Massage Therapy Instructors
San Francisco Massage School
- David MartinezInstructorDavid is a graduate of NHI’s Core Program, where he discovered a newfound love and passion in the healing arts of Massage Therapy. Following graduation and after working in the field for some time, he returned to NHI as a TA and Tutor, where he assisted Students/Staff, both in and out of the classroom. David’s professional experience in the field includes work at a Chiropractic Wellness Clinic, assisting the Chiropractor in a variety of rehabilitative/sports medicine techniques, and at Massage Envy Spa in San Francisco, where he was given the opportunity to further enrich his skill set as a staff trainer in a variety of techniques, including hot stone and assisted stretching. Today, David has realized yet another calling to return to his NHI Family, a calling to contribute as an Instructor and Mentor. Each day, he brings his smile and charisma to the Campus. With a background in Political Science, he regularly seeks opportunities to positively impact the NHI community, its Students and Staff, and in his free you will find him immersed in his second passion in life – Dance and Choreography. “A smile is a kind and sincere way to show appreciation.”Gonzalo Figueroa LanderosSenior Campus Manager/InstructorAfter graduating from NHI in 2003, Gonzalo worked in high-end resort, hotel and day spas in the Napa Valley and San Francisco. He also worked in a holistic center where his focus was prenatal massage. Gonzalo now serves as the Senior Campus Manager for the San Francisco Campus . “We all possess the talent of massage; those of us that choose to refine it are fortunate and blessed. I love the diversity of the students at NHI. I’m constantly meeting amazingly wonderful people that inspire me to be the best massage therapist and the best teacher possible.”Grace De JongInstructorHailing from Minneapolis, Grace De Jong lived and worked in Chicago and Seoul before relocating to San Francisco in 2010 to enroll in the Core Program at NHI. Since graduating in 2011, she has enjoyed building successful practices at two busy health and wellness centers. Grace received her BA in Art History from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, trained at Watpo Thai Traditional Massage School in Salaya, Thailand, and is a Board Certified Massage Therapist. In her spare time she enjoys exploring all the Bay Area has to offer, spending time with friends and family, reading, dancing, and running. Being a teacher at NHI allows Grace to combine her passion for teaching with her love for the fulfilling and rewarding work of massage. “Students come to NHI from a variety of backgrounds but with one expressed purpose: to become skilled and professional massage therapists. It’s a privilege to help them see that goal to fruition.”Karen VardanegaInstructorKaren Vardanega graduated from Twin Lakes College of the Healing Arts in 1989 and with Honors from Boulder College of Massage Therapy in 1991. She has also completed a Herbal and Energy Medicine program, greatly enhancing her knowledge and skills. She has been working and teaching in Colorado, where she also was a Spa trainer for the Vitality Center. Karen is a passionate teacher who continues to learn and grow in the wellness field. She loves to ski, batik, and explore. NHI culture allows her to set up sacred space, which creates a safe and comfortable learning environment for her students.Lisa Mendiola-FloresCampus Manager/InstructorLisa has been in the field since 1996, and has experience in many facets of the massage therapy field: spa, physical therapy, chiropractic, private practice and more. A National Holistic Institute faculty member since 2000, she directs her passion and enthusiasm for massage toward revealing each student’s unique strengths. “When I enrolled as a student at NHI, massage was solely a detour. Upon graduation, I realized it was my destination. Today…I’m still having the time of my life!”Margy SommerInstructorMargy graduated NHI in 1992 with the goal of returning as an instructor. She has held a private practice in Alameda for over 25 years, has managed massage programs and worked in Chiropractic, Physical Therapy, and performed on-site in the tech industry. Margy shares her work, pro bono in various hospice settings and with cancer patients. In her teaching, Margy's passion for anatomy, physiology and pathology is contagious. Margy has 2 sons, is an avid yogi and professional pastry chef. "Massage therapy is a miraculous blending of science with the art of massage. NHI is an evolutionary institution with truly wonderful intention combined with professionalism."Tracey ThompsonInstructorTracey Thompson graduated from NHI Emeryville in June 1999 and has worked in both private practice and at spas in the Napa Valley. She was at the Spa at Silverado in Napa for almost 12 years before making the move to teaching. Tracey is also a certified CPR/First Aid instructor with the American Red Cross, and has a degree in Health Science which allows her to incorporate her knowledge of health education, safety, and first aid into her love of massage. She enjoys bringing all of this into the classroom to share with her students. Tracey still maintains a small private practice that allows her to focus on Swedish, Deep Tissue, and maternity massages, in addition to LaStone, Lomilomi, and sports massage. In her free time Tracey enjoys reading, traveling, cooking Italian food, and making gelato for friends and family.