous system makes a happy, relaxed body.

I’m most proud of the relationships I create with my clients. I build extra time into every session to not be rushed through the intake so that I can really understand my client’s needs that day. I want to understand them and their life so I can structure the best session and give recommendations for self-care outside of the session that will work for them. I also give the full session of bodywork not a shortened session. Some places will book you for a 60 minute session but once you get in the room there is less time because of getting on and off the table. I always give you a full 60 or 90 minutes of massage. Every session also includes Doterra Essential Oils, hot towels and heat therapy at no additional cost.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
So many things to love about San Diego! I’m originally from Oregon so I would have to say the sunshine is one of my favorite things! I love that most everywhere I go I can see awesome views of the ocean. I especially love Coronado and Cowles Mountain. Plus all the cool neighborhoods…South Park and Hillcrest are 2 faves! My least favorite part of San Diego is lack of good public transportation. I wish I didn’t have to be in my car so much!


  • 60 Minute Custom Massage $90
  • 90 Minute Custom Massage $125
  • 120 Minute Custom Massage $160

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Photos courtesy of Lowell Niles at Sunworld Studios in San Diego and Steve Johnson

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. sandy

    November 10, 2017 at 12:25 am

    This is a great piece, thank you so much for bringing Barbara and her work and passion to light.

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