The 2015 World Massage Festival


Ariana Vincent in the Hall of Fame Booth at the 2015 World Massage Festival

The 2015 World Massage Festival was a profound and meaningful experience. It was held in Michigan City, Indiana about four hours by plane and bus from my home in Austin. Friendships were deepened, minds were expanded and fun was had. I was honored to be invited to give my acceptance speech for the World Massage Hall of Fame award I received in 2013. Here is a link to photos from the World Massage Festival:

World Massage Festival The World Massage Festival Hall of Fame Honorees

The continuing education classes that I attended at the World Massage Festival included:

  • Morally Bound, Ethically Sound – Instructor: Leena Guptha
  • Healing Hands – Native American Energy Work – Instructor: Jenny Ray
  • The Mystery of Pain – Instructor: Doug Nelson
  • Intro to Massage Therapy and Breast Cancer – Instructor: Eeris Kallil
  • Marketing, Advertising and Promotion – Instructor: Vivian Madison-Mahoney

Leena Guptha, Ariana Vincent and Donna Sarvello

In Leena Guptha’s class, Morally Bound, Ethically Sound, we discussed the difference between ethics and morals (morals are the principles on which one’s judgments of right and wrong are based and ethics are the principles of right conduct) and the Jungian shadow: “Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darkness of others.” -Carl Jung. Then we watched a clip from the movie Spider-Man, starring Willem Dafoe as the Green Goblin. We saw the mirror scene where the alter ego kills off the board of directors and he becomes the Green Goblin, which becomes the personification of his alter ego. We followed this with some exercises in dyads and triads where we discussed ethical issues and our suggested resolutions to those issues. This was followed by a lively discussion about Lance Armstrong’s trial regarding steroid abuse. We concluded with a discussion about the conscious vs. the subconscious and we talked about ways to access the subconscious through meditation, music, breathing, massage, and being quiet. Leena concludes the class by sharing that we can manifest our destiny by aligning these two things (the conscious and the subconscious). It was an especially wonderful experience for me since I teach an ethics class through the Ariana Institute and have served on several ethics boards. Ethics is a subject that is near and dear to my heart and I’m deeply grateful to Leena Guptha for including me in her class and also for presenting the material so intelligently in a heart-filled, caring way.

Diane Pineault, Jenny Ray and Ariana Vincent

Healing Hands – Native American Energy Work – Instructor: Jenny Ray

Participating in Jenny Ray’s Healing Hands – Native American Energy Work class was a powerful and transforming experience. The minute I walked into the room I felt as if I’d been transported to a sacred and holy place imbued with dynamic and refined energy coming down from many generations of healers. There was a colorful altar in the center of the room and it contained items that paid homage to the four elements (earth, air, fire and water) and it was aligned with the four directions. In this altar, there was a lovely shell filled with sage and other elements of the earth. There were points during the ceremony when Jenny burned the sage and the fragrance wafted through the atmosphere magnifying the flow of energy and purifying the space. One of the most powerful moments of the ceremony was when Jenny invited us to stand in a circle and sing some sacred chants from her Native American tradition. The energy that evolved from that experience connected us all in a way that served to bring the group together and honor the heritage that had been passed down from the elders. As we grew more connected through chanting, Jenny and her partner, Janelle Lakman, went to each person individually and offered an initiation that included drawing sacred symbols on our hands with the tips of her fingers. When she came to me and offered this initiation, it was so strong and powerful that I took a quick breath inward and swayed backward. I felt a dynamic shift occur. Then Janelle came to a few steps behind Jenny and drew symbols on our right arms, one person at a time, that felt like four lightning bolts with two dots in the middle. It impressed me that this group initiation was individualized for each person and it also connected the community of participants at the same time. I knew I would never be the same. After the initiation ceremony, which was quite an honor, we began working in dyads or triads. I was blessed to be paired with a lovely and highly evolved woman from Windsor, Ontario whose name is Diane Pineault. We each had an opportunity to give and an opportunity to receive a Healing Hands Energy Medicine session that included laying our hands on the person who was supine and ready to receive. Both Denise and I honored the majesty of the moment and felt tremendously grateful to be blessed by this sacred experience. A visualization that came to me during my session with Denise was of me reclining peacefully on a giant, soft, emerald green lily pad, surrounded by cobalt blue water, with a gorgeous pink sky overhead. Jenny Ray concluded the Healing Hands experience by dismantling the altar in a very mindful and sacred way as she explained what was to be done with each item on the altar. Diane, my wonderful partner, gifted me with a magnificent 7-inch feather that had been blessed and wrapped with a leather string at the bottom and it also had an earth-toned bead attached to it. This feather will be a constant reminder of the transformation that I experienced in this Healing Hands class with Jenny Ray as well as a reminder of the power of the human spirit to accept healing energy via the transmission of energy that comes when we touch one another in a mindful, loving and sacred way.  I was especially interested in participating in this course since I have written a massage manual, “Mind-Body Therapies” that focuses on energy medicine and I teach several energy-based classes through the Ariana Institute. The memories of being in Jenny’s class will always be a reminder of the interconnectedness of mind, body, spirit and of our place in the natural world that blesses us and surrounds us with a powerful loving energy that we can tune into and utilize for the highest good of all.

Ariana Vincent and Doug Nelson

The Mystery of Pain – Instructor: Doug Nelson

In Doug Nelson’s class, The Mystery of Pain – Implications for Musculoskeletal Treatment, the focus was on being cautious and reasoned. Doug presented information on neuroscience; three common mistakes (1) oversimplifying very complex processes, (2) claiming scientific authority in a field that has been suspect by traditional medicine, and (3) forgetting to value a long history on one’s own. He then presented information on the cost of treating pain. We learned that the cost of treating pain is greater that the cost of treating cancer, heart disease, and diabetes COMBINED! The estimates are between 5 and 6 billion dollars a year. He also presented interesting data that shows that one in 2,500 x-rays is actually useful. He shared a definition of pain as, “An unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with acute or potential tissue damager or described in terms of such damage.” This was followed by the four processes of pain: transduction, transmission, modulation and perception. Our next topic was central sensitization using examples of migraines and fibromyalgia (they affect the central nervous system). We moved on to the “Brain’s Best Guest” theory of perception; an example of which would be phantom pain. Then we concluded with questions that patients want answers to: What is wrong?, How long will it take?, What can I do?, and What can you do? Taking this course from Doug Nelson was especially interesting for me since I had heard so many wonderful things about Doug from my friend Phyllis Baker. It was very meaningful for me to be honored to expand my knowledge regarding pain management in Doug’s class, especially since this focus is dear to me. The Ariana Institute offers a continuing education course in pain management and we included a chapter on pain management in The Ariana Institute’s Medical Massage Manual. It is a subject that is of supreme importance to massage therapists and to the broader community. I am reminded of a quote by Khalil Gibran, “Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.” 


Eeris Kallil and Ariana Vincent

Intro to Massage Therapy and Breast Cancer – Instructor: Eeris Kallil

Eeris Kallil is such a fascinating person. We’ve heard about each other for many years and it was done nicely to connect as part of the World Massage Festival family during the 10th year celebration of the Festival. During Eeris’ class, we discussed the safety of massage therapy for cancer patients, how massage benefits cancer patients, how cancer spreads, the anatomy of the female breast, signs of breast cancer, biopsies, pathology, staging, treatment options, reconstructive surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, hormonal treatment, the lymphatic system, steps for healing, what not to say, positive affirmations, contraindications and safety guidelines, lymphedema, complications and protocol after surgery, pressure guidelines, and resources for advanced study. It was a fascinating and well-thought-out introduction into the oncology specialization related to breast cancer. The cognitive portion was followed by a helpful demonstration of breast massage. Eerris’ class was especially meaningful to me since I include a chapter on “Soothing PTSD and Trauma” in The Ariana Institute’s Mind-Body Therapy Manual. I’ve participated in oncology massage classes taught by Tracy Walton and Sat Siri Sumler that helped prepare me for Eeris’ class; however, I will have to admit that this is a deep and profound specialization in the massage community and I feel I still have a lot to learn. It was so beautiful that this class help expands my knowledge in such a meaningful way so I can better serve the oncology community once I have an opportunity to participate in additional hands-on classes.

Vivian Madison Mahoney and Ariana Vincent

Marketing, Advertising and Promotion – Instructor: Vivian Madison-Mahoney

During Vivian Madison-Mahoney’s Marketing, Advertising and Promotion class we were introduced to important concepts for business success. Her passion for the subject was evident in the breadth and depth of the materials that she has designed and developed over the course of her expansive career. She included PowerPoint presentations, course handouts, a very comprehensive and complete course notebook, DVDs, and packages of high-quality learning systems. I was very impressed. Vivian began the class with a warm welcome and an overview of the class and then she offered the participants had an opportunity to share marketing techniques that worked for them. Students shared the following techniques:, branding give-away products, using “Wheel of Fortune” give-a-ways, webinars, Yelp, websites & Search Engine Optimization, Mail Chimp, Sending group texts using Business Texter or GoSMS, using online schedulers to market, sending thank you notes for referrals that include a discount card, using the internet and seeing Google as our friend, online answering services like SecureUs, and business cards. After our group sharing, Vivian shared some of her experiences in the massage profession. In 1984 she worked for a chiropractor for $4 an hour, then she went to massage school in the evenings, then she made $10 an hour doing massage at the office of chiropractor in Lakeland, Florida. Then she presented Marketing Ideas, Social Strategies and Building Your Business. There are three-way to grow a business: increase the number of customers, increase the frequency of client visits, and increase the fee for services. One tip that Vivian shared that I felt was particularly meaningful was, “Don’t build a business, build a reputation and your business builds itself.” Another tip was to go to the website and download information on building a business. She talked about niche marketing and the importance of identifying your niche by figuring out which groups of prospective clients you get your very best results for and go after them exclusively. She offered an opportunity to win a door prize that consisted of a very comprehensive marketing program that she had developed during her many years in the massage profession. I was impressed with her generosity. She concluded by saying, “Don’t be afraid to take your goals and dreams and plans to the TOP!” I felt especially blessed to be included in Vivian’s informative marketing class. The Ariana Institute offers an online and on-site Marketing and Practice Building continuing education class and we have written a manual, The Ariana Institute’s Marketing and Practice Building Manual; however, even though I’ve been somewhat immersed in marketing for my entire 33-year career, I am always open to new material, new insights and new marketing tips. I came away from Vivian’s class renewed with energy to experience some fresh, new marketing techniques. I was honored to be learning from a premiere marketing master. I wish Vivian the very best that life has to offer in all she does. She’s an amazing person and I admire her very much.

Diane Pineault and Ariana Vincent

Ariana Vincent’s Acceptance Speech – World Massage Festival Hall of Fame

Ariana Vincent’s acceptance speech can be viewed below or on the Ariana Institute’s YouTube Channel at Additionally, the speech has also been transcribed below.

Ariana Vincent’s World Massage Festival Hall of Fame Speech

It is a pleasure to be here with you all today celebrating the 10th anniversary of the World Massage Festival. I am honored to be in the community of friends, colleagues and kindred spirits.

I would like to thank everyone involved in helping me on my path to becoming a member of the World Massage Festival Hall of Fame, including Mike Hinkle and Cindy Michaels, my family, my wonderful team at the Ariana Institute, my mentors, and my incredible clients and students.

I am very humbled to be in such illustrious company; I never thought I would be awarded such an honor. Being included in the World Massage Festival Hall of Fame is something I never even imagined possible back in 1979, as a college senior who had a part-time job at a small health food store called SaferWay, which is now Whole Foods. But it was in that transformational environment that I began learning about the importance of caring for our bodies, minds, and spirits.

That shift in focus from the allopathic approach to healing to a more inclusive perspective lead to a career that began in 1982 with the Family Wellness and Resource Center. There I began training to become a professional massage therapist, and as a result, I was fortunate to have become part of the first group of massage therapists to be licensed in Texas in 1986.

In 1999 I saw an opportunity to change course after nearly two decades of studying and practicing massage therapy. I obtained my certification as a massage therapy instructor and continuing education provider in order to teach continuing education classes for massage therapists and began forming the Ariana Institute for Wellness Education.

I am proud to be part of a health care system that has grown and evolved over the years to become the respected profession it is today. The changes that I have seen during the course of my career have been remarkable. It seems that a veil is lifting and our culture as a whole is beginning to see massage therapy in its true light. We as a society are deepening our respect and appreciation for massage therapy. I am grateful to have found my vehicle for serving the world via the broad, expansive conduit of the massage therapy profession.

But it wasn’t just my talents as a massage therapist and massage therapy educator that made success possible for me and for the Ariana Institute; I wouldn’t be standing here in front of you today without the support of many people.

I would specifically like to thank the following individuals:

Michael McIver for believing in me and for helping me make my dreams come true on every level imaginable.

Nicole Nelson for her excellent service as operations director and editorial manager of the Ariana Institute.

Chelsea Horton for her cheerful support as operations manager of the Ariana Institute in 2015.

Sean Patrick Harkins for being a constant source of strength, knowledge, and inspiration during his association with the Ariana Institute as our project manager.

Ashley Horton for her service as operations manager of the Ariana Institute from 2013 to 2014.

Wes Fletcher, Adam Shaw and Newton Paskin for their insightful marketing support.

Ryan Hoyme for his dedication to the massage community, his expansive knowledge of massage, and his generosity in sharing his wisdom.

David Lauterstein for sharing his abundant knowledge of deep massage with me and for being a beacon of integrity and excellence in the massage community.

Zaara Raza for the myriad of things you have done to help the Ariana Institute be the success it is today.

The Richardson Family – Mike, James and Mike, Jr. – for their unconditional love and steadfast belief in me and for always having my best interest at heart in every moment.

Donna Sarvello for being a guiding light through the National Certification Board processes and for her kind, courteous, and professional manner.

I would also like to thank everyone else in my life who made this moment possible for me. I acknowledge the countless everyday sacrifices those who have supported me have made on my behalf and on behalf of the Ariana Institute.

I couldn’t have done it without the contributions that each and every one of you have made to the ongoing evolution of the massage profession and, on a more personal level, to me and the career that I am honored to be a part of.

Looking back on my career as a nationally certified massage therapy instructor and licensed massage therapist, I attribute much of my success to being resilient in the face of obstacles, surrounding myself with supportive motivational peers, and keeping a positive perspective.

With that in mind, I leave you with a quote that I love to share at the end of my continuing education courses: “Remember to focus on the healing power of touch and the importance of its presence in our lives and in the lives of those we touch.”

Thank you all again and again. Being honored as a member of the World Massage Festival Hall of Fame means the world to me. Your kindness is deeply appreciated and will long be remembered.

(I was holding a feather) You may be wondering why I’m holding this feather. It was a gift from my Jenny Ray Healing Hands class partner, Diane Pineault. This is a reminder that body, mind and spirit are inseparable and that love is who we are. My love continues to live in your hearts and may everything you do be infused with love.


To register for Continuing Education Classes offered by the Ariana Institute, visit


Posted in Ariana Institute, Ariana Vincent, Awards, continuing education, Massage TherapyTagged , , , , , , ,

Copyright © 2023 Ariana Institute