Amanda Takawira, RMT
Amanda has always felt drawn to helping others through massage therapy. Her journey to becoming a Registered Massage Therapist began in 2004 with chair massage and Swedish Massage courses under the instruction of Eric Brown in Toronto, ON. With these skills, she provided massage services to organizations such as Bank of Montreal the Native Women's Shelter of Montreal - an organization committed to assisting women and girls to rebuild their lives from various hardship into empowerment and independence. As diverse as these experiences were, Amanda found fulfillment from knowing she has made a difference in someone's health and wellbeing, thereby impacting her community one body at a time.
Realizing the importance of the work she was doing, Amanda decided to relocate to Vancouver, BC with the intention of taking the Massage Therapy Course at Vancouver College of Massage Therapy (previously Utopia Academy). Amanda completed the rigorous program at VCMT, with the help of great instructors and a community that was as committed to her dream as she was. During the program, Amanda's passion for massage and her patients was amplified as she went through the Student Clinic and various outreaches. The interactions with her patients kept her motivated to provide treatment outcomes that proved the effectiveness of Massage Therapy. Her hard work paid off and she graduated on the Dean's Honor Roll and was awarded the VCMT Heart Award for academic excellence and dedication to patient outcomes.
Amanda is committed to continued learning for patient education. Her approach is that of a partnership between Patient and Therapist, the two need each other to succeed. Amanda's warm and welcoming personality makes first appointments comfortable and this fosters a strong patient-therapist relationship. Her studies have provided her the opportunity to draw from a variety of techniques, some of which are CranioSacral Therapy, Joint Mobilizations, Trigger Point Release and Myofascial Release. Amanda welcomes everyone into her treatment room so feel free to book your appointment knowing you are in capable and caring hands.
Andrew Zhao, RMT
Andrew graduated from the program of Registered Massage Therapy at Langara College. He has had an interest in massage therapy after receiving treatments to help heal from a motor vehicle accident. Relating to stress management and providing patient comfort, Andrew hopes to give back the same therapeutic experience he received.
Andrew understands each patient presents in a unique way. His approach to therapy is to identify and treat the cause of dysfunction. Some of his techniques include myofascial and trigger point release, joint mobilizations, active therapy, deep tissue release, and Swedish massage. He has experience in treating headaches, motor vehicle accident injuries, low back pain, piriformis syndrome, and pregnancy massage.
In Andrew’s spare time, he can be found working out in the gym, or spending time with family and friends.
Andrew works at Balance on Saturday and Monday.
Bethany Niedjalski, RMT
Bethany Niedjalski is an registered massage therapy (RMT) graduate from West Coast College of Massage Therapy. During her time at school, she participated in many outreaches, which included Canucks Place Children’s Hospice, BC Woman’s Hospital, UBC track and field and the MS clinic at the college to name a few. She has experience treating a wide range of conditions but takes a particular interesting in low back pain and tension headaches. As part of her multi-focal practice, Bethany believes in educating her patients to encourage them to become active participants in their therapy. She also believes in working together with her patients other health care providers to meet their goals.
Gwyn Davies, RMT
Gwyn Davies is an RMT and graduate of the West Coast College of Massage Therapy 2007. Gwyn incorporates a variety of techniques into her massage treatments including: Swedish massage, myofascial release, trigger point therapy, muscle energy techniques, deep tissue massage, joint mobilizations, hydrotherapy, and remedial exercises.
Therapy sessions start with an assessment and consultation and a post treatment discussion regarding home self-care includes: remedial exercise based on the clients abilities and lifestyle, hydrotherapy, self-massage and diaphragmatic breathing or meditation.
Gwyn is available Wednesdays from 11:30am until 7pm
Hoa Mi Saint-Jacques, RMT
Hoa Mi began her career as a massage therapist in Atlanta, Georgia, receiving her certification in the integrated program at the Atlanta School of Massage in 2003. She moved to Vancouver in 2005 and worked in a reputable spa as a bodyworker until she enrolled at Vancouver College of Massage Therapy. She graduated in 2009. Hoa Mi believes that treatments should have a holistic approach and that good communication with clients is essential.
She incorporates relaxation massage with myofascial release, deep tissue techniques, stretching and tries to educate her clients as much as she can so that they can continue their healing journey outside of the clinic.
Hoa Mi is available on Tuesday, Wednesday and Fridays.
Petra Jurcak, RMT
With many years of experience as a Registered Massage Therapist, Petra Jurcak has enjoyed treating with a gentle heart and strong hands. Her first year was spent practicing out of a chronic-pain multidisciplinary clinic, and she later joined the wonderful team of therapists at Balance Acupuncture and Massage to gain more experience with a wider range of clients and conditions. Petra focuses on the the clients needs first, and then the condition, treating through knowledge and intuition.
Petra is trained in the safe and effective treatment of a wide variety of acute and chronic orthopedic and neurological issues, as well as numerous systemic concerns. Therapy sessions often follow a myofascial approach to relieve muscle tension and release internal adhesions, however if deeper pressure is also required, she is pleased to accommodate this.
When she is not at Balance performing treatments, Petra can be found teaching at Utopia Academy, training future RMTs in Hydrotherapy, and working as a clinic instructor. She thrives on sharing her knowledge with others, which includes her clientele. She is an advocate of keeping body and mind balanced to achieve overall health and well being, and always encourages a proactive approach towards optimum healing and rehabilitation. Every treatment is personalized with your safety, comfort and relaxation as the primary objectives. Home-care recommendations are regularly integrated into each session.
In her free time, Petra enjoys keeping an active body and mind. Her health-focused lifestyle includes riding her bike, practicing yoga, snowboarding, spending time in nature, and playing in her kitchen with delicious, healthy recipes. Researching the latest studies in the fields of massage therapy, health, and wellness is also very important to Petra, and she strives to stay up to date on such topics by continuing her own education.
Petra is available Tuesdays and Fridays 12pm - 7:30pm.
Samantha Eibensteiner, RMT
Samantha began her exploration of the human form by studying the brain at the University of British Columbia. She completed a Bachelor of Science in Biopsychology and then continued on to graduate school to examine how the brain processes information. Examples of her research can be found under her maiden name Zuvic at:
Upon completion of her Masters in Psychology, Samantha wanted a more comprehensive understanding of the body and worked in the health field for 6 years. It is at this time that she discovered her true passion; Massage Therapy. She graduated from Utopia Academy's Faculty of Massage Therapy program in 2010 and is an active registrant of the College of Massage Therapists of B.C.
Her approach to therapy is to identify and treat the source of pain or dysfunction. She is concerned with bringing balance to the body in order to bring an end to discomfort. By working with muscle tissue, fascia, the nervous system, ligaments, organs and bones, Samantha aims to bring stability and relief to problem areas. She still has an enthusiasm for research and in 2010 won first prize in the Massage Therapy Association's Clinical Case Report Award.
Learning continues to be a passion for Sam. Since 2012 she has taught Neurology to future RMTs at the Vancouver College of Massage Therapy. She strives to pass on a love of learning to her students and works hard to make the course as inspiring and as up to date as she can.
Her own continuing education in massage therapy has focused on Visceral Manipulation, Fascial Release Techniques and Cranial Sacral Therapy.
Samantha is available on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Susan Ward, RMT
Susan Ward is a Vancouver born RMT that has been practicing for almost 20 years!
Her focus is on chronic muscle pain and tension, and also works with the relaxation component of Massage Therapy.
She can direct bill Pacific Blue Cross, Green Shield and Great West Life insurance plans.
Book an appointment with her today to get some Balance back in your life.
Shae Skands, RMT
My approach to treatment is inclusive and educational. I use a variety of techniques such as, biodynamic myofascial mobilization, passive and active stretching, and joint mobilization, while addressing nervous system integration of each individualized approach. I am interested in pursuing further education in assessment, pregnancy, and strength & conditioning in the coming months and years.
Shae is available on Monday, Tuesday and Friday.