Our Origins

For over 30 years, Vital Living has been Fort Wayne's premier location for Therapeutic Massage, recognized with the Fort Wayne Readers' Choice Award for over 15 years. We impact and improve the lives of thousands in Northern Indiana and beyond, staying true to our heart-centered approach to pain relief and integrative health. Vital Living is dedicated to creating an environment where individuals can experience Beauty, Goodness, Joy, and Healing on the deepest levels to enhance all aspects of their life.

Learn more about Janet Carroll, our heart and founder of Vital Living, and Stephanie Florin, our new co-owner, and their journey that got us here...

Janet Carroll, RN, LMT

Vital Living Integrative WellSpa Owner

Janet brings 50 years of nursing experience to Vital Living – 16 years in traditional nursing and the past 35 years as a Nurse Massage Therapist, Educator, and Business Owner. Blending traditional and complementary medicine, she pioneered a 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.

Stacey went on to graduate from the University of St. Francis in 2013 with her Masters of Science in Nursing as a Family Nurse Practitioner. Now a full-time Nurse Practitioner, she is no longer practicing massage therapy but has become a “regular” on the receiving end again.

Grandchildren – Piper & Tilmon - my "Why". They make my heart sing!

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 Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP), American Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA), and a former member of the National Association of Nurse Massage Therapists (NANMT). Janet retired from treating clients in 2014 to focus full-time on the business. She maintains her skills through educating clients and staff and treating her family.

Stephanie Florin, FDN-P, BCTMB, LMT

Vital Living Integrative WellSpa Co-owner

PLA#: MT21204286
National Provider Identifier (NPI) #: 1851775209

Since 2005, Stephanie has been dedicated to helping individuals pursue holistic methods for better overall health. She received extensive training in herbs, supplements, and topical remedies, assisting a local nutritionist and supporting clients through behavior modifications and natural remedies. Her education and interest in essential oils, nutrition, and cellular and quantum science has been foundational to her practice. Stephanie has additional training in various modalities, including Aromatherapy, Lithotherapies, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Five Element Theory, and Usui Reiki. From 2005 to 2009, she offered services as a 13th Generation Usui Reiki Master and owned her own company featuring Reiki Candles, Aromatherapy, Dead Sea Bath Salts, and other natural topical remedies for stress reduction and relaxation.

In 2009, after moving back to Fort Wayne, Stephanie focused on deepening her understanding of bodywork by treating the nervous system and studying the human body's response to stressors. Expanding her knowledge of human anatomy and physiology, along with the psychology of the body, was instrumental in her training. Stephanie's 1,300-hour massage therapy program included studying pharmacology and herbs & drugs, and later attended additional coursework with a special emphasis on regulating the nervous system through massage and behavioral changes for stress reduction.

Stephanie joined Vital Living in 2013 as an LMT specializing in Medical Massage Therapy while working concurrently at the local hospital's Emergency Department. In 2014, she in shattered her ankle and wrist in the winter and spent time rehabing it personally. Her injuries were a setback she worked to overcome and turned it into a learning opportunity to treat clients suffering from nerve damage, dysregulation, and recovery from chronic/acute injury. She was one of the lead therapists until the end of 2019, when she had to step down due to health issues.

She continued working part-time with clients until 2022, when she retired to focus on her FDN-P certification and allow her body to heal, acknowledging the physical demands of a massage therapist's career, which typically lasts 3-8 years. During this time, Stephanie balanced work, family, and her studies.

In 2023, after a much-needed sabatical, Stephanie felt rejuvenated and inspired to open our second location in Leo, serving her hometown community. She came out of retirement to expand Vital Living’s services to a new audience and continue her mission of holistic health and wellness.

Her holistic approach integrates Myofascial Release (MFR), Craniosacral Therapy (CST), and Reiki to treat the whole person, addressing chronic pain and dysfunction by unwinding physical trauma and metabolic chaos caused by everyday stressors.

Stephanie states, “Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Gandhi. Her enthusiasm and wealth of information inspire clients to make meaningful changes in their lives. She is dedicated to helping individuals achieve optimal health through integrative nutrition, personalized wellness programs, and compassionate care.

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