Sam Issari, Owner and Managing Director

Sam Issari, Executive Director, Vancouver School of Bodywork and Massage

Sam became the owner and Managing Director of VSBM in May 2016. He was drawn to the healing energy of the space and the human element of VSBM that is often absent in other industries. Sam has a background in health and sport supplements and comes from a successful career in sales and marketing, most recently in the ever-evolving world of e-commerce.

He is passionate about working with the school’s dedicated instructors to deliver high quality education to students at all stages of the healing journey. Sam believes in the transformational power of the healing arts and in his spare time enjoys many outdoor pursuits including skiing, volleyball and swimming.

Sam’s office is located at the VSBM studio on Water Street, Vancouver and students and staff are encouraged to utilize his open door policy should they have any questions or concerns about their program or the school.

 

Marie Salton, Program Director

MarieHeadShotCROP (3)Marie graduated in 2005 from the Spa Therapy Program at VSBM. Since graduation Marie has remained involved with the school. She has tutored, mentored, been a TA for several modalities and served on the VSBM’s Advisory Committee. In 2010 she began lead instructing and has taught Hot Stone, Spa Business Skills, Hydrotherapy and Joint Release.

She started her massage career in 2006 at Poet’s Cove on Pender Island and then Last Frontier heli-skiing. In 2007 Marie worked for the Sacred Stone Spa in Tofino, BC, first as a bodyworker and then as assistant manager. She bought the spa in 2008 and operated it as general manager to 2013, when she sold her interest. Marie relocated back to Vancouver and worked for 3 years at Sense Spa at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia (5-Star).

Marie has throughout continued her own training and workshops, taking Shiatsu, Thai Massage, Thai Foot Massage, Deep Tissue, Reiki, and Pregnancy Massage. In particular, Marie has become increasingly involved with Deep Flow, as a student, then TA, and currently as an instructor.

As VSBM Program Director Marie wants to ensure the Spa Therapy Program continues evolving and meeting demand from an ever-changing spa industry. Her goal is a program that is highly focused and effectively delivered. Read more about Marie at mariesalton.com.

 

Cat Thomson, Admissions Director

Cat 3Cat has joined the team at VSBM with over 5 years of experience working in admissions and education. She comes from an expansive background in music. A classically trained pianist, she went on to study opera at Louisiana State University and has had the fortune of performing around the world. Cat understands what it is to follow your heart and take the path less traveled – she has channeled her passion for education and the arts into helping students achieve their dreams. Although relatively new to the world of holistic wellness, Cat’s prior experience translate easily and she too continues her journey with mindfulness meditation.

Laurel Tien, Senior Educational Administrator

Laurel Tien, Senior Educational AdministratorLaurel comes to VSBM with a passion for transformative learning. She has over 25 years experience in curriculum development at the post secondary level in both the public and private sectors. With formal education in Curriculum and Pedagogy/ Art Education at the University of BC and in holistic education at SelfDesign Graduate Institute, she has continued this journey as a PhD student at the California Institute of Integral Studies.

 

Overall she is impassioned about transformative learning experiences that engage the individual/group/ community in developmental unfolding and complexifying states of consciousness.Her current research inquires into how transpersonal, integral, holistic, contemplative, spiritual and evolutionary/developmental lenses illuminate and support transformative learning experiences. laureltien.academia.edu

 

Christine Low, Student Liaison

Christine Low VSBMChristine started off her journey in the field of health and wellness, as a fellow student at VSBM almost a decade ago. She has since connected with others passionate in this industry and enjoyed many wonderful opportunities. Beachside spas, annual wellness retreats and massaging at a heli-ski lodge have all been a part of the experience. Throughout the years she has continued to advance her skills. Highlights include Certification in an Enriched Yoga Teacher Training, Deep Flow Foundations and Level 2, and a Diploma in Osteopathic Manual Practice.

For the last three years she has had the pleasure of building her practice and working alongside a passionate team of therapists at an integrated wellness centre and in October of 2016 Christine branched off to start her own business and now successfully runs her private practise in Kerisdale. Christine believes that the next chapter in her career involves sharing what she has learned with others. Christine knows firsthand what is required when working in a professional environment and hopes to help better support the students throughout the program so they are set up for a successful career. www.christinelow.ca

Denis Martel – Full-time Intake

Denis Martel

Denis completed his West Coast College of Massage Therapy training in 2009.  He has expertise in treating, sports injuries, chronic neck and back pain as well as pregnancy-related issues and teaching parents how to give baby massage. Denis utilizes deep tissue, myofascial release, muscle energy and a variety of other techniques to address treatments.
Dealing with his own history of sports and whiplash injuries ignited his passion around massage therapy and influenced his decision to become an RMT. As part of his massage practice, Denis also enjoys working to educate and treat people who want to find a healthy physical and mental balance for years to come.

Harold Keech – Part-time Intake

Harold KeechHarold is a recent graduate of the Langara Registered Massage Therapist Diploma Program where he completed his program with excellence and is awaiting determination from his board exams. He is a former student athlete from Kwantlen college with a passion for sports, mainly basketball and football, and has aspirations to provide education to young athletes with focus on injury prevention. Harold’s experiences at a gross anatomy lab has given him great passion for human anatomy, and he is very excited to start his career in teaching in Anatomy and Physiology as he enters his first term with VSBM.

Amaro Hogräfer: Deep Tissue Massage, Joint Release

IMG_0778 - Kopie (3)Amaro has worked for thirty years with individuals and groups in the field of bodywork. His qualifications include certifications in Advanced Rolfing®, Rolf Movement, The Trager® Approach and the Dorn® Method as well as a diploma in Naturopathy. As co-founder of the Institute of Bodywork he developed a two year training program in deep tissue bodywork. He has taught Joint Release workshops to various professional groups including naturopaths, midwives and massage therapists. After working closely with pro-golfers, his book, “Focused Relaxation For Golfers” was published in Germany in the 90′s. Amaro has also been invited to present at various events such as the International Dorn Conference.

Amaro relocated from Hamburg, Germany to Vancouver in 2000. He maintains a private practice as a therapist in both of these locations. Amaro has taught at the Vancouver School of Bodywork and Massage since its inception and is widely regarded among both staff and alumni as the “wise man” of VSBM.

Jean-Luc Pilliard: Deep Tissue Massage (part-time program)

Jean-Luc PillardJean-Luc is both a Registered Massage Therapist and a graduate of the Spa Therapy Program at VSBM. After graduating from the part-time program at VSBM in 2007, Jean-Luc practiced bodywork on a part-time basis for a couple of years. His passion for his profession and his thirst for new knowledge soon led him to enroll in the Massage Therapy program at Utopia Academy in Vancouver, where he graduated in 2011. He now works as an RMT at Soma Studio and Qi Integrated Health in Kitsilano.

Drawing from his understanding of the various modalities taught at VSBM as well as his thorough knowledge of human anatomy and clinical massage therapy, Jean Luc brings a very unique synergy to our Deep Tissue Massage course, catering specifically to the needs of the Spa Therapy student.

Marie Salton: Hot Stone Massage, Hydrotherapy

MarieHeadShotCROP (3)Marie graduated from the Vancouver School of Bodywork & Massage in 2005. She’s currently VSBM’s Spa Therapy Program Director and the instructor for Hot Stone Massage, Spa Employment Preparation and Hydrotherapy. In 2005, Marie joined the Sacred Stone team in Tofino, BC, first as a bodyworker, then assistant manager, and then owner. Marie has trained and employed 40 employees, many VSBM graduates of whom came and went for 3-month contracts. At the Sacred Stone Spa, Marie’s practitioners were trained in her signature “Sacred Hot Stone” massage, one of the most popular treatments, which she now shares with VSBM students. Read more about Marie at mariesalton.com.

Natalie Gold: Reflexology

NatGold_sm (2)Natalie has been studying reflexology since she stumbled upon it on a kibbutz in Israel in 1989. Since then she has studied in Israel, Holland and Canada, and received her certification from the Wild Rose College in Vancouver in 1993. She has explored feet all over the globe, working on a wide variety of people and places, from the South Pacific to Whistler, BC. Since moving to Salt Spring Island, she has given workshops, classes and talks about reflexology, yoga and meditation. She is currently working at the Salt Spring Centre of Yoga in the Healing Arts Studio, when not at home micromanaging the lives of her husband and three children.

Glynnis Osher: Aromatherapy, Indian Head Massage

Glynnis OsherGlynnis is a passionate teacher, practitioner and author with over 16 years of experience in Ayurveda, specializing in lifestyle practices, aromatherapy and Indian Head Massage. She is a certified Ayurvedic practitioner, she studied at Bastyre University and The Wise Earth School of Ayurveda, and has also received certification in the Ayurvedic art of Indian Head Massage. She is the founder of Thousand Petal Lotus Indian Head Massage.

Glynnis is also founder and CEO of The Mystic Masala Aromatherapy Inc. As creative director, she designs exquisite Ayurvedic aromatherapy products partnering with a women’s fair-trade herbal cooperative in Nepal. Glynnis is co-author of Your Irresistible Life: 4 Seasons of Self-Care through Ayurveda and Yoga Practices that Work. In April 2014 she opened The Mystic Masala Aromapothecary in Vancouver where she offers her aromatic wares and Indian Head Massage.

Glynnis has been mixing up spice blends, potions and lotions in her kitchen apothecary from a very young age and she loves to work with the wisdom of the herbs, spices and flowers where beauty in nature is an inspiration for her. Through her personal and professional life experiences Glynnis inspires her students and clients to discover their own unique healing path through the aromatic wisdom and beauty of Ayurveda.

Glynnis is co-author of Your Irresistible Life: 4 Seasons of Self-Care through Ayurveda and Yoga Practices that Work.

Fernando Cabrera: Shiatsu

Fernando CabreraFernando is a Registered Shiatsu Therapist and a member of the Shiatsu Therapy Association of B.C. As one of Vancouver’s preeminent therapists, he began his practice of Zen Shiatsu (Masunaga style) in 1992. Fernando formerly taught Shiatsu Therapy at Source Point and Langara College. He is a long-standing faculty member at VSBM teaching Shiatsu level I in the Spa Therapy Program, the Weekend Introductory to Shiatsu as well as acting as Program Director and primary instructor of VSBM’s 150-hour Shiatsu Program.

Fernando’s unique style combines techniques drawn from traditional Thai Massage and Chi Nei Tsang (international organ massage). After 20+ years, he passionately maintains a thriving practice in Kitsilano where he treats his loyal fan-base of shiatsu converts. www.vancouvershiatsu.com

Nicole Schlemm: Sports Massage

Nicole SchlemmNicole is a VSBM alumnus who graduated from the Spa Therapy Program in 2006. In 2010, she graduated from VCMT as a Registered Massage Therapist. Nicole has practiced in many settings around Vancouver including Absolute Spa, Vida Wellness, Deserving Thyme, Gaia Rhythm Organic Bodywork and Oceana Massage. Nicole gained valuable teaching experience as the personal tutor to a visually impaired RMT student. She was involved in virtually every aspect of his education for 2 years. She is now a successfully practicing RMT.

Kirsten Johansson: Professional Development, Body–Mind Integration

KJKirsten is a certified Thai Massage practitioner through the Lotus Palm School in Montreal and a 2004 graduate of the Spa Therapy Program at VSBM. She has also acquired counseling skills through her training with a Master Therapist.

Kirsten currently teaches Body-Mind Integration and Professional Development, as well as being a Student Advisor. Kirsten has a private practice in massage and counseling in the West End, in addition to working as a massage practitioner at Vida Spa. She also teaches at Rhodes College.

Kirsten integrates somatic experience with emotional, psychological and spiritual healing. She believes that emotional and psychological pain resides in contracted muscles, tissues and joints, as well as in the organ and nervous systems. She has developed a variety of approaches to process and heal the difficult issues, conflicts and wounds of those selecting to enter the counseling portion of her private practice.  Kirsten is keenly aware that the mind, body and spirit of each individual must be addressed in healing.

Building on her degree in Fine Arts and her experience in the wellness industry, Kirsten’s her completed her Master’s Degree in Expressive Art Therapy.

Marie Salton: Business Skills – Spa Employment Preparation

MarieHeadShotCROP (3)Marie graduated from the Vancouver School of Bodywork & Massage in 2005. She’s currently VSBM’s Spa Therapy Program Director and the instructor for Hot Stone Massage, Spa Employment Preparation and Hydrotherapy. In 2005, Marie joined the Sacred Stone team in Tofino, BC, first as a bodyworker, then assistant manager, and then owner. Marie has trained and employed 40 employees, many VSBM graduates of whom came and went for 3-month contracts. At the Sacred Stone Spa, Marie’s practitioners were trained in her signature “Sacred Hot Stone” massage, one of the most popular treatments, which she now shares with VSBM students.

Paula Jaspar – Ethics

Paula JasparPaula is a Registered Massage Therapist and is a member of the College of Massage Therapists of BC, the Massage Therapy Association of BC, Doulas of North America, and Doula Services Association of BC. Paula received her diploma from the West Coast College of Massage Therapy in 1996, where she then began her teaching career in 1999. She focuses on teaching manual skills, clinical assessment, pregnancy, labour and pediatric massage. She has been invited to appear as a guest speaker at a variety of conferences about women’s health. Paula also has a private practice in Vancouver.

Paula has been involved in VSBM since its inception and acted as advisor in the early planning stages. She is a VSBM icon and continues to share her vast knowledge and boundless passion with ease and good humour. Paula holds the Provincial Instructors Diploma and has completed her Master’s Degree in Education.

Glynnis Osher: Self Care

Glynnis OsherGlynnis is a passionate teacher, Certified Ayurvedic practitioner and author with over 16 years of experience in Ayurveda, specializing in aromatherapy, aromanutrition and Indian Head Massage. She is the founder of Thousand Petal Lotus Indian Head Massage Training.

Glynnis is founder and CEO of the former Mystic Masala Aromatherapy and has partnered with a women’s fair trade herbal collective in Nepal to create authentic Ayurvedic skin care formulas. Her love for sensual healing foods and aromatic Ayurveda has led to her latest venture The Spice Life which offers online learning experiences and products in the art of Ayurvedic aromatherapy and aromanutrition.

Glynnis has been mixing up spice blends, potions and lotions in her kitchen apothecary from a very young age and she loves to work with the wisdom of the herbs, spices and flowers where beauty in nature is an inspiration for her. Through her personal and professional life experiences Glynnis inspires her students and clients to discover their own unique healing path through the aromatic wisdom and beauty of Ayurveda.

Glynnis is co-author of Your Irresistible Life: 4 Seasons of Self-Care through Ayurveda and Yoga Practices that Work.

Nick Feetham: CPR Level A

Nick is a paramedic by trade and owns Critical Interventions, teaching CPR and First Aid to private clients in the Vancouver area.