Our Origins

Celebrating over 10 years as the recipient of Fort Wayne Readers' Choice Award, Vital Living impacts and improves lives for thousands in Northern Indiana and beyond.  Fort Wayne's premier location for Therapeutic Massage continues its mission and heart-centered approach to pain relief and integrative health -- proudly continuing its tradition of Vital Living for nearly 30 years!  Vital Living is dedicated to creating an environment where individuals can experience Beauty, Goodness, Joy and Healing on the deepest levels to improve all aspects of their life.

Learn more about Janet Carroll & Stacey Elwood, our heart and founders of Vital Living, and their journey that got us here...

Janet Carroll, RN, NMT

Vital Living WellSpa Co-owner

NPI: 1124494505  |  MT20901877

Previous Therapeutic Specialties: Myofascial Release, CranioSacral Therapy, Personal Growth through Bodywork

Janet brings over 45 years of nursing experience to Vital Living – 16 years in traditional nursing and the past 30 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.

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.

Stacey Elwood, NP-C, CMT

Vital Living WellSpa Co-owner

NPI: 1346682234

Previous Therapeutic Specialties: Therapeutic Massage, Prenatal Massage, Hot Stone Massage, Raindrop Therapy and Thai Yoga Massage

Stacey is now a full-time Nurse Practitioner, but she has been a Nurse 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.

Ruby – newest family member

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.”

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