Advisory Board

The Honorary Board of Advisors is comprised of trusted advisors who are experts in a variety of arenas, which relate to the operations and academic program of The Berkana Institute of Massage Therapy. The Advisory Board functions in an advisory capacity.

Francis M. BurkeFrancis M. Burke – Advisory Board Chair

is the president of Jill Francis Investments, LLC and a creative technology strategist. He is a passionate innovator of corporate cloud infrastructure, and enjoys leading and inspiring teams while building progressive solutions. His experience spans nearly 4 decades in IT systems leadership, introducing modern techniques and processes which support mission fulfillment. Francis lives in the Pacific Northwest and enjoys being around the water and forest with his dogs, adult children and granddaughter.

Til Luchau is a lead instructor and the Director of As a Certified Advanced Rolfer®, Til is a faculty member and Coordinator of the Rolf Institute‘s Foundations of Rolfing Structural Integration program, where he is the originator of Skillful Touch Bodywork (the Rolf Institute’s own training and practice modality). His regular Myofascial Techniques column appears in Massage & Bodywork magazine, and his articles have been published in peer-reviewed and technical journals in Australia, Canada, and the USA. Formerly a resident practitioner at the Esalen Institute, Chair of the Rolf Institute’s Teacher Training Committee, and Adjunct Faculty member of Naropa University‘s Somatic Psychology Department, he has trained thousands of practitioners in his popular courses at schools and centers in over a dozen countries on five continents. His private practice is based in the Boulder/Denver area, and includes Rolfing, supervision, and professional coaching with clients from around the world.

Pete Whitridge LMT is a licensed massage therapist in Florida and an approved provider for both the state of Florida and NCBTMB. He is the former Director of Education at the Florida School of Massage in Gainesville, FL.  He teaches “Myofascial Components of Pain” workshops throughout the Southeast, as well as Florida law and business building classes. His training as an EMT, a CPR instructor, and 30 years of teaching experience have given him many insights into the learning process. Pete incorporates visual, kinesthetic, and auditory learning aides to provide students with a well-rounded class. Students receive individual attention and everyone is encouraged to HAVE FUN! Pete has been active in the professional associations and completed a four-year term on the Florida Board of Massage Therapy, serving two years as Chairman. He received the Charles Canfield Award from the FSMTA in 2004 for Service to the Profession. He is a frequent presenter at state and national massage therapy and chiropractic conventions. Pete currently resides in Fort Pierce, Florida with his wife (and editor) Lee and their wiener dog Oscar.

Ruth Werner BCTMB Ms. Werner is an educator, writer, and retired massage therapist with a passionate interest in massage therapy research and the role of bodywork for people who live with health challenges. Her groundbreaking textbook, A Massage Therapist’s Guide to Pathology was first published in 1998, and is now in its 7th edition, published by Books of Discovery. Ruth is a columnist for Massage and Bodywork magazine and Massage New Zealand. She serves on several national and international volunteer committees, and teaches continuing education workshops in research and pathology all over the world. Ruth was honored with the AMTA Council of Schools Teacher of the Year Award for 2005. She was proud to serve the Massage Therapy Foundation as a Trustee from 2007 to 2017, and as President of the Foundation from 2010-2014. Ruth is an Approved Provider with the National Certifying Board of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (Provider # 282893-00, expires 5/23/2023) and Board Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (# 008704-00, expires 4/18/2022).

Gregory W. Haggquist Ph.D. is an American Polymer Photo-Physical Chemist and inventor. He is currently Chief Technology Officer of Cocona, Inc., the company he founded under the name Traptek in 2000. Cocona is the maker of patented 37.5 technology, which Haggquist invented. 37.5 is a yarn technology that uses the human body’s IR to evaporate moisture; it is used by global brands to improve performance and comfort in apparel, footwear, and bedding. 37.5 technology has recently been found to improve athlete performance by up to 26% at lactate threshold (“The Effects of Cooling during Constant Power Non-steady State Cycling in Endurance Trained Athletes” Eric P. Homestead, Benjamin J. Ryan et al. University of Colorado Boulder). Haggquist has received a number of awards, including the AATCC TCR Service Award in 2013, Time magazine’s Most Amazing Inventor in 2005, Japan Society for Promotion of Science Fellow from 1991 to 1993 and Research Fellow of the Year, Department of Chemistry University of Nevada Reno from 1990 to 1991. In 2015 Esquire magazine named 37.5 one of the 10 Best Man Made Materials. Dr. Haggquist has over 30 years of experience in research and development and has authored 16 patents. His research experience includes composite materials and the interaction of light with polymer materials. Dr. Haggquist has been involved in the development of a wide range of products including Photoconductor drums, Inks, UV absorbing car wax, UV absorbing fabrics, high-energy lasers, high-energy capacitors, master batch modification, artificial photosynthetic systems, organic photovoltaic cells, and fabric treatments. Prior to founding Cocona, Dr. Haggquist worked at Lexmark International on the Photoconductor Research and Development team. At Cocona, Inc., Dr. Haggquist has developed two critical technologies that keep particles active throughout the manufacturing process to improve the performance of yarn, fabrics and film. He has also developed and standardized through AATCC two novel methods to measure the drying rate of textiles. Dr. Haggquist is responsible for all research, development and product certification at Cocona, Inc. This includes constantly evolving and improving the efficacy of the Company’s technology. Dr. Haggquist is also focused on growing and managing the company’s portfolio of intellectual property.Dr. Haggquist’s education started with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from the University of Connecticut at Storrs (1986). He then went on to earn both a Master’s degree (1988) and a Ph. D. (1991) in Physical Chemistry from the University of Nevada, Reno. The Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) awarded Haggquist a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Kyoto University, which he completed in 1993. From 1993 to 1994 he was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Physics at the University of Trondheim in Norway under Professors T. B. Melo and Prof. K.R. Naqvi. In 1994 he went back to the University of Nevada, Reno as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Chemistry under Professor R. D. Burkhart.

Ascentia Fox, BCTMB Ascentia Fox is a NCBTMB board certified massage therapist and bodyworker. She has been a Berkana Institute faculty member since the inception of the school in 2011. She teaches the Holistic Studies class, as well as the Craniosacral Fascial Release elective course. She has carried a life long passion for holistic, radiant health; graduating from the California Healing Arts College in 2006,  beginning her ongoing studies of Craniosacral Therapy with the Upledger Institute in 2007, holding successful private and cooperative practices with holistic wellness centers in Los Angeles, CA, Costa Rica, Minnesota, and Northern California where she currently lives. Ascentia is also a certified Vinyasa and Yin yoga instructor, Birth Doula, Flower Essence Practitioner, and Ordained Priestess. She views every body as a temple, each educational class or therapeutic session as a ritual, and is always honored to share sacred space.