Cariño Massage was developed from theories of ancient Central American Papil and Mayan Indians and their practice of the “anointment of oil.” Many cultures around the globe view massage as a necessary part of life for a person to be more whole and healthy, not just as a luxury or special occasional gift.

The “Carino” style combines fluid, circular strokes using the palms, fingers and knuckles, with focused integrated breathing (much like that of yoga-style breathing techniques). Muscles are stimulated from multiple directions and varied pressures, while the therapist maintains contact with the body throughout the entire treatment period. The therapist uses the same sequences for each client (providing a consistent experience for every massage), but also modifies the experience based on each client’s needs.


Meet the creator of the “Cariño” Massage ~ Johnny Ray Nelson, Practicing Certified Massage Therapist of 35 years, since 1988.

In the 4 decades since Johnny Ray first obtained his massage certification, he has studied a wide range of therapeutic techniques that serve as the foundation for his signature style called the “Cariño Massage.” These techniques include Swedish, Deep Tissue, Shiatsu, Sports, Reflexology, Thai, Pre/Post-Natal, Lomi Lomi, Reflexology and Integrated Breathing. He mastered these techniques through the many hours he has spent working with chiropractors, physical therapists, geriatric therapists, and practicing at exclusive spas in West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Sacramento and San Francisco.

The birth of the “Cariño Massage” stems from a terrifying incident in 2003 when an airplane crashed into Johnny Ray’s apartment building in West Hollywood, while in a session. A three-story fall from his kitchen window left Johnny with severe injuries, among them multiple broken vertebra’s, broken ankle and shattered wrist, that required immediate surgery.

Professionally, personally, emotionally, physically, and financially devastated by the accident, and told by physicians in Los Angeles that he would never be able to practice massage again, Johnny Ray sought low-cost rehabilitation in his family’s home country of El Salvador.

In El Salvador Johnny Ray’s path to recovery was facilitated by a blind healer who used Ancient Mayan and Papil Indian traditions and beliefs for healing, centering, and realigning the body. These Ancient principles forever altered Johnny Ray’s approach and attitude towards healing and would ultimately form the foundation for the “Cariño Massage” technique, from the inside, out.

Cariño is a Latin word used to express deep care for someone or something, and it was the “Cariño” that was gifted to Johnny Ray in Central America that restored his body, mind and spirit. This new understanding of healing gave him the faith in himself and resilience to continue massaging again.

After four challenging years rebuilding himself, business and fully developing the “Cariño Massage,” Johnny Ray has expanded his private practice into a high-end massage boutique in the heart of West Hollywood…After Covid-19 relocating to the San Francisco Bay where it all began, to care for his elderly mother. It is here that he keeps the Ancient traditions passed down to him by the blind healer alive by continuing to share the gift of Cariño with his exclusive client base, and training other licensed massage therapists in his trademark “Cariño” style.