Jill K. Berkana BCTMB

“The Berkana Institute of Massage Therapy is really different. We do not follow current industry trends in massage therapy education, and we are extremely proud of, and committed to our stance.  We are the minority, championing the “old school” approach to massage therapy education while integrating professional evolution. As for the trend of Massage Therapists being converted into 9-5 laborers by corporate McMassage chains, Bodywork Artists can avoid working for exploitative middle men. We should always be compensated appropriately, and should not be burning out after only 3-5 years in the profession. We train the exception to the rule. At Berkana, we cultivate mindful bodywork artists and serious professionals. Massage Therapy is and always has been a holistic health care Art. If we ever start to follow the massage industry trends of sterilizing, and mass-discount selling massage therapy, we have lost integrity with our mission.  Our graduates are consistently at the forefront of our profession, they know not to settle for less than excellence for themselves and for their clientele.” ~ Jill Kristin Berkana LMT, BCTMB

Jill Kristin Berkana LMT, BCTMB

Founder – Director – Academic Dean – Instructor Trainer – Mindful Expressionism® Originator – Advocate and Ambassador for the Massage Therapy and Bodywork Profession


Jill Kristin Berkana founded the Berkana Institute of Massage Therapy in 2011. She is the School Director, the Academic Dean and provides strategic leadership for the Berkana Institute’s Academic Department. She served as a Board Director for the United States National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork and was the Board Liaison for the NCBTMB Ethics and Standards Committee.


Ms. Berkana is the Original Developer of the Berkana Institute’s Style of Bodywork, and designed the comprehensive curriculum. She is the chief advisor for all Berkana Institute’s operational, student and faculty affairs. In 2005 she founded the Costa Rica School of Massage Therapy (CRSMT) and was the Acting Director, Academic Dean, and Senior Bodywork Instructor for the “Jungle Massage School” from its inception through the fall of 2011. She is a Licensed and Board Certified Massage Therapist. She enjoys a thriving massage therapy practice since 1990, during which she has inspired and mentored many students and provided thousands of massage therapy treatments to a dedicated clientele, specializing in Normalization of Soft Tissue techniques (NST), Integrative Massage Therapy, Myo-fascial Release, and Neuro-Muscular Therapy. Ms. Berkana is a U.S. National Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork Approved Continuing Education Provider.


Her extensive and evolving career path in the massage therapy profession has led to the development and oversight of massage therapy programs for health clubs, chiropractic offices and educational ventures. She created and launched a destination spa program for a resort in the jungles of Belize where she provided massage, spa treatments, strength training, nutritional counseling, and guided tours. She has provided expert consultation for resorts and spas internationally. Over the years, she has worked with a full spectrum of clients including infants, professional athletes, cancer survivors, adolescents, elderly clients and familiar celebrities.


Ms. Berkana is the originator of the creative bodywork approach known as Mindful Expressionism®. Mindful Expressionism® blends the therapist’s unique expression of bodywork as an art form, with the customization of treatments designed specifically to meet the client’s constantly changing needs. The therapist utilizes intuition, communication and mindfulness in order to understand and respond to the client’s feedback. Mindful Expressionism® is a meditative form of artistic bodywork with no agenda, no assumption, or standardized recipe. Therapists draw on traditional, modern and invented techniques in order to provide powerfully effective treatment, while enhancing the holistic well-being of the client. With this approach, every massage can be a masterpiece, and as such, be deeply rewarding for the bodywork artists, as well as the client. Mindful Expressionism® supports industry longevity for the therapist.


Ms. Berkana is a passionate advocate and ambassador for the massage therapy profession and is excited about the future of this healing art and is training apprentices to teach her methodology and style in schools abroad and in the United States.


In addition to enjoying long-term success in the massage therapy profession, Ms. Berkana also has extensive experience as an international entrepreneur and business professional. She enjoys travel, yoga, creative writing, chocolate, playing the piano, organic gardening, cooking, and dabbles in graphic design and painting.