Joleen Kraft, Spa Owner, Herbalist, & Reiki Practitioner
“It is important to know what sort of person has a disease than to know what sort of disease a person has.” -Hippocrates
Joleen offers consultations in medical herbalism and Reiki treatments. She welcomes patients with all kinds of health challenges and has a special interest in:
- gastrointestinal disorders (IBS, SIBO, etc.)
- autoimmune conditions (thyroid, RA, etc.)
- menopause and other hormonal imbalances for both men (prostate,
andropause, etc.) and women (pregnancy, PMS, irregular periods)
- acute conditions (colds, flus, recovery from illness)
For more information about what to expect during a herbal medicine consultation, click here.
Joleen believes the beauty of herbal medicine is that the plants are so much more intelligent than we give them credit for. The plants were here long before us, and humans evolved alongside and in response to the plants. Because we’ve lost much of the information we used to know instinctively, a herbalist can bridge the gap between plants and people and provide a person with the right herbal medicine for their distinctive situation. Joleen crafts unique herbal medicines for each person’s unique situation; to achieve this, a thorough intake and history is an important part of the process. Any diagnostic testing from an MD or specialist is also considered. Once the patient’s story begins to emerge, appropriate herbal formulas will be developed and may take the form of tinctures, teas, creams, capsules, and so on.
Joleen has also begun practicing Reiki, and complements her energy work with using energetic doses of specific herbs during sessions to facilitate the flow of energy. Channeling energy into the body works to reestablish connections between the chakras or energetic areas of the body and encourage the body’s own natural healing and well-being.
Joleen’s educational history: After completing a BA, and then working and travelling abroad, Joleen completed an MA in English Literature at Concordia University in Montreal, and subsequently worked as a copy editor and tech writer. Life eventually brought her to Victoria, where she decided to attend Pacific Rim College to formally study herbalism. She has completed her training as a Medical Herbalist, and is now undertaking the study of acupuncture.
Together with her partner, Christopher Pinel, she is excited to be working with the team at VCA and feels grateful to be part of such a vibrant and gifted group of practitioners.
Erin Alexander, Registered Acupuncturist
"There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophies.” Nietzsche
Erin Alexander is registered with the CTCMA and ATCMA. She has studied Traditional Chinese Medicine at the Canadian College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and Pacific Rim College and graduated from Oshio College of Acupuncture and Herbology in 2014. She continues to further her knowledge and skills through various courses, seminars and conferences.
Erin is passionate about healing and Chinese Medicine. She believes in the idea of treating the whole person and restoring balance to the body and mind, with a focus on prevention. Her experiences growing up surrounded by nature have given her a great respect and love for nature’s sophisticated workings and yet simplicity which Chinese medicine embodies.
Erin practices traditional needling techniques, cupping therapy, tui na, gua sha, auriculotherapy and yang shen. She has helped patients seek relief from headaches, insomnia, chronic and acute pain, bi polar disorder, depression and digestive complaints. As well, Erin has a special interest in emotional/mental health, women’s health issues, pregnancy and pediatrics.
Erin believes our bodies have an amazing capacity to heal themselves. She uses her knowledge of Chinese and Western medicine, mind, heart and intuition to discover what your body and spirit need.
When not at the spa, Erin can be found braving the elements sailing or hiking, practicing the art of stillness through Tai Chi or racing after her fiery three year old.
Heather Hurry, Registered Massage Therapist
"The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly." - Buddha
Heather is proud to have grown up in the small town of Revelstoke BC. She graduated as a Registered Massage Therapist from the Okanagan Valley College of Massage Therapy in 2004. In her third year of school, she completed a 75 hour internship at the prestigious Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel after which she was offered a permanent position there. During her four years of experience at the spa, Heather appreciated the fast paced environment and working alongside a dynamic and cohesive team to uphold its world class precedence.
As a lover of the outdoors, Heather moved home to snowboard Revelstoke Mountain Resort in 2008 and started her own business, "Ahh Massage Therapist". Balancing the demands of her own private practice with an active lifestyle of hiking, biking and making time to enjoy family and the community, she was able to reap the rewards of a holistic approach to business. This commitment to self-care and retreating in nature brought a whole new perspective to the healing relationship between client and practitioner which she is still dedicated to today in her practice.
In 2010 Heather moved to Victoria and has been in love with the West Coast ever since. She and her husband enjoy walking their Sharpei Olive, supporting the Arts and Culture of Victoria and the practice of yoga.
With 14 years of experience in her field, Heather appreciates all aspects that massage has to offer whether it be deep tissue, maternity, hot-stone or relaxation. She has taken Manual Lymphatic Drainage, Zero Balancing, Reiki, and Gary Schweitzer Deep Tissue Techniques to enhance her client’s experience. She values massage primarily for the chance to continuously learn for the betterment of her clients and she looks forward to sharing her diverse range of experience with her clients at Victoria Community Acupuncture + Spa.
Elizabeth Grady, Registered Massage Therapist
"Take care of your body, it's the only place you have to live." - Jim Rhon
Elizabeth graduated from the West Coast College of Massage Therapy in New Westminster (2013). During the program, she treated people with a wide variety of conditions from multiple sclerosis, dementia, sports injuries and pregnancy to those suffering from a terminal illness. Upon her first lesson at WCCMT, Elizabeth knew that she was on the right path and she is excited to learn everything she can from each interaction she has with her clients.
After working in downtown Vancouver for two years (Absolute Spa Group, Century Plaza Hotel), Elizabeth relocated to Victoria to launch her practice at Victoria Community Acupuncture + Spa. She enjoys working with clients of all ages, whether she is helping her patients to overcome chronic pain, headaches, muscle imbalance, and scar tissue release or simply to ease tense muscles and relieve stress.
Elizabeth is compassionate and gives each patient her undivided attention while skillfully working at the appropriate depth using many different modalities. She enjoys combining the relaxing touch of Swedish massage while focusing on releasing soft tissue restrictions, allowing for greater tissue mobility and flexibility.
Elizabeth's goal in treatment is to provide personalized care based on the patient's individual needs, and to assist them in achieving optimal health and function. She aims to treat the root of the dysfunction rather than just the symptoms to provide long-term resolution.
Elizabeth encourages her patients to be proactive in their healing process by educating them and customizing a home care regime that may include stretching, strengthening and remedial exercises to facilitate the recovery process.
Jacquie Lynn Holland, Reiki Master, Reflexologist, Energy Spa Treatments
"In stillness be like the pine. In movement be like clouds and water." - Qi Gong proverb.
Jacquie Lynn (JL) has been a fundamental part of the VCA team since the spa’s inception. She has been engaged as an Esthetician and Body Care Specialist since 1996, and working with Silk Road Aromatherapy and Tea Company since 2001. She received her original Esthetics certification at the Academy of Excellence, and being a Reflexologist, Reiki Master, and Energy Systems Healing practitioner, she emphasizes the importance of integrating multiple healing modalities for body, mind, and spirit. Her philosophy is that stress-relief and subtle energetic stimulation synchronize to facilitate the body's natural ability to heal, thus giving rise to beauty and strength inside and out. She has honed her skills as a holistic spa practitioner, and will happily share her expertise on the healing properties of teas and essential oils.
JL prefers to work with fresh, organic, plant-based ingredients that utilize the restorative effects of aromatherapy, such as are found in the Silk Road Tea skin and body care lines, with which she is highly experienced. She offers her clients helpful tips on how to maximize holistic spa treatments with healthy habits and provides self-care techniques which can easily be adopted at home. The comfort and attention provided by JL extends well beyond the vivifying experience in the treatment room, as she places the utmost care in setting her clients up for success in wellness outside of the spa.
Clients sometimes come to her with the idea that receiving a professional holistic spa or healing service is merely a treat reserved for special occasions. However, once they experience JL’s relaxation-based approach to treatments, they leave recognizing how easy and enjoyable it can be to be an enthusiastic partner in their own wellness.
“Simply through breathing and receiving nourishing subtle body treatments, there is the opportunity to regain awareness; valuable somatic awareness. Post-treatment people are usually keen to take inventory of the products they have been using as well as the lifestyle choices they have been making, and to do away with whatever does not support the health of their skin and body. I wholeheartedly enjoy facilitating this shift in the approach to homecare. Not only does it prolong the results of treatments enjoyed at the spa, but it also empowers people to take charge of, and take pleasure in, their holistic health. I’m grateful to continue to immerse myself in the ancient healing art of Traditional Chinese Medicine, mentor my clients on holistic living, and serve our community at VCA."
As dynamic as her practice, JL is also a wonderful educator. She has taught at the West Coast College of Massage Therapy, and has trained other practitioners at VCA on the unique products and services offered at the spa. She specializes in Reiki and has many gifts to share with her clients on the benefits of this alternative modality.
Nicole Costello, Registered Reflexologist
"When you come upon a path
that brings benefit
and happiness to all,
follow this course
as the moon
journeys through the stars." - Gautama Buddha
"What you are is what you have been. What you'll be is what you do now." - Gautama Buddha
Nicole Costello (owner of Centerline Reflexology) began her training in Toronto at the Canadian Academy of Reflexology (1993). She also completed extensive training from teachers from Singapore, China and the Philippines. Nicole has since developed her own style of reflexology, which integrates Eastern and Western techniques. Accupressure continues to reveal more of its benefits to her and pursuing its potential remains an on-going study.
Clientele with: swollen feet, sore backs, plantar fasciitis, diabetes, post-stroke, post-surgery, anxiety, stress and arthritis (to name a few), have all benefited from the reduction of pain, the engagement of the nervous system and the increase of circulation that reflexology offers. Nicole has also worked with women throughout their pregnancies applying reflexology according to obstetrician Dr. Gowri's Ayurvedic approach to gentle birth.
Whether Nicole is giving lectures, facilitating workshops or providing home treatments, her strong presence in the community is paralleled by her passion for holistic health. She is pleased to join Victoria Community Acupuncture + Spa to head up the foot reflexology department and launch a new affordable drop in clinic in synergy with community acupuncture. She also looks forward to developing a continuing education component at the spa, offering students a vibrant hub for learning and clinical practice.
Ever passionate about ensuring health access and preventative care, Nicole is also a board member of the charity Creating Community Wellness Society and Vice President of the Victoria Health Co-op where she also volunteers monthly at the Health Co-ops Wellness Clinics. As a supporter of the BCATA (British Columbia Acupressure Therapist's Association) she also co-hosts a monthly massage exchange for practitioners and students.
Nicole is a lover of art and aesthetic beauty and also enjoys creating sculptures in her spare time. As one who studies form and has great material awareness, clients can rest assured that their feet (and tired muscles) are in very good hands.
*Please note that Nicole is registered for direct billing with Green Shield Canada, Sun Life Financial and Standard Life. Please check with your provider to see if you have any medical coverage for reflexology.
Hayley Stobbs, Registered Acupuncturist & Nutritional Consultant
“What’s good for us generally benefits the greater good. When we are healthy, it has a positive impact on our loved ones, communities and the environment.”
Hayley Stobbs, R.Ac., CNC, is a registered acupuncturist and certified nutritional consultant. Hayley’s personal introduction to Chinese medicine and nutrition began at the age of eight years old. Health challenges at a young age gifted her with a sense of empowerment and empathy, which inspired her passion for wellness.
Hayley gently guides each patient towards achieving health goals through attentive listening, skillful needling, and a sincere heart. She believes that customized diet and lifestyle routines along with deep relaxation treatments can profoundly awaken one’s innate ability to heal. Treatments include acupuncture, Chinese massage, cupping, gua sha, food as medicine, and self-care recommendations. Complementary modalities assist in improving circulation, hormone and nervous system balance, detoxification, and nutrient assimilation.
Hayley’s special interests include women’s health, fertility, menstrual irregularities, pain, mental-emotional health, insomnia, allergies, and digestive health. Quality treatments are nurtured via ongoing continuing acupuncture education. You can find out more about Hayley’s work through Instagram at Hayley_stobbs.
Madison Naka, Registered Massage Therapist
A recent graduate of Victoria's West Coast College of Massage Therapy, Madison offers an intuitive, holistic massage therapy treatment. Her keen, scientific perspective balances with her compassionate and accepting nature allowing for effective healing. Recently, Madison has done continuing education in craniosacral therapy as well as completing her yoga teacher training. With this background, she likes to address postural alignment, the nervous system, and other factors that contribute to pain with the intent of treating the whole body.
Madison enjoys working with people with a variety of concerns and has a particular interest in headaches, TMJ issues, respiratory and diaphragmatic conditions, and stress. Most of all, she believes that providing a space for her clients to feel supported, patient education, and body awareness are key aspects of healing.
When Madison first walked into Victoria Community Acupuncture, it really resonated with her as a place she wanted to begin her practice as a Registered Massage Therapist and she is delighted to be doing just that!
Madison has a spirit that likes to travel and explore new cultures, but se also loves to feel grounded in her home with books, great food, and her yoga practice.
Sydney McCaughan, Registered Massage Therapist
“All methods of healing are really indirect ways of rousing the life energy, which is the true and direct healer of all diseases.”
Sydney was born and raised in Okotoks, Alberta, and she moved to Victoria to pursue her practice in massage. She is a recent graduate of the West Coast College of Massage Therapy’s 2200H program and is a registered massage therapist.
Sydney discovered massage through her practice of yoga. In 2015, she travelled to India to seek guidance for her own self-healing. Attending a 200 hour yoga teacher training in India and another 200 hour training in Thailand allowed her to heal at a subtle, mental level that manifested grossly in her physical body. Sydney came to understand yoga philosophy parallels Traditional Thai massage theory. Both aim to access the free flow of life energy pathways to achieve the balance of the life force (Prana). Sydney developed a strong desire to support others in the process of awareness and clearing of blockages in their Prana channels (Thai Sen Sib pathways). Sydney completed her professional certificate at the Thai Massage School of Thailand in 2015.
Sydney incorporates Thai acupressure/compression/stretching, postural assessment, myofascial release, trigger point therapy, joint mobilizations and more in her treatment. Sydney strives to combine the Eastern and Western knowledge to massage when treating patients from a individual-based approach. She has a special interest in emotional and mental health, abdominal issues, chronic pain, low back pain, and assisting those under high levels of stress. Sydney is also passionate about educating patients in proper homecare and postural awareness. As a practitioner, Sydney’s goal is to provide a supportive environment in which clients can slow down, feel safe, and connect with their bodies.
In her free time Sydney enjoys deepening her meditation and yoga practice, spending time in nature hiking, camping and biking, reading, fermenting and cooking healthy food.
Marika Bessette, Holistic Health Practitioner
"If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace." Ajahn Chah
Marika Bessette graduated with honours from Windsong College of Healing Arts located on beautiful Vancouver Island. As an Holistic Health practitioner, Marika is able to offer a wide range of options in term of treatments, and can adapt every session to focus on the client’s needs. Click here to learn more about what kinds of treatments Marika offers!
She has the privilege of being able to facilitate the health and well-being of those who are open to experiencing this extremely beneficial practice. Her approach is to connect Mind, Body, and Spirit, and to integrate different therapy modalities, with a specialized focus on Gentle touch therapy techniques Including: reiki, shiatsu, jin shin, energy medicine, among others.
One of her strengths as a practitioner is her ability to balance the steadiness and strength of the practice with the softness and gentleness of touch, creating a safe & sacred space for people to ignite their own healing journey.
With Marika, sessions are also available in French.
Thalia Christou, Registered Acupuncturist
Thalia is a registered acupuncturist and an avid outdoors enthusiast. She started off studying Geography and Environmental Studies, but after some time and a dedicated yoga practice she found her passion was exploring the internal environment of the body. This led her to Traditional Chinese Medicine acupuncture, and she graduated from Pacific Rim College in 2017. She uses acupuncture, massage, cupping, and gua sha to restore the body's innate intelligence to heal itself and sustain health and harmony.
What attracted Thalia to Chinese Medicine was its holistic nature in that it treats the body, mind, and spirit. Everything is connected and she is interested in finding the root of health problems and treating from there. Traditional Chinese medicine is thousands of years old and has stood the test of time, and she is excited and honored to have the opportunity to explore, practice, and share this truly amazing medicine.
Thalia has experience treating menstrual disorders, digestive problems, chronic and acute pain in the body, stress, anxiety and depression, as well as helping women with their health through pregnancy. Thalia also practices acu-sculpting cosmetic acupuncture which can help firm, lift, tighten, and shape the skin on the face and body, targeting cellulite and sagging skin as well as facial rejuvenation.
Agni Larsen, R.Ac. & R.TCM.P.
Agni is a Registered Acupuncturist and Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner, registered with the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of British Columbia. Agni began her studies at the Academy of Classical Oriental Sciences in Nelson; continued her education at the International College of Traditional Chinese Medicine of Vancouver and completed her 5-year Doctorate of Traditional Chinese Medicine at Pacific Rim College in Victoria. Agni was first exposed to acupuncture and Chinese Medicine as a child by virtue of her Chinese heritage and through her mum, who worked for an acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
As a TCM health care practitioner, Agni is as eager to treat the common cold as she is to address digestive issues, allergies, dermatological concerns, anxiety, stress, pain and trauma, and chronic degenerative conditions. She has a special interest in mental health, addictions, eating disorders, autoimmune conditions, sports medicine and rehabilitation and optimal nutrition. Agni is interested in working with women to balance hormones, regulate their reproductive systems, and support all 3 trimesters of pregnancy.
Agni has additional training in AcuSculpt cosmetic acupuncture, facial rejuvenation and cellulite reduction. In addition to performing acupuncture, cupping therapy, moxibustion, gua-sha, tui-na massage and prescribing botanical medicines, she teaches individuals how to become ambassadors of their own health through dietary and lifestyle changes.
Outside of yoga and Chinese Medicine, her many passions include meditation, painting, tending her plants, cooking and sharing delicious food, exploring both beautiful BC and far-off destinations, and curling up with a fantasy novel and a mug of bone broth.