About Us

Since 1973, McKinnon BTC has offered quality massage training to the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Our certificate programs and courses offer great depth and diversity to those becoming massage therapy professionals – and provide excellent continuing education for Massage Therapists and other health professionals seeking to expand their skills. We also invite those exploring the benefits of massage for personal interest to learn about massage and bodywork through our community workshops. Programs and courses can be chosen to reflect each student’s interests.

This is a great place to take continued education classes. I drove up here from LA this past weekend to get my Reiki lll certification/attunements. Char was the instructor and was amazing. What a wonderful experience. I wish I had discovered this place when I lived in SF. They offer so many different modalities of bodywork and classes.
Anastasia N., Venice, CA
If you are like me and like to be taught straight to the point but broken down in sections with some hands on, Lisa is the woman to go to. [Lisa] has seriously taught me a skill that has permitted me to have clients leaving with smiles and asking when can they come back for more… Great school, great teachers, great investment that lasts a life time.
Monica M., Emeryville, CA
I took the Back, Neck, Shoulders training class here, and it was great! The teacher, Carl, was very knowledgeable, soft-spoken, and patient. By the end of the class, I learned enough to probably be able to do a massage for an hour. This was a great first course for me since I mainly just wanted to do it for interest and not as a career prospect.
Bianca C., San Francisco, CA
[McKinnon] has a family feel, small classes, experienced and warm teachers, affordable prices, and offers an extensive variety of modalities to study. I truly have not found another massage school like McKinnon. I am finishing my 250 CMP program and am excited to continue on to complete the 500 hours to be a CMT. I highly recommend McKinnon to anyone interested in exploring massage therapy!
Gina R., Los Angeles, CA
The instructors are awesome and are all practicing bodyworkers themselves. Classes are team-taught so you’re always getting a fresh perspective. Staff are friendly and accommodating. The school is carpeted and has a really cozy feel… and you may be lucky enough to take a class in the lovely “attic” with its view of the garden. Yay to McKinnon for being a green business that composts!
Jessy Z., Bay Area, CA

We Are Here To Serve You

At McKinnon, we are committed to personalized education. The strength of our approach is the blending of technical expertise and compassion to acknowledge the whole person: body, mind and spirit.

We take pride in creating a learning atmosphere grounded in technical competence that also fosters intuition, creativity, and individuality. Over 25 highly skilled and experienced practitioners make up our teaching team.

With over 2000 hours of massage courses to choose from, you can customize your path to becoming a Massage Therapist. Our programs are the most affordable around, and we offer several financing and payment options.

Our Mission
Our mission remains to create a positive learning environment for massage therapy so that safe, competent, and caring touch can enrich people’s lives at each stage of life’s journey. Through state of the art training programs, we offer relevant, inspiring education, setting the stage for successful and rewarding practice. McKinnon BTC is a resource for students, the community, and the massage field, offering assistance and information to massage practitioners, employers, and the public.

Our programs allow you to design your training and find your niche in the field. Basic coursework is followed by your choice of introductory tracks, and all programs include one-on-one meetings with a senior faculty member/school counselor to support your growth. At the 500-hour program level, you receive individual feedback on your hands-on work from senior faculty of your choice. At the 1000-hour training level, we provide individualized mentorship and career support in the specialty of your choosing.

McKinnon’s programs provide structure without sacrificing choice, and they are designed to fully prepare you for this vibrant, growing field. Once you have completed basic training (generally 500 hours), you may begin working and building your career, completing additional programs as your interests, schedule, and budget permit.

Holistic Learning
In each hands-on class, you will observe the teacher demonstrate techniques; practice these techniques on classmate; and experience these techniques as you receive from a classmate. This process of seeing, doing, and experiencing allows you to learn each technique “inside and out.” As you work, instructors will give feedback on both your technique and your body usage: the latter is essential to help you avoid injury and insure a long career. Courses are designed along sound, holistic, adult-education principles to help you get the most from your training.

Have questions about our programs and courses? Browse our Programs »

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Looking for Policies & Procedures? Read our Student Handbook »

Our Teachers

All of our Programs are team-taught by skilled and experienced teachers. In addition to being excellent practitioners and successful entrepreneurs, they have spirit, love of service, and genuine passion for therapeutic massage and bodywork.

Amanda Flasck,

Amanda entered the healing arts in 2009 when she took her first massage class at McKinnon. When she made the connection between massage, somatic awareness, and healing, she knew she had found a place to nest. Amanda currently contracts with corporations interested in investing in their employees’ well-being via massage, and enjoys communicating the importance of self-care in contexts that would seem to counter it. Amanda is also a Marriage and Family Therapy Intern and works with women experiencing perinatal bereavement and reproductive trauma. In partnering with the healing potential within each client, Amanda sees the power of touch as a support to integration, healing, and aliveness.

Bhaskar Banerji,

Though I primarily teach and practice Thai Yoga Bodywork, I love all forms of floor massage and have extensively studied other floor-based modalities such as Shiatsu and Breema which I integrate into my practice. I count the floor and gravity amongst my best friends. Thai Yoga Bodywork is not just a form of massage but a therapeutic art form; often referred to as the Dance of Thai Massage, due to its rhythmic & graceful movements. Part healing modality, part moving body poetry. The goal is to create relaxation while promoting Body-Mind-Soul integration so that an individual can function at a higher level. Most of my training took place in northern Thailand with numerous teachers from the Sunshine Network over a six year period. Studying with multiple teachers has given me an appreciation for the diversity of this therapeutic healing modality and I try to bring that stylistic variety to my work. Currently, I practice privately in both Berkeley and Marin.

In addition to my bodywork education, I have a Masters in Holistic Health Education and am currently pursuing my PhD in Mind-Body Medicine at Saybrook University where my intent is to revive the ancient Aesclepian dream healing practices of the Greco-Roman period that once helped thousands to get in touch with their Inner Healing Resources.

Brian O’Dea, B.A., L.A.C., AOBTACI, Dipl. ABT, Dipl. Ac, NCCAOM

Brian has 40 years of Martial Arts, meditation, and health care practice. He graduated from the Acupressure Institute and the Academy of Chinese Culture and Health Sciences. He continues his Jin Shin Jyutsu studies with Mary Burmeister and Patricia Meador and Qi Gong with Simu Ou Yang Min. Brian also studied Yang style Tai Chi Chuan with Prof. Cheng Man Ching and Aikido with Lou Kleinsmith. His private practice in Oakland integrates Tui Na Massage, Jin Shin Jyutsu, herbs, and acupuncture.

Char Pias,

Char facilitates individuals and groups in learning new skills, discovering their sacred nature and cultivating pathways to aliveness.
On the faculty at Esalen Institute since 1980, certified to teach Esalen Massage and Reiki, Char is also a Movement and Expressive Arts facilitator and a Raja Yoga teacher. She teaches various workshops, certification courses, and retreats nationally and internationally.


Crystal Sinkowski,

My body work experience began in 2007 when I started an apprenticeship to become a piercer. After a few years experience, the desire to deepen my understanding of mechanisms responsible for how our bodies operate, and to understand the relationships we develop with them as we move through the world drew me toward massage. I graduated from The American Institute of Alternative Medicine in 2010 where my education consisted of training in Swedish, Deep Tissue, Myofascial Release, and Neuromuscular Therapy techniques. I find the diversity of human form, and the variance in need a meaningful challenge that lends itself to creativity and problem solving during each session.

Devon Carter, BA, CMT, Dipl, ABT, CDCP

Devon has 35+ years experience in the field of Mind/Body/Spirit integration both as a teacher and in private practice. Her work encourages people to connect with their intrinsic movement toward wholeness through Craniosacral Therapy, Acupressure, Orthopedic Massage, Somatic Leadership Coaching, the Enneagram and Mindfulness practices. Devon received her BA in Dance from Columbia College, Chicago (1979). She then moved to the SF Bay Area and began her studies in bodywork. She is a graduate of the Massage Institute, the Acupressure Institute, the Hendrickson Method Institute, the Milne Institute, the Upledger Institute, the Academy for Guided Imagery, the Deep Coaching Institute, the Leadership Embodiment Institute, and the Core Strengths Coaching program (San Francisco State). Her work is influenced by Continuum Movement, Tai Chi, Aikido, Cross Cultural Shamanism and Dream Work. Devon’s vision is to encourage positive world change through inspiring herself and others to embody their souls purpose and manifest it in the world.

Erica Straus,

Erica spent much of her life in the UK where she studied Zoology at the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine followed by 4 years postgraduate research in Science and Law. In 2007 she quit her role as project manager for major fundraising campaigns due to illness, and turned to studying and practicing massage and aromatherapy as a tool for self healing. Upon moving to the Bay area in 2010, Erica discovered the McKinnon Body Therapy Center. The dedication of McKinnon staff to the power of bodywork as a healing tool transformed her approach to massage. Her practice expanded from Aromatherapy Massage to include Deep Tissue, Sports Massage, Lymphatic Drainage, Prenatal, and working with chronic diseases and disabilities. Erica takes an analytical approach to both massage and aromatherapy and her love for knowledge allows her to approach every body as a unique experience of discovery.

Florann Vazquez, CPT, CMT

Flo is also certified through the National Academy of Sports Medicine, which gives her a deeper, hands-on understanding of how the body works. Not surprisingly, Flo teaches sports massage and anatomy & physiology. She is enthusiastic about helping students improve their quality of touch as well as fostering their analytical minds and informing their good intentions. When she’s not working with clients or teaching massage, Flo regularly practices yoga, capoeira and is a super fun Zumba instructor.

Haley Winter,

Haley is an entrepreneur and massage therapist with a thriving private practice in Oakland. He was a graduate of McKinnon in 2007, and within two years of completing his training he had established a successful private practice in a saturated market, and during an economic recession. He regularly sees twenty clients a week using his specialty in deep tissue, sports, and rehabilitative massage to treat people with acute and chronic pain. Grounded, warm, and genuine, Haley is known for his articulate knowledge of physiology and structural mechanics as well as a deeply sensitive and intuitive touch.

He was born and raised in the Bay Area. His path of becoming a Massage Therapist started with the end of his previous career as a professional baseball player with the Seattle Mariners. The injury that eventually led to his retirement, also led to his exposure to the healing qualities of bodywork. Haley’s passion is in revealing to new massage therapists the rewarding possibilities it offers as a career.

India Harville, CMT

India Harville has been interested in the healing professions since she was a little girl, as both of her parents are in the medical profession and taught her various adjunctive healing methods. India began massaging friends and family in her youth and decided to attend massage school in 1998 at Rising Spirit Institute in Atlanta Georgia. Her program was 650 hours focused on Swedish and DeepTissue/Neuromuscular Therapy.

Over the last 17 years, India has added many modalities to her tool belt, totaling over 1,500 hours of continued education, including Reflexology, Pregnancy Massage, Infant Massage, Shiatsu, Thai Massage, Rosen Method Bodywork, and Reiki.

India has a BA in bio-psychology and a MA in integrative medicine, and spent years conducting research on the efficacy of massage. After several years of practicing bodywork, India began teaching massage and found it to be a wonderful opportunity to spread the power of bodywork further.

In addition to being a bodyworker, India teaches healing dance/movement classes that emphasize a somatic approach. India offers clients guidance on how to move their bodies between sessions to support the bodywork they are receiving.

India has a small private practice, and also works at a local healing spa. When India is not providing bodywork/bodywork instruction or teaching dance, she enjoys time in nature, reading, and meditation.

Jason Garcia, MT

Jason Garcia has been a massage therapy instructor and practitioner throughout the Bay Area for the past eleven years and is owner of Hands-On Massage & Wellness Center in Millbrae. www.handsonwell.com. He has trained numerous instructors and hundreds of practitioners in Deep Tissue, Sports Massage, Trigger Point Therapy, Myofascial Release and Neuromuscular Techniques. His skills in working with carpal tunnel syndrome, athletic injuries, sciatica, muscular pain and recovery, neck impingements, tendonitis, tennis elbow, headaches and many other pathologies are highly respected in the field. He’s also a certified Awareness Through Movement (ATM) teacher in the Feldenkrais Method and nearing completion of the 4-year program as a Feldenkrais practitioner.

Jason is passionate about bringing his unique insight of massage and other manual therapy techniques into a variety of environments. He has worked with the Touch Health Association by teaching teenage mothers how to massage their babies and build close bonds through positive touch. He coordinates the Cancer Awareness Resources and Education (CARE) program and brings over fifty volunteer practitioners to the SF General Hospital to massage and educate cancer patients and survivors about massage’s role in their health. He also has designed the curriculum of a number of deep tissue courses at various massage schools and actively participates with the schools in maintaining a high standard in their curriculum.


Jenna Frisch,

I came to bodywork after studying and practicing yoga and native plant spirit medicine. Originally, my journey into traditional medicines began as a search for alternatives to conventional practices that would help me heal. I was drawn to teachings and modalities that recognized spirit as integral to the healing process. The springboard to my practice was a 200-hour yoga training that explored myofascial release techniques. I remember the deep sense of peace and love I felt surrendering myself to therapeutic touch and a profound gratitude in reciprocating; to share that kind of space with another felt essential to my being.

I’ve studied Shiatsu, Tui Na and Acupressure at McKinnon Body Therapy Center. Under the tutelage of many experienced teachers, I have created a practice that seeks to honor the bodymindspirit connection. I currently teach at McKinnon BTC, and I am a practitioner at Berkeley Community Acupuncture Clinic. When not doing bodywork or teaching, I can be found reading several books, practicing QiGong, facilitating writing workshops, or searching for the sunniest spot I can find.

Jessica Fagan,

Jessica has been deeply immersed in the practice and teaching of bodywork and Yoga for over 20 years having studied, practiced, and taught in the US, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Asia, and Indonesia. Utilizing the therapeutic principles of Eastern and Western forms and love of making healing contact through the hands, Jessica brings her background of Structural Integration, Sports Massage, Thai Massage, Yoga, and dance to create a unique approach to working with the body. Much of her philosophy has been influenced by Esalen Institute’s innovative forms of somatic education where she currently teaches and has been a member of the massage crew since 1997. When she is not teaching workshops overseas Jessica resides in Oakland, Ca where she has a private massage practice and cultivates pure joy from hip shaking with a local Middle Eastern dance company, Bal Anat.

John Norikane,

John has been training in bodywork for more than 10 years. Much of his study was at Body Therapy Center. He has extensive training in Sports Massage and Clinical Deep Tissue. He served as an assistant for many years in various courses before becoming part of the teaching team. He teaches in our level one Sports and Deep Tissue courses as well as advanced Clinical Deep Tissue, Sports Training and Recovery and Sports Events and Rehabilitation.

Kathleen Davis, B.A., C.M.T. Dipl.ABT

Kathleen Davis has been teaching acupressure and qi gong since 1997. She has studied Jin Shin Jyutsu as taught by Mary Burmeister, Tai Ji and Qigong with qigong master Zi Sheng Wang and Simu Min Ou Yang, and tai chi, tui na and acupressure with Brian O’Dea. She maintains a private practice in which she integrates Chinese Tui Na massage, Jin Shin Jyustu, reflexology, and acupressure.

Kathy Kapps, B.S., C.M.P., Dipl. ABT

Kathy began her professional practice of Zen Shiatsu in San Francisco at the San Francisco Chiropractic Clinic in 1984 after studying at the Acupressure Institute in Berkeley, CA and then receiving private tutoring from Zen Shiatsu master Ping Lee.
Ten years later in 1994, she opened a second office in Marin County and that same year relocated her San Francisco office to the marina district to the Ultimate Sports Medicine Clinic working with Dr. Leonard Stein and Allen Wood, DC. Currently she maintains both offices.
She has given seminars, created an instructional manual of the Zen Shiatsu Routine and has lectured for many events including the
Commonwealth Club and the Professional Business Women’s Conference highlighting the benefits of Zen Shiatsu massage and assisting the public to broaden itʼs vista of alternative healing choices. Kathy started teaching the basic and advanced Zen Shiatsu courses at the Acupressure Institute in 1996 and occasionally is a guest teacher at other schools in the bay area. Currently, she continues to privately mentor Zen Shiatsu students from around the world. Her experience in the medical and chiropractic field lend to her knowledge as a teacher and a practitioner. Her passion and devotion for Shiatsu has afforded her the joy of continued success wtih her practice and classes.

Kimberly Thompson, B. S., C.M.T

Kimberly graduated with a B.S. degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Human Movement from SFSU in 2002. She furthered her training with a clinical based 500-hour program in Integrative Medicine and Spirituality while providing massage to patients in a hospital setting. Following the certification, she worked as a supervisor-in-training for the massage program at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. Combining the practice of acupressure, massage and yoga, she continues to be fascinated with the human body. Kimberly combines her traditional education with her hospital experience to teach Anatomy and Physiology for the basic acupressure program.

Larry Munn,

In 2001, after more than 2 decades running a small East Bay construction company, Larry returned to school to pursue a life-long interest in bodywork. Trained at the Institute of Conscious Bodywork in Marin County he has been in private practice since 2001 and joined the Institute’s faculty in 2003. Larry feels fortunate to have been able to develop a career working creatively with his hands, helping clients solve physical problems, and teaching others the tools for a successful practice. Larry works in Berkeley where he lives with his wife Jackie.

Linda Aldridge, MA, MT

At McKinnon since 2000, Linda has served in a number of roles. In professional practice since 1981, she drew on her extensive background to help shape the Swedish curriculum and initiate the Touch for Elders course at McKinnon. These days, Linda teaches anatomy, physiology, and pathology in Touch, Health, and Common Conditions, as well as many of the business courses at the school. In addition, she serves as counselor for McKinnon’s program students. Sustainable practice and opportunities for personal growth through bodywork education continue to form the core of her interests. She has taught extensively at other vocational schools and colleges, and her education includes coursework in Swedish Massage, Kripalu Meditative Massage, Polarity Energy Balancing, Orthobionomy, and Manual Lymphatic Drainage. In addition, Linda holds a BA in English (Carnegie-Mellon University) and an MA in Holistic Health Education (John F. Kennedy University).


Nina Stavinga,

Coming from a family of medical professionals with a BA in Studio Art/Art History, Nina was drawn to bodywork as a place to further explore the poetry and mystery of the body. She began at the San Francisco School of Massage, studied at the Sunshine Massage School in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and then was drawn to with McKinnon’s Touch For Diverse Populations, Asian Systems, and Cranio-sacral programs. Although most of her practice is based in Swedish, Deep Tissue, and Shiatsu, her approach and deep listening style is informed by these more subtle modalities, and she loves having the opportunity and challenge to learn from different kinds of bodies. She has volunteered massage for sex workers at the St. James Infirmary in SF, and for developmentally disabled adults at Claussen House in Oakland, and has also been a regular volunteer with the Touch Health and CARE programs. She teaches Swedish and Deep Tissue and balances her massage practice with her love for costume, performance, art, writing and cooking.

Rocco Foronda,

Rocco (formerly Rose) is a first generation Filipino-American QTPOC, non-binary person who was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. They have been practicing massage therapy professionally since 2005. Rocco loves to work with the human body. Using listening skills and intuition, they combine Eastern and Western approaches to assess and apply techniques that encourage balance and harmony. They work with people, not on them, to facilitate and assist in the journey to attain individual goals. They love bringing people back into their bodies by increasing awareness. Rocco enjoys working long-term with a wide range of human bodies in many stages of ability and health, and in all shapes,
sizes, and gender presentation. Rocco has worked with athletes such as marathoners, aerial artists, and soccer players as a part of their training regimen and through injury. Similarly, they have much experience with computer users and musicians who also seek relief from repetitive strains. Rocco is passionate about providing excellent bodywork for prenatal clients. They love assisting pregnant people through the dramatic body changes that happen over the course of gestation and the aches and pains that naturally come with them. Low back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and edema are only a few of the common complaints they see. As a massage instructor at McKinnon BTC in Oakland since 2007, Rocco enjoys teaching in the Advanced Shiatsu and Swedish Massage programs. They also previously taught Pregnancy, Sports, and Deep Tissue massage. Rocco weaves in several other modalities into their practice such as Trigger Point Therapy and Acupressure, making their work a unique and dynamic experience.

Stacey Brown, CMT (CAMTC #29618)

Stacey has been practicing massage since 1987, when she graduated from a program in Virginia. In 1989, she continued her training in Sports and Deep Tissue at the Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy. Moving to the Bay Area in 1992, she has enjoyed working for local chiropractors, fitness centers, spas and establishing a private clientele. But something was missing…teaching! After 25+ years of bodywork, Stacey now shares her passion and experience with others. She teaches in the Swedish Foundations and Advanced Swedish classes with a commitment to bringing compassion and humor to the classroom.

Valerie St. Louis,

In support of your health, Valerie uses techniques drawn from massage and acupressure modalities she has studied, taught, and received over the past 15 years. Thai, Hot Stone, Shiatsu, Esalen, CranioSacral, ChiNeiTsang, Tui Na, Deep Tissue & more CA Cert#57684.

Valerie’s interest in holistic healing and eastern philosophy began at an early age. Massage as a tool for health was introduced to her as a young athlete and weekly massage became a welcomed routine once she graduated college and entered the workforce. She found that a massage every other week helped her to manage the physical stress of sitting at her desk. She also began to realize that massage made her happier. She felt more relaxed and clear headed for several days after a massage session.

A two month sabbatical in Thailand reinvigorated her spirit and exposed her to the Thai culture which utilizes massage as medicine. In the years since, Valerie has taken over 1,000 hours of massage and acupressure therapy courses, and she has spent eight years teaching others Shiatsu, Traditional Thai Massage, Acupressure, and Hot Stone Therapy.

Valerie has been practicing massage and acupressure therapy in the Bay Area for the past 15 years. She continues to be inspired by massage and its ability to facilitate healing!

Willa Mamet, LMT

After a few decades of photography with its attendant gear, film, darkroom and chemicals, Willa was delighted to go down the rabbit hole of bodywork. No gear! No chemicals! Just people – whole people. In 2009 a bodyworker saved her life – and piqued her curiosity – and that, as they say, was that. Since then she has studied Ayurveda with DeAnna Batdorff, craniosacral work with Hugh Milne, acupressure and Five Element theory with Kyle Miura and Kathleen Davis (among others) and Arvigo Maya Abdominal Massage with Kayla Becker. Not to mention all of her teachers here at McKinnon! When not teaching at McKinnon (or with Hugh or DeAnna) she also has a private bodywork practice in North Oakland. And when she’s not busy squishing people, she moonlights as a country singer.

Zara Zimbardo, MA, CMT

Zara is a lifelong Bay Arean, originally from San Francisco now an Oakland resident, who has been a professional bodyworker since 1996 at community health centers and in private practice. Her practice is shaped by Western and Eastern healing arts of somatic awareness, Five Element theory, Chi Nei Tsang, Deep Bodywork and different forms of movement meditation. She thinks of massage therapy as a listening art. Zara is continually grateful to travel these paths as practices of expansive slowness in a sped-up world, of time nourishment, curious embodiment, exploration of inner ecosystems and landscapes. She is also a teacher in undergraduate interdisciplinary education at the California Institute of Integral Studies and Sofia University, with a focus on cultural studies and social justice-based curriculum.