The Experts

Our Advisors, Faculty and Administration


The Founder and President

Jill Kristin Berkana founded the Berkana Institute of Massage Therapy in 2011.

Founder – President – Mindful Expressionism® Originator –Instructor Trainer – Advocate and Ambassador for the Massage Therapy and Bodywork Profession - Expert Witness - Author- Massage Therapy Hall of Fame Inductee

Jill Berkana served as a Board Director for the United States National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) and was the Board Liaison for the NCBTMB Ethics and Standards Committee. She is the originator of the Berkana Institute’s Style of Bodywork and designed the comprehensive curriculum. She is the Director of all Berkana Institute’s operational, student and faculty affairs and owner and caretaker of the Historic Allen House.

Jill Berkana is an internationally recognized pioneer of modern and holistic massage therapy and bodywork.  She is a licensed and board-certified massage therapist who has enjoyed a massage therapy practice since 1990 and has provided thousands of massage therapy treatments to a dedicated clientele. She developed and specialized her integrative approach utilizing mindfulness practices, normalization of soft tissue techniques, myofascial technique, trigger point therapy, and Neuro-Muscular Therapy. 

She is a U.S. National Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork Approved Continuing Education Provider and served on the NCBTMB National Board as Director and Board Liaison to the Standards and Ethics Committee. Her extensive and evolving career path in the massage therapy profession has led to the development and oversight of massage therapy programs for high-end spas and resorts, health clubs, chiropractic offices, and educational ventures. Over the years, she has worked with a full spectrum of clients, including infants, adolescents, athletes, cancer thrivers, elderly clients, and familiar celebrities.

Early in her career, she created and launched a destination spa program for a resort in the jungles of Belize, where she provided massage, spa treatments, strength training, nutritional counseling, and guided tours. There she began her passionate exploration into the magic and wonder of plant medicine, of which she is a devoted proponent. 

In 2004 she founded the Costa Rica School of Massage Therapy (CRSMT) and was the Curriculum Architect,  Acting Director, Academic Dean, and Senior Bodywork Instructor for the “Jungle Massage School” from its inception through the fall of 2011. She provides expert consultation for resorts and spas internationally.

Her passion extends to the integration of bodywork, nutrition, movement practices, and the resolution of trauma. She develops the Berkana Education Methodology around a holistic model of healthcare, which is committed to building an ethical bridge between eastern/traditional and western/modern approaches to bodywork.  

In addition to enjoying long-term success in massage therapy, Jill has extensive experience as an international entrepreneur and business professional.  She is the originator of the creative bodywork approach known as Mindful Expressionism®. She is a passionate advocate and ambassador for the massage therapy profession, 

and is excited about the future of this healing art. 

Her "iron fist in a velvet glove" teaching style has been described as a "no-holds-barred loving and edgy approach which is inspirational and provocative, and will level you up, FAST".  She sees people's potential and advocates for living your best life beyond the comfort zone.  She prides herself on retaining her autonomy at all costs as a leader of the profession and tells the truth, even when it's messy.

She is the proud mentor for hundreds of her graduates and is dedicated to their success long after graduation from the program. She makes her home on the front range of Colorado and directs her team of vetted and trained instructors, administrators, and directors from a home office with her dog and two cats.  She is frequently on campus to support on-the-ground operations and to teach and inspire her students at the Berkana Institute of Massage Therapy. She is a certified expert witness for misconduct trials in the massage therapy and bodywork profession and is a published author. 

Jill Berkana has a moderate case of acquired savant syndrome from a car accident she was in over 25 years ago, where she sustained a traumatic brain injury. This condition ultimately informs her way of operating in the world. She is a Massage Therapy Hall of Fame inductee.

“Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art.”

— Leonardo da Vinci


Learn Our Vision + Philosophy

The Berkana Institute Board of Advisors

The Honorary Board of Advisors is comprised of trusted professional leaders who are experts in a variety of areas, which relate to the operations and academic program of The Berkana Institute of Massage Therapy

Francis Martin Burke

Ascentia Fox

Amy C. (Maiima) Nicholson

Til Luchau

Natalie Wade LMT

Anders Roald Jensen

Faculty & Staff

The amazing faculty and staff or our exceptional, holistic, massage therapy school.

The Berkana Institute Faculty and Staff

Academic Dean Yungclas

Nichole Crockett

Palynn Patterson

Ascentia Fox

Natalie Wade

Sephra Albert

Haley Bangert

Jennifer Munro

Meredith Vaughn

Christopher Algea

Sunny Klaber

Sunny Klaber

Kayla Henry

Kayla Henry


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