Our staff members are the heart and soul of Vital Living WellSpa. Their attention to detail is surpassed only by their warmth and dedication to service. Every staff member embodies Vital Living’s core philosophy and shares that with clients in his or her own unique way. As they are all specialists in the therapeutic modalities they practice, they bring their years of clinical experience, academic training and professional credentials to you in a caring, personalized way to provide you with the most beneficial healing treatment – all within a beautiful, relaxing, and joy-filled environment. Beauty, heart and professional excellence – that’s VLW Signature Care.
Janet Carroll, RN, NMT, CMT, Nurse Massage Therapist, Certified Massage Therapist, Owner
National Provider Identifier (NPI) #: 1124494505
Janet, Co-owner of Vital Living WellSpa, brings 43 years of nursing experience to Vital Living – 16 years in traditional nursing and the past 28 years as a Nurse Massage Therapist, Educator and Business Owner. Blending traditional and complementary medicine, this was the beginning of her career in Integrative Health and Wellness.
Recognizing the value of medical massage therapy for pain relief, restriction of movement, rehabilitation from injury, trauma and surgery, as well as a myriad of other health issues including toxic stress, she realized that physicians didn’t understand that medical massage was a missing link in prevention and treatment. She also saw the need for professional education. So in 1990, Center for Vital Living (CVL) School of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork was born. As Education Director, curriculum was developed, Instructors hand-picked and full accreditation in Indiana and Ohio was completed. CVL became the first massage school in Indiana to be approved for an Associate Degree program in Massage Therapy. Thus, the vision became reality – the Clinic provided professional Therapeutic Massage services and the school developed well trained Massage Therapists who had a strong foundation in “result-oriented” comprehensive therapeutic massage (aka bodywork). This was quite different from the typical entry level “relaxation massage” schools around the country. Another dream was realized when CVL was consulted to help design the first hospital-based “Wellness Oasis” at St. Joseph Medical Center in Fort Wayne, IN; and then again when regional massage schools began popping up with curriculums quite similar to CVL… imitation, the greatest form of flattery. Concurrently, Janet maintained a successful massage therapy practice specializing in Myofascial Release (MFR) and CranioSacral Therapy (C/S) until the school closed its doors in 2007. Closing one door and opening another, Janet and Stacey Elwood joined together in April, 2007. Vital Living Therapeutic Massage, LLC was created. As massage therapy services expanded and more Integrative Wellness services were added, the name was changed to Vital Living WellSpa to better reflect the variety of services being offered.
Janet states, “Everything Vital Living offers has a medical reason behind it, even stress reduction/relaxation massage. We’re definitely more than“fluff ‘n buff”; we’ve grown far beyond the limited image of massage as a luxury reserved only for the wealthy. Myofascial Release (MFR) made such a profound impact on my health 28 years ago that I left my traditional nursing career to pursue massage therapy and integrative health. I’ve never looked back!”
“Awareness has definitely increased in the past 28 years; but the medical community and people in general, are still learning how much influence therapeutic/medical massage has on a vast number of health concerns. The same holds true with our Medical Grade Infrared BodyWraps and LED (red light) Photo-Facials. The health benefits are tremendous! And we can no longer ignore the importance of eating healthy nutrient-dense, plant-based foods if real wellness is to be achieved. It’s an essential component in reducing systemic inflammation, relieving pain, losing weight and achieving optimal health. You’ll be seeing more to come in this area. Vital Living has always been in the forefront as a leading health pioneer bringing time-tested health and treatment modalities to Fort Wayne and the region. You can expect more Integrative Wellness services to be added as the future unfolds. You may have noticed our Aesthetics Division is growing by leaps and bounds. We’re very excited about all of this!” Janet is an Advisory Board Member for Ivy Tech’s Massage Therapy Program as well as a member of the American Massage Council and a former member of the National Association of Nurse Massage Therapists (NANMT). Janet retired from treating clients in 2014 to focus more on the business. She maintains her skills through educating clients and staff and treating her family.
Therapeutic Specialist: Myofascial Release, Craniosacral Therapy, Personal Growth through Bodywork
Stacey Elwood, MSN, NP-C, RN, NMT, CMT, Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Massage Therapist, CMT, Owner
Stacey, Co-owner of Vital Living WellSpa, has been a Certified Massage Therapist since 1999 and a Registered Nurse since 1988. Her passion for massage therapy and complementary healing began after receiving regular massage and experiencing relief from frequent headaches. Stacey graduated from Healthy Lifestyle School of Massage in Muncie, Indiana and continued her training at Center for Vital Living School of Therapeutic Massage in Fort Wayne. She specialized in the areas of Therapeutic Massage, Prenatal Massage, Hot Stone Massage, Raindrop Therapy and Thai Yoga Massage. She also continued working part-time in traditional nursing.
Stacey graduated from the University of St. Francis in 2013 with her Masters of Science in Nursing as a Family Nurse Practitioner. Stacey is now a full-time Nurse Practitioner. She loves Integrative Medicine and believes strongly in the benefits of massage therapy. With her busy schedule, she is no longer practicing massage therapy but has become a “regular” on the receiving end again.
“I really believe in the power of compassionate touch and due to the fast-paced technological age that we are in….it is needed more than ever! I really enjoyed treating each person uniquely, integrating a variety of massage modalities to help achieve pain and stress relief and relaxation for my clients.”
Our Professional Staff…
Bobbie J. Baxter, CMT, LMT Licensed/Certified Massage Therapist, CranioSacral Specialist, Integrative Energetic Practitioner, A.S. & B.S. in Sciences
National Provider Identifier (NPI) #: 1225579147
Bio coming soon.
Customized Therapeutics: Therapeutic Massage, CranioSacral Therapy, Deep Tissue and Trigger Point Therapy, Qi-Myo, Hot Stone Massage, Reflexology, Shiatsu, Raindrop Therapy, Aromatherapy, Energy Work and Balancing, Deep Relaxation Massage.
Semaj Rramal Crawford, CMT, Certified Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness and Life Coach
National Provider Identifier (NPI) #: 1558687947
Semaj loves people, all people, everywhere. He’s never met a stranger and believes his life’s work is to help others. As Semaj always says, “Welcome. From this point on, it’s all about YOU!” Semaj is an excellent massage therapist with over 30 years experience all over the world…..from Hong Kong to California to Fort Wayne. He’s proficient at Deep Tissue, Lymph Drainage, Chronic Pain Relief, Isokinetic Sports Massage, Meridian Therapy etc… but his deepest love is transformational bodywork. Specifically, YOUR transformation.
” If you feel like life is running you, or if one more thing happens you will explode, here is where you need to be – don’t move. Take a deep breath, relax, gently let go and make the decision that from this moment on, things are going to change! Your pain originated in the past and no longer belongs in your present.”
He calls his work Integrated Flow Massage and his clients can’t say enough good things about him. He typically incorporates Hot Stones and Aromatherapy in his work. A couple of Semaj’s specialties are fibromyalgia and migraine relief, but he effectively treats all types and causes of pain.
With Semaj, you can always expect an amazing treatment but what you’re not expecting is such an amazing experience…every time.
The name Semaj means: “a man who obeys God; your name brings love and new starts into life.” And that’s how you’ll feel when you walk out of his room; pain free, deeply relaxed and ready to take on the world.
Healing Therapeutics: Integrated Flow Massage, Lymph Drainage, Deep Tissue Massage, Meridian Therapy, Cupping Therapy, Hot Stones in Motion, Isokinetic Deep Tissue Sports Massage, Aromatherapy, and Energy Work.
Stephanie M. Florin, CMT, BCTMB, Certified Massage Therapist, Board Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (BCTMB), Advanced Certification in Medical Massage Therapy, Certified in Fascial Movement Taping, Certified Personal Fitness Trainer and Reiki Master Teacher
National Provider Identifier (NPI) #: 851775209
Stephanie is only able to take physician referrals at this time due to her schedule. Give us a call and we will be happy to match you up with another great Massage Therapist for your individual needs.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Gandhi. That’s what Stephanie aspires to… to be aware of how her thoughts, emotions, and actions influence herself and the world around her; to strive every day to make a difference in the lives of others. Her enthusiasm is contagious and you’ll find her to be a wealth of information.
Stephanie graduated from Ivy Tech with an AAS in Therapeutic Massage, is Board Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork and just completed an intensive year-long Medical Massage program. She now has an Advanced Certification in Medical Massage Therapy. Stephanie’s love is to use her talents in treating clients who are having pain or dysfunction rather than doing relaxation massage.
Trained in many healing modalities, Stephanie is able to work with clients experiencing a wide range of issues. Her background as a Certified Personal Fitness Trainer, certified through the National Federation for Professional Trainers (NFPT), has been a valuable asset in treating her massage clients and also in working with fitness and healthcare professionals of Northeast Indiana. Her skills and knowledge of muscle imbalances and biomechanical assessment enable her to more effectively assess, treat and educate her clients. Some of her continuing education has been in Craniosacral Therapy and Myofascial Release for treatment of head and neck, Cupping Therapy and Fascial Movement Taping for Pain and Posture. Besides those mentioned, Stephanie’s therapeutic specialties include Integrated Deep Tissue for Pain Management, Orthopedic and Medical Massage Therapy and Neuromuscular Therapy. Stephanie is a Reiki Master and a member of Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP).
Customized Therapeutics: Integrated Deep Tissue for Pain Management, Orthopedic & Medical Massage, Cupping Therapy, Myofascial Release, Craniosacral Therapy, Prenatal Medical Massage, Post-Op Rehabilitation, Fascial Movement Taping for Pain and Posture, and Reiki.
Karen Gorrell, RN, CMT, Nurse Massage Therapist, CMT
“My passion for massage began with receiving my mother’s head & neck massages many years ago. The message was clear: there are alternative ways of dealing with pain and symptoms. Nursing has benefited my massage journey; massage has certainly enhanced my nursing practice. Therapeutic Massage covers many forms of massage. My approach is very eclectic and energy work is so ingrained in my massage therapy that the two have become one. That’s what makes the biggest difference in healing.”
Karen has been an RN for over 30 years in intensive care and home health nursing. The past 10 years have been with Community Home Health Care in Nursing Case Management. Karen states, “I really expected nursing to change my massage but what has surprised me is that exactly the opposite has happened. Massage Therapy has affected my nursing much more. I notice so much more about my patients now. My nursing assessments are definitely more well-rounded.”
Karen’s mom was also an RN and in fact took the Integrative Massage class at Vital Living with Karen because they thought it would be a fun thing for them to do together. Her mom was 86 at the time and holds the distinction of being our oldest student! Karen definitely has her mom’s liveliness and sense of humor. Karen graduated from Center for Vital Living; dba Vibrant Life Resources in 2000. Her love of people is apparent in the work she does and that quality comes through in her reassuring, nurturing quality of touch. Everyone and everything around her seems to bloom! Her patients and clients love her and her flowers and garden are gorgeous. Karen is a member of the American Massage Council.
Customized Therapy: Prenatal Massage, Relaxation Massage, Deep Tissue Therapy, Aromatherapy, Raindrop Therapy and Energy Work.
Terrie Hayes, CMT, Certified Massage Therapist
Bio coming soon.
Customized Therapeutics: Deep Tissue Therapy
Val Kobelja, CMT, BA, Certified Massage Therapist
“Growing up in a war-torn country, medicine was limited. I watched my family use alternative medicine such as herbs, ointments, cupping, and massage to heal the body. I have used Ashiatsu to help my mom with her aches and pains for years. Ashiatsu, is a modality where a therapist uses bare feet to “walk” on specific muscle groups. I remember my mom always got pain relief with each ashiatsu session. This experience influenced me to pursue a degree in Massage Therapy.”
Val graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2007 with an Associate of Applied Science in Therapeutic Massage from Ivy Tech. She then went on to receive a Bachelor’s in Applied Management from Trine University in 2009. Val has been a Massage Therapist for 10 years in both clinical massage and chiropractic settings. She loves result-oriented work but believes the body is a whole system, not separate parts. Therefore, her approach is to also nurture and bring balance and unity into the body as a whole.
“I have to say, to this day, I still love and practice Ashiatsu, along with Manual Massage Therapy. I have seen so many benefits in myself and my clients from massage therapy. It facilitates and enhances physical, emotional and mental awareness in your daily life. Physically you can experience relief of pain and spasm, reduced inflammation, increased energy, increased flexibility and mobility, decreased swelling, better sleep, improved immune system and more. Stress relief, physically and emotionally, is an extremely important component to health and pain relief. Unresolved stress is anchored in your tissues and can wreak havoc in your health, emotions, thought processes, and quality of life. Your body contracts and becomes saturated; you’re unable to let the pain and stress out and conversely there is no room for joy, love, hope and fulfillment to flow in. Basically massage promotes freedom. As a Massage Therapist, I’m reminded every day to be “present” and to be mindful of what we do to and for each other. I’m so grateful. It truly is a gift.”
Val is extremely personable, joyful and loves people. Clients immediately feel comfortable and in good hands.
Val, in her “past life”, was an Aquatics Director and Swim Instructor at the YMCA. To this day, she still loves to swim and does so regularly. “This is part of my exercise regimen, along with some yoga and running. I love so many things outdoors: kayaking, hiking, and tending my small vegetable garden.”
Val is a member of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA).
Customized Therapeutics: Therapeutic Massage, Integrative Deep Tissue & Trigger Point Therapy, Ashiatsu, Reflexology, Couples Massage, Prenatal Massage, and Hot Stone Massage.
Kristine Lamborne, CMT, Certified Massage Therapist
“I have been a Certified Massage Therapist for 12 years. I find my clients are usually looking for relief from stress or discomfort due to past injuries or illness. Whether you are an athlete, cancer patient, geriatric client, pregnant mom or a regular Joe, getting consistent, regular massage therapy is the key to staying healthy and pain-free. You take your car in for regular maintenance – do the same for yourself. Your health is invaluable – massage is essential.” Kris
Kris graduated as valedictorian from Center for Vital Living in 2004. She provides therapeutic massage, reflexology and healing touch for adults of all ages but she has a special love for Oncology Massage. Kris works with individuals who have experienced various types of cancer, but she has a personal interest in women who have dealt with breast cancer. She loves pampering all of her clients and making every massage special.
Vital Living WellSpa is privileged to have a lot of artistic talent within our staff and Kris did much of our original artwork. She also does all of our holiday decorating. Massage therapy is an art as well as a science. The heart has the ability to promote healing and effect change on multiple levels through the artistic aspect of massage. Knowledge and skill are very essential components of the scientific aspect of massage but used alone can be mechanical, superficial and short-lived. Kris offers the perfect blend and her heart shines through in everything she does.
Kris is a member of Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP).
Customized Therapeutics: Therapeutic Massage, Deep Relaxation Massage, Prenatal Massage, Hot Stone Massage, Couples Massage, Oncology Massage, Reflexology, Raindrop Therapy and Healing Touch.
Cindy Moser, CMT, Certified Massage Therapist, Advanced Certification in Medical Massage Therapy, Community Outreach Coordinator
National Provider Identifier (NPI) #: 1770952053
Cindy’s greatest passion in life is helping other people and massage therapy has been a naturally unfolding part of her life, starting as a child. Cindy graduated from Ivy Tech with her AAS degree in Therapeutic Massage in 2007 and prior to that received an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration with a Specialty in Business Management in 1995. Cindy completed an intensive year-long Medical Massage program and has her Advanced Certification in Medical Massage Therapy.
Cindy loves the holistic approach to health that massage therapy and bodywork provide. Utilizing many different massage modalities, the majority of her experience has been in the field of health & fitness. Her practice has included adolescents to geriatrics and has spanned prenatal massage to deep tissue therapy and sports massage on giants… well, not really but the Fort Wayne Mad Ants are pretty tall!
Cindy’s quality of touch melts stress and anxiety. Her quality of touch, her evaluation and assessment skills combined with her “internal radar” and medical massage are some of her greatest strengths. She excels at detailed muscle work and getting to the core of the problem. What we hear most from her clients is, “No one has ever done that before! Oh my gosh, I can’t believe the difference!” Clients love her work and often schedule all of their appointments three to six months out. Cindy still has openings though so don’t hesitate to call.
Cindy is very dedicated to her family (her husband and three daughters) as well as helping others. Cindy says, “God has given me the skills and talents I have so that I may use them to help others – I need to use these gifts well.”
Cindy is a member of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA).
Customized Therapeutics: Therapeutic Massage, Orthopedic and Medical Massage Therapy, Cupping Therapy, Prenatal Massage, Geriatric Massage, Couples Massage, Swedish Relaxation/Wellness Massage, Reflexology, Raindrop Therapy, Aromatherapy and Chair Massage.
Kristen Newman, CMT, LE, Certified Massage Therapist, Advanced Certification in Medical Massage Therapy, Licensed Esthetician, B.A. in Psychology
National Provider Identifier (NPI) #: 1073982690
Vital Living welcomed Kristen to our team in October 2014. We searched a long time for an experienced and dually Certified Massage Therapist and Licensed Esthetician with the flexibility to provide Vital Living clients with Professional Skin Care and/or Therapeutic Bodywork. Coincidentally, Kristen was recommended by two different professionals in the same week. We are very pleased to have Kristen with us.
Kristen has been passionate about Aesthetics for over 10 years (Masters of Cosmetology, 2004) and decided to go back to school to expand her education in Massage Therapy, graduating from Ivy Tech in 2013. Kristen completed an intensive year-long Medical Massage program and has her Advanced Certification in Medical Massage Therapy. Her Myofascial Release and Craniosacral training has been with John Barnes, the Master of MFR. Kristen loves learning all that she can to assist her clients on their journey toward wellness. Now she lives her dream and provides healing services in both, Aesthetics and Massage Therapy.
Kristen is very conscientious and genuinely cares about her clients. Besides her clients, another big love in Kristen’s life is her 10-year-old cockapoo named Ziva (yes, from NCIS).
Kristen is a member of Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP).
Customized Therapeutics: Therapeutic Massage, Orthopedic and Medical Massage, Myofascial Release, Craniosacral Therapy, Deep Tissue Therapy, Prenatal Massage, Hot Stone Massage, Couples Massage, Reflexology, Raindrop Therapy, Aromatherapy and Fijian Massage.
Customized Aesthetics: Full Menu of Skin Care Services – Facials, Enzymes, Chemical Peels, Extractions, Luminosity Body Scrubs and Waxing.
Amy Jo Prince, LMT, CMT, Certified Massage Therapist and Licensed Massage Therapist in Texas
National Provider Identifier (NPI) #:
Bio coming soon.
Amy Jo is a member of Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP).
Customized Therapeutics: Therapeutic Massage, Deep Tissue Therapy, Myofascial Release (Structural Integration), Thai-Shiatsu Bodywork, Sports Massage, Acupressure, Meridian Therapy and Reflexology.
Lauren Suzanne, CMT, BCTM, Certified Massage Therapist, Board Certified in Therapeutic Massage (BCTM), Certified Yoga Instructor, BS in Exercise Physiology and Psychology
National Provider Identifier (NPI) #:1083081400
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” – Leo Buscaglia.
It’s a fact that touch is a basic human need and the profound effect that touch can have is evident in Lauren’s work. Caring touch by its nature is relaxing, nurturing and healing. Lauren believes that Therapeutic Massage balances and rejuvenates from the inside out….as well as from the outside in!
Lauren has been working with Vital Living WellSpa since December 2011. She graduated from Ivy Tech with her AAS in Therapeutic Massage in 2012 and that was her third degree. She’s Nationally Certified in Massage Therapy, has a BS in Exercise Physiology and a BS in Psychology from Ball State University. In addition, Lauren is a Certified Yoga Instructor, practicing yoga since 1998 and in the Fort Wayne area since 2010.
Her yoga teaching style focuses on body mechanics, ease of movement and a relaxed sense of awareness – being more in touch with your body. She synthesizes her experience in yoga, exercise physiology and assessment skills in massage therapy to identify participants’ tight and restricted areas and through yoga assists them in correcting those postures. However, many times the soft tissue restrictions are such that bodywork (massage) is needed, after which yoga helps the individual maintain their alignment and flexibility. At Vital Living, Lauren puts the puzzle pieces together and uses Therapeutic Massage and Myofascial Massage to relieve pain and improve function. She does all of that and makes her client feel wonderful at the same time!
Through her love and knowledge of yoga, fitness and wellness, Lauren’s practice of massage endeavors to assist each client in finding that unique balance of body and spirit. She recommends appropriate self-care treatments and stretches along with stress relieving exercises that are mentally and emotionally calming to reduce inflammatory stress hormones that contribute to pain. The result is improved physical as well as relational aspects of life. Lauren may even recommend singing… it relaxes the throat, neck and shoulders, uplifts spirits, expands and calms. How does she know this? Music is another of Lauren’s loves – ask her about the band she used to sing in! Lauren is a member of Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP). “I look forward to making a positive difference in your life today! Namaste.” Lauren
Lauren is a member of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA).
Customized Therapy: Therapeutic Massage, Myofascial Massage, Deep Tissue Therapy, Prenatal Massage, Couples Massage and Swedish Relaxation/Wellness Massage.
Gayle Zuber, CMT, Certified Massage Therapist, Geriatric Outreach Coordinator
Gayle has been in practice at Vital Living since graduating from Center for Vital Living in 2001. Her welcoming smile, reassuring manner and nurturing touch create an immediate rapport with her clients. That and her expertise in Oncology and Hospice Massage make her a perfect match for individuals of all ages who have cancer or any other debilitating disease who need physical or emotional support or pain management. Stressed family members also find massage extremely beneficial. Senior citizens love her easy going sense of humor and feel right at home with her.
As our community outreach therapist, Gayle makes on-site visits three (3) different ways. She sees hospice patients in Allen and surrounding counties through Visiting Nurse and Hospice by request from the family or referral by the medical staff. Also, any resident living in Assisted Living Communities, a Nursing Home or any individual who is homebound can call Vital Living to request her on-site services on a self-pay basis. Lastly, Activity Directors of Assisted Living and Nursing Home facilities often coordinate massage services for residents on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. If it isn’t offered for your loved one, let the Activity Director know that you believe massage for seniors is a valuable service. Studies have shown that lack of touch increases senility so nurturing touch is vital to quality of life.
Gayle also takes evening and occasional Saturday afternoon appointments at Vital Living WellSpa. She creates a healing sanctuary that invites you to let go and relax deeply. Gayle states, “I’ve experienced the transformative benefits of massage physically, emotionally and mentally with my clients of all ages and believe massage is an essential component in any quality health program as well as end of life care. It doesn’t hurt that it happens to be all natural and feels wonderful!”
Gayle is a member of Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP).
Therapeutic Massage: Geriatric Massage, Oncology and Hospice Massage at Assisted Living Communities, Nursing Homes, Hospice Home and Home-Bound, Wellness & Deep Relaxation Massage, Prenatal Massage, Hot Stone Massage and Couples Massage.
Our Dedicated Office Staff…