Berkana Faculty

The Amazing Faculty of our Accelerated and Intensive Massage Therapy School

Ascentia Fox LMT, BCTMB  is a NCBTMB board certified massage therapist and bodyworker. She has been a Berkana Institute faculty member since the inception of the school in 2011. She teaches the Holistic Studies class, as well as the Craniosacral Fascial Release elective course. She has carried a life long passion for holistic, radiant health; graduating from the California Healing Arts College in 2006,  beginning her ongoing studies of Craniosacral Therapy with the Upledger Institute in 2007, holding successful private and cooperative practices with holistic wellness centers in Los Angeles, CA, Costa Rica, Minnesota, and Northern California where she currently lives. Ascentia is also a certified Vinyasa and Yin yoga instructor, Birth Doula, Flower Essence Practitioner, and Ordained Priestess. She views every body as a temple, each educational class or therapeutic session as a ritual, and is always honored to share sacred space.

nw1Natalie Wade LMT Fascinated by the human body and strongly committed to the practice of movement, Natalie earned a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from the University of Illinois in 2011. Her studies were heavily focused in therapeutic treatment, leading her to work and volunteer in various wellness settings and clinics. In the same year, Natalie graduated from the Costa Rica School of Massage Therapy and earned a national certification in massage and bodywork. Her traveling nature and quest for deeper work brought her to Denver to study Mindful Expressionism™ at the Berkana Institute. The work Natalie brings to the table is heavily influenced by the arts, mindfulness, and movement science. It is no secret that Natalie is extremely passionate about her work and the people involved. Through conscious practice of unifying the mind, body, and soul, Natalie strives to teach others how to devote themselves to their own movement and wellness. Natalie is a Certified Mindful Expressionist®.

faculty-4John Yungclas LMT is a lifelong learner and educator who holds a bachelor of science degree in psychology from Santa Clara University and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Colorado at Denver. He has spent much of the past 15 years living and teaching in Germany, Singapore, and the Czech Republic. He finds balance in both mind and body through massage therapy, yoga, and mindful meditation. As a proud graduate of the Berkana Institute of Massage Therapy, John believes that massage therapy is a profession that gives practitioners the opportunity to draw from their artistic, academic, and physical strengths. He also believes that having a strong foundation of self-knowledge, communication skills, ethics, and psychology gives a massage therapist the power to keep themselves and their clients safe and happy.  He teaches the complementary studies courses which include Personal and Professional Inventory, Communications Skills, Professional Ethics, and Psychology of Touch Introduction.

Amanda Tucek LMT Amanda has been practicing the art of bodywork since 2012 when she studied at The Berkana Institute. She has practiced in various locations in Colorado as well as Martha’s Vineyard. Her extensive time and work in the field led her back to the Institute to share what she has learned as a bodywork instructor.

Amanda is passionate about fostering creativity within the scope of the massage therapy profession as well as in her own artistic endeavors. She continues to practice bodywork in Denver, Colorado and strives to be one of the best in the profession.

Todd Ackerman LMT is constantly in awe of the effect that massage can have on people’s lives, including his own. He received his Bachelors of Science in the Biological Sciences from the University of Georgia and his Certificate of Massage Therapy from the Boulder College of Massage Therapy, then continuing on with education in Myofascial Release as well as being certified in Neuromuscular Therapy American Version®. He currently maintains a private practice, often working with postural dysfunction, injury/surgery rehabilitation, overuse injuries, and chronic pain issues. His clientele ranges from professional athletes and computer geeks, to grandmothers. Using his problem-solving approach he helps to treat his clients through deep tissue and sports massage, ultimately to help them learn more about their own bodies. Helping his clients to reconnect the mind with the body, which ultimately improves health, focus, performance, and quality of life, is the chief focus of his practice. As an instructor, he finds it essential to be an approachable instructor, bringing a blend of critical thinking, creativity, humor, and compassion to the classroom. While the science aspect of the massage therapy education can be intimidating to some, with his experience teaching anatomy and kinesiology as well as the day-to-day ‘real world’ experience of educating his clients; he conveys this ‘difficult’ material in a way that can be understood at any level.

Alicia Copeland, LMT Alicia, a Virginia native, is passionate about health and fitness. She received her training and education from the Berkana Institute of Massage Therapy. She loves to learn new modalities to further expand her talents in bodywork. Alicia is dedicated to delivering top quality service, consistency, and leaving her client’s in a state of relief and relaxation. Alicia received her Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the University of Virginia. Her love for children put her on a path to also become a nanny. When Alicia isn’t working, you can find her in the gym or bowling alley. She lives an active lifestyle so she understands her client’s needs to find balance within their lives and body. Alicia is excited to share her passion for bodywork as the Deep Tissue and Myofascial Technique instructor. “My number one goal is to help others feel amazing through a fusion of mindful, therapeutic, and self-help techniques.I understand the body’s needs to relax, repair, and recharge.” From creativity to design, Alicia is a Body Architect ready to design a plan to help with your body’s needs!

Chārutā AhMaiua LMT, CPC is the Ashiatsu Instructor at the Berkana Institute of Massage Therapy.  She earned a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from the University of Delaware in 2002. She then traveled to a remote island country called Kiribati in the South Pacific, where she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer from 2002 to 2004. Living an incredibly simple life with humble islanders profoundly changed her life forever.  It was in Kiribati that an insatiable, lifelong hunger to understand the human condition and be of service to its transformation and evolution was born. Her first step on this new path was massage school. Chārutā graduated from the Ashland Institute of Massage in Southern Oregon top of her class and began her professional bodywork practice in 2006 first in Oregon, then Washington and now Colorado. She specializes in an Ashiatsu-like barefoot massage, myofascial release and bodywork instruction. In addition to teaching at Berkana Institute and having a successful, local massage practice, Chārutā is a certified professional coach, dancer, drummer and mediator.  She believes that all transformation begins with the Self and thus embraces lifelong learning.

Annie Abrahamson LMT Annie has always been drawn to teaching, body science, and the holistic nature of healing. She has a Bachelors in English and Education from CU Denver which inspired her to teach ESL abroad. In 2012, Annie started teaching yoga and developed a passion for body movement, anatomy, and alternative medicine. She craved a deeper and more scientific understanding of bodywork, and later sought out the Berkana Institute to receive her license as a Massage Therapist. Annie strongly believes in nurturing the mind-body connection in order to find alignment in all areas of life. She is passionate about working with people to help them develop a better understanding of their physical strengths, limitations, and overall health.

Lauren Chriceol LMT Originally a Louisiana native, Lauren is a Licensed Massage Therapist in the state of Colorado. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from The University of New Orleans. After working many exciting years in the film and restaurant industries she moved to Colorado on a mission to find personal health and wellness. She knew in order to better serve those around her, she needed to start from within. Surrounded by the majestic powers of the Rocky Mountains, she found just that.

Lauren is a Valedictorian from the Berkana Institute of Massage Therapy and she enjoys a thriving massage therapy career empowering her clients to seek health and balance for themselves. Through her practice she has found the most vital things she cherishes in life: creativity, compassion and healing. Massage Therapy truly is an expression of art for her. Lauren believes in the body’s ability to heal itself and utilizes her expertise to assist in this process. She specializes in therapeutic massage with the intention to encourage relief from pain. Her goal is to genuinely connect with others and seek solutions to their personal health concerns.

Elly Jean (Jia) Bruning CMT Jia holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Missouri, and zealously pursues studies in the field of integrative holistic medicine. She received her bodywork training at the Berkana Institute of Massage Therapy, and is excited about continuing to be involved with the school. She moved to Colorado to study herbalism and alchemical medicine making here in the Rocky Mountains. Jia is also a Yoga Teacher, a Reiki Practitioner, and Neurolinguistic Mindfulness Meditation Guide. She has been traveling for the past 5 years teaching Wellness Workshops across the country. In her free time, she is writing poetry and performing in dance. Jia believes in guiding others towards empowered living through layering holistic wellness modalities. She focuses on utilizing quality therapeutic touch, reconnecting with nature, and developing a healthy relationship with the inner sense of Self.”

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