Spa Tech Professional Blog

Welcome to the Spa Tech Institute professional career blog. Succeeding in the health, wellness and beauty professions is easy if you have the right training, information and attitude. The Spa Tech Institute Professional Blog is a resource for everyone who is interested in succeeding is this field. Whether you are new or experienced, have a small or large business or are thinking of getting into the field, the purpose of the blog is to share important information from experienced professionals and companies to help the entire industry improve.Even though massage, cosmetology and aesthetics have been around for thousands of years, in many ways it’s an emerging profession. The levels of stress and importance of appearance are all time highs. The digital age has increased the demands in our lives at the same time as it has increased our exposure to appearing in pictures and videos more important than ever. As an emerging industry, there is a holographic effect to improvement. The more any one person improves what they do, the more it improves the perception of the entire industry. Therefore, everyone in the profession benefits as we each take what we do to the highest level. So by working together to improve every client’s experience, the reputation of the industry will grow and spread to more people. After all, we aren’t competing with each other (well maybe a little) as much as we are collectively educating the public about the importance of what we do. Ultimately, success comes from many small things done consistently well. This is the simple idea behind sharing information from top professionals and businesses. By subscribing to this blog you will find a constant feed of ideas and best practices that you can apply to your professional career. Experience has taught us that just one good idea can incrementally but significantly improve your business. Your feedback and questions are greatly appreciated as it will help us to supply you with better information. Thank you for all you do to make the world a better place. Sincerely, Kris Stecker

Brandon LavackNorth of Boston lies Beverly, a city referred to as the “Garden City” with its lush green open spaces and miles of coastline. It is a city with a little bit of something for everyone. There you will find Beverly Athletic Club on Reservoir Road and 2013 Spa Tech Institute therapeutic massage graduate Brandon LaVack.

Brandon had been a personal trainer for several years and traveled the country and abroad attending seminars to learn the most current trends in the strength and conditioning industry. He felt there was always something new to learn and enjoyed these experiences. He took a little from each seminar and added it to his training style. Many of his clients had a need for massage to restore range of motion and help them in post rehab, but he didn’t want to send them to someone else to be worked on. Brandon wanted to give each client customized attention and meet their needs for therapeutic massage. Spa Tech in Ipswich had a great reputation and a schedule that would work for his already busy life-- so he enrolled!

Right away Brandon felt at home, explaining that the best part of Spa Tech was the “individual attention you received from the teachers if and when you needed it.” The teaching staff brought their expertise and experience from the field into the classroom which gave him a greater understanding of how he could incorporate massage to meet each of his client’s specific needs.

While attending Spa Tech, Brandon slept little and worked many hours – he felt he had much to learn. He said he has been compensated in a way he expected and his advice for new students is “always be willing to learn, never feel like you know it all.”

Brandon currently divides his time between personal training and massage. He meets his massage clients at the Solei Salon and Spa housed in the Beverly Athletic Club. Most of his clients are the result of word of mouth so Brandon does little advertising. When asked what he loves most about his career he quickly states “helping others”, his aim is to make a “positive impact on a person’s life”. Brandon also feels that diet is an important part of the training process and promotes living an overall healthy lifestyle. Brandon has a very busy schedule and currently works Monday through Saturday. Sunday he works on his online training business where he sets up training schedules for individuals and colleges. You can check out Brandon’s business at His girlfriend, Lauren, sees little of him and adds “she's supportive of my business and passion. She's my rock which allows for my success.”

Brandon is currently accepting new clients and can be reached at 315-261-1500. Look for him to open his own training facility in the future.

Lisa PageNewburyport, a small coastal city full of quaint shops and eateries, is where you will find Lisa Page – a 2013 Spa Tech Institute Aesthetics program graduate. Lisa splits her time between Hair Spray Salon and Spa on Liberty Street, owned by Stacey Robinson and Riversong Plastic Surgery at 21 Highland Avenue in Newburyport. At Hair Spray, she offers both traditional and more advanced, state-of-the art services including waxing, spray tanning, facials, dermaplaning, PCA treatments and Skin Classic which is a high frequency procedure to remove skin imperfections. At Riversong Plastic Surgery, Lisa also performs laser hair removal and photo facials using IPL and Ultherapy, the only FDA approved non-invasive procedure that lifts skin and smooths wrinkles.

Lisa started out in real estate many years ago then switched to phlebotomy. She felt the need to change careers and wanted to help make people feel good about themselves. She says about her new career “you can relax while you do the work”.

When asked what advice she would give to a prospective student she says, “It is a great industry. Up and coming. There are lots of opportunities but you have to work hard, put the time in and be prepared to always learn. It is an evolving industry”. Lisa has grown in her career by attending continuing education classes and she continually markets herself by using social media, North Shore Magazine, local newspapers and word of mouth.

Lisa loved her time at Spa Tech and says the teachers were knowledgeable, it was fun and she loved the small classes. She also got a lot of facials because the program is very hands on.

Originally from New Hampshire, Lisa lives in Rowley and has three daughters and 6 grandchildren between herself and husband Arthur. She loves working in Newburyport and says on any given day she can enjoy a walk outside on the brick lined sidewalks, take in the scents of the local bakeries and restaurants and meet people—and maybe even potential clients!

Lisa offers complimentary consults by calling 603-785-0114.

Michelle BakerHoused on the banks of the Powwow River in the quaint town of Amesbury is Guaranteed Fitness & Bodyworks. Michelle Baker, a vivacious, energetic Spa Tech graduate, is the owner where she is a personal trainer and licensed massage therapist. Michelle began her career 25 years ago offering personal fitness training and always wanted to incorporate massage therapy into her practice. She knew the benefits massage would offer to her clients who ranged from post rehab to those who were simply working on strengthening and conditioning their bodies. Michelle feels everyone should dedicate themselves to regular massage and spiritual health.

In the early years Michelle studied somatic psychology which is the understanding of illness and how it manifests in the human body. In 2013 Michelle made the commitment to obtain her massage therapy training. She ran her personal training business during the day, attended classes three nights a week all the while raising her then five year old son Lucas. It was a lot of juggling and sacrifice but according to Michelle “Spa Tech was always helpful, fun and supportive. I had a wonderful all around experience”. She graduated in March of 2014 and became licensed shortly thereafter. She has maintained the friendships she made with her classmates and added that she “learned little tidbits from the teachers’ experience in the massage industry” that she continues to put to use today in her own practice.

Michelle currently shares space with fellow Spa Tech grad Tami Elwell who practices polarity part time. Michelle is continuing her education by enrolling in Spa Tech’s Level 1 Polarity program in May.

Michelle has always worked for herself and “loves her job”. When asked what advice she would give to a prospective student she says that it is a lot of work to own your own space but is well worth it. She began marketing herself while still in school and states that over 30% of her early massage clients still come to her for regular massages. She stresses that a student should “listen, enjoy and learn” from the great teachers at Spa Tech Institute.

Michelle is now contemplating a bigger space and receives great support and advice from Spa Tech President, Kris Stecker. He is “totally supportive and knows his stuff when it comes to business”. Michelle currently divides her time between massage and personal training and is grateful for a full and rewarding schedule.

Emily Lagasse2Emily came to Spa Tech with a love for makeup and a strong desire to learn skin care. She graduated May of 2015. One of her instructors, also a graduate of Spa Tech Institute, Sue Leveille said Emily ‘was an awesome student, always willing to help out. A team player with a beautiful conscious touch.’

Emily works as an assistant to master permanent makeup artist Julia Dziuk Bowers at Pigmenta Permanent Cosmetics at 581 Boylston Street in Boston, MA. She also is a lash extension and threading specialist. She sees herself as an integral part of this organization for years to come.

When asked what aspect of her job she loves most she quickly states, ‘bringing joy and happiness to our clients lives’ is what matters most. Many of her clients are going through radiation, have alopecia or their eyebrow hair has thinned over time. She added ‘it is a true honor to be a part of helping these men and woman feel normal again. To give them a little piece of themselves back after going through such rough times it is a beyond fulfilling job.’ She added ‘she loves every moment of it.’ She feels lucky to be able to witness joy in her client’s lives on a daily basis.

Emily LagasseEmily loved her schooling she received at Spa Tech Institute and advises prospective students to ‘enjoy every second of your experience because it goes by in the blink of an eye. You will miss it once it’s over.’ She remembers the fun she had at school and the lifetime friends she made. It was great getting a facial treatment almost every day, she adds. Emily returns to Spa Tech to demonstrate airbrush makeup and bridal makeup to current students.

Since Emily has graduated and got licensed, she has taken many continuing education courses such as lash and eyebrow tinting, threading, lash perming and extensions. She welcomes new clients at Pigmenta Permanent Cosmetics in Boston!

Stephanie Hassel2Stephanie Hassel, a July 2015 massage therapy graduate, recently opened her own business, SLH Skincare and Massage. It is located within Kiki Pilates Studio, 10 Elm Street, Danvers. Her friend Kiki Hanson had been in the massage business for years and opened her own studio where she offers Yoga, Barre and Pilates.

Stephanie came to Spa Tech with a license as an Aesthetician but wanted to add Massage Therapy to her credentials. She has worked at different spas which prepared her to open her business. Her Mom, a massage therapist, has her own business and knew she would follow in her footsteps. She explains while she was nervous, terrified and psyched all at the same time about opening her own business she put faith in herself and her ability and “went for it”. Stephanie divides her time between the two modalities. She offers massage and waxing services currently at Kiki’s studio and will be adding facials shortly. She also offers massage therapy, waxing and facials at Manchester Athletic Club where she works with fellow massage graduates Christie Palmer, Justin DeRosa and Jackie Young. Her clients range from athletes to people who desire a relaxing massage or facial and she customizes each service to their specific needs.

When asked what she enjoyed most at Spa Tech she reflects, “It is one year ago this week that my life changed. It is when I started my schooling for massage therapy at Spa Tech Institute.” Not only does she feel she received a great education while at Spa Tech, but learned a skillset which was a “big asset” in building her own business. The comradery with fellow classmates added to the family like atmosphere she experienced and she has built lifelong friendships. “We were all different people but were all there with a common goal”. Her fellow grads continue to offer helpful tips when it comes to easing her client’s ailments.

Stephanie is building her business by volunteering her time at charitable events as well as posting on social media sites such as Massage Book, Facebook and LinkedIn. Stephanie is currently accepting new massage and aesthetic clients both at the Manchester Athletic Club and at SLH Skincare and Massage in Danvers.

April SuretteIn downtown picturesque, historic Ipswich, MA is Nails Etc. Day Spa on Market Street owned by Margaret Taylor. Nails Etc. offers manicures, pedicures, massage, acupuncture and aesthetic procedures. Nails Etc.’s motto is “Relax and Pamper Yourself”.

There you will find recent Spa Tech Institute aesthetic graduate April Surette who gave us some insight to her education.

According to Surette, the best decision she made was to attend Spa Tech because she got a great education, made a lot of good friends and had fun going to school. She said Spa Tech “prepared her for the real world” and had small class sizes which gave her more one on one time with the teacher. She enjoys what she is doing and said her favorite aspect of being an aesthetician is “helping people with skin problems.” She feels that her career has met her expectations as far as compensation and finding employment.

April has taken some continuing education courses such as microdermabrasion, spray tanning and lash extensions. April works with fellow graduate Nicole Sotis, learning the ropes. She is focused on building her clientele, broadening her education and being successful.

Nancy and Kris were interviewed by Dr. Sheri Russell and graduate Stephen Baglioni, LMT on Northshore 104.9 in Beverly, MA, "On Your Game". With a focus on prevention and performance, Dr. Russell of Russell Center for Chiropractic and Sports Medicine in Beverly and Stephen Baglioni of Massage Therapy Unlimited, are educating the public on a variety of subjects to enhance personal health and performance. The interview with Nancy and Kris begins at 12:20 in the podcast and focuses primarily on Polarity Therapy as well as the healing arts in general. Many thanks to Dr. Russell and Stephen Baglioni, LMT for the great work they are doing educating and healing the public.

Your clients look to you for guidance on wellness. The challenge is to pass on information for consideration while simultaneously educating your clients to listen to their body and trust its wisdom. The recent findings on supplements is a great example of the challenge. After decades of attention on increased exposure to calcium and anti-oxidants by health professionals of different traditions, it's now coming out that there may be significant risks.

It's no secret. We have learned a lot from growing Spa Tech Institute together since 1988. We recognize that there are other people who idealize the concept of working with a spouse while there are others who say "No Way!" Our advice is, it depends on who you are. It can be the most rewarding and the most challenging experience of your life.

As the skin care industry rushes forward with new scientific advancements and state of the art products, my curiosity is frequently piqued by new research, in this case, Stem Cell research. In my search for new stem cell facial technologies I made an appointment with Jonathan Douglas, who is giving stem cell facials. Jonathan is co-owner of the Jonathan Douglas Salon. Surprise! I didn’t just get a great facial. I got an awesome massage along with it in a beautiful large treatment room pleasing to all senses.


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