Faculty

Learn more about our knowledgeable and experienced faculty members. 

A passion for therapeutic healing, fitness, preventative wellness, and a holistic lifestyle are qualities embraced by the founders, the staff, and the educators at Lexington Healing Arts Academy.

We invest a great deal in the people that power our programs.  Experience, professionalism, and dedication to both the practice and the art of teaching are fundamental qualities in our faculty.  All instructors of hands-on courses and most teachers of applied sciences are employed as health care professionals in their respective fields.

Meet Our Educators

Kim Alexander
Kim has been a massage therapist for over 25 years and an educator for over 35 years. She holds a Rank 1 from Eastern Kentucky University, and a Bachelors degree in biology education/Masters degree in Comprehensive Science Education from Northeast Missouri State University (now Truman State University). She currently teaches Anatomy, Physiology and Pathology at LHAA, and has taught several massage courses at LHAA and Virginia College in Alabama. She graduated from Lexington Healing Arts Academy in 2003. She is passionate about massage education and has taught in both Kentucky and Alabama training massage therapists for 15 years. She works with the University of Kentucky track team massage therapy team and is establishing her massage practice again following her recent move back to Kentucky. She is also involved with massage school accreditation through ABHES and COMTA as an evaluator. She spends most of her free time with family and at sporting events with her grandsons.
Jim Benson

Jim is the owner of Snap Fitness – Veterans Park in Lexington. He is certified through the National Strength & Conditioning Association as a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and has been a personal trainer since 1999. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and a Master’s degree in Sports Management, both from the University of Kentucky. Aside from personal training, Jim has worked as a consultant for various fitness centers in development of personal training, management, and sales. Jim teaches Sports Specific Training.

Ali Blair

Ali has always had a passion for the sciences and has a bachelor’s degree in biology. She spent six years doing biomedical research at the University of Kentucky prior to becoming a massage therapist. After graduating from Lexington Healing Arts Academy in 2001 she began teaching human anatomy, physiology, and pathology in the massage therapy program in 2004 and in the yoga teacher training program in 2019. She has a private practice in Lexington, KY focusing on pain relief and management. In her spare time, she loves being out in nature, hiking, backpacking, kayaking, and canoeing.

Ann Boone
Ann-BooneAnn has been practicing massage therapy and bodywork since 1979. After many years of practice as a self-taught therapist, Ann continued her education in a more traditional setting at Lexington HealingArts Academy graduating in 2003. Her advanced trainings include: Neuromuscular/Trigger Point therapies, Lymph Drainage, visceral and neural manipulation, Craniosacral therapy, Pre/post-natal, sports massage and Active Isolated Stretching. Ann has over 3,500 hours experience in physical therapy settings (outpatient orthopedic, acute care, sports medicine) as well as having served as team massage therapist to the University of Kentucky track team (co-Ed) as well as the basketball team for 11 years. As a member of the AMTA, she has served as co-founder/co-chair of the AMTA-KY Sports massage team, delegate to the national convention for Kentucky and is currently state Government Relations chair. She has a private practice in Lexington, Kentucky and currently teaches kinesiology and ethics at LHAA in the Massage Therapy Training Program.
Shayne Brakefield

Shayne is a proud graduate of Swedish Institute College of Health Sciences in NYC; he has been an LMT for 5 years. Shayne is also a certified Ashiatsu practioner through Ashiatsu Deep Feet Bar Therapy, founded by Ruthie Hardee. After several years of his private practice, as well as working for Equinox Spa and Clay Spa in Manhattan, he decided to move back home to Lexington in the fall of 2014. Shayne has also received continuing education in myofascial release, trigger point therapy, cupping, tui na, guasha, positional release, lomi lomi, thai, anatomy trains, lymphatic drainage, and VSCT with Steve Shumacher.

A classically trained actor, he is also a proud graduate of the full time Meisner program at William Esper Studio in NYC, where he received 2 years of Alexander Technique training from world renowned teacher, Judith Grodowitz. In addition, Shayne has been practicing many disciplines of yoga and meditation for the past 20 years. Shayne teaches Fundamentals of Massage 2 and Movement and assists Ann Boone with Kinesiology classes at LHAA.

Matt Branstetter

Matt was a member of the first class to graduate from Lexington Healing Arts. He has been practicing massage professionally for 20 years and is an instructor of Massage Fundamentals. He also graduated from the first Yoga Teacher Training offered by LHAA and now teaches yoga philosophy and meditation in this program. A long-time student of meditation and the martial arts, Matt has taught classes in Yoga and Tai Chi at the college level and is a certified qigong Instructor through Rising Lotus Qigong. He assists Master Ding Mingye in designing and teaching the Tai Chi workshops at LHAA. He has explored perspectives on the relationship between the body, healing and spirituality from a variety of cultures and is a professor of World Religions and Ethics at Midway University. Matt brings a passion for teaching and a love for the somatic arts to his various roles at LHAA.

Candace E.H. Brunk

Candy has enjoyed several careers: massage therapist, home-birth midwife, health educator, and technical writer. In each of them she has been the happiest when teaching. She graduated from the Kentucky Academy of Medical Massage in 2009. She is also Board Certified in massage from NCBTMB. She later earned a Bachelor’s in Community Health Education from Eastern Kentucky University and a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Kentucky.

Candy currently works as a technical writer, teaches Thought Patterns classes, and supervises students in the LHAA clinic where she also works as an LMT. Her specialties include Bamboo-Fusion, Oncology, and Wholistic Manual Therapy. She believes therapeutic massage is gentle massage. She plans to work in massage research in the future.

Cynthia Cinquina

Cynthia Cinquina RN, LMT, graduated from Lexington Healing Arts Academy in 2007. Previously she spent 20 years in critical care and is a Reiki practitioner. She has her own private practice, Soular Massage Wellness Center. Cynthia is Board Certified and is a member of Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals. Her training includes Swedish, deep tissue, trigger point therapy, myofascial release, assisted isolated stretching, and orthopedic massage. Cynthia currently teaches Ethics at LHAA.

Joseph Cinquina

Joe Cinquina is a licensed and Board Certified massage therapist and a graduate of the Lexington Healing Arts Academy, where he has been a faculty member since 2010. He teaches Fundamentals of Massage 1 and 2, Career Development, and Thought Patterns for a Successful Career, and he also assists in Kinesiology. Joe is certified in Integrated Manual Therapy and Orthopedic Massage by James Waslaski’s Center For Pain Management, and he co-owns Soular Massage Pain Management with his wife, Cynthia. As a hot stone specialist, he teaches continuing education courses in hot stone massage at LHAA and has also taught deep tissue therapeutic massage for the KY chapter of the AMTA.

Aside from massage, Joe also has a second career as a professional freelance musician and church music director. He is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music, and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Composition and a Master’s Degree in Music Theory from the University of South Florida. He is the author of “The Practical Fundamentals of Music Theory.” Joe says one of his great passions is for teaching, whether it be massage or music.

Beth Connors-Manke

A back injury brought Beth to yoga in 2000; since then, her back has been the greatest teacher in her yoga practice. Yoga has allowed Beth to learn about the body’s own capacity for holistic healing through awareness, the breath, and proper alignment. Beth’s practice focuses on intellectual, intuitive, and spiritual understanding of body and mind. A 2009 graduate of Lexington Healing Arts Academy, Beth is now part of LHAA’s teaching team for the 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Program.

Robyn Hardy

Robyn began her career with Lexington Healing Arts Academy in May of 2000 as an Office and Clinic Manager. In her time with LHAA, Robyn has served in many capacities. She graduated from the Massage program in 2001 and the Yoga program in 2008. In 2003 she added Fundamentals Instructor and Ethics Instructor to her duties. She is now the Clinical Director. Robyn has a full-time private practice in Lexington. Her practice includes Craniosacral and Lymphatic modalities.

Bobbi Junod - AMTA's 2018 Teacher of the Year

Bobbi graduated from Lexington Healing Arts Academy in 2000 and is a Licensed Massage Therapist. She holds a Masters Degree in Vocational Education and has taught in public education and at Lexington Healing arts for over 20 years. In 2005, Bobbi became part of the administrative staff at LHAA, first as Dean of Student Affairs then as Director of Education. She retired from the administrative staff in 2015 but continues to teach Thought Patterns. In 2018 Bobbi was the recipient of the Jerome Perlinski Teacher of the Year Award from the American Massage Therapy Association.

Levi Kirkpatrick

Levi began coaching in 2003 after completing the US Speedskating coaching program. While competing internationally and domestically in the sport, he coached skaters of various ages and abilities. During this time, he also facilitated the certification for fellow speed skating coaches by instructing certification clinics.

Levi graduated from Northern Michigan University with degrees in Exercise Science (’10) and Business Management (’15). He currently holds certificates through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist), American Council on Exercise Science (Health Coach), and Precision Nutrition.

Levi has experience working with older adults, youth athletes, injured athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and persons with a chronic disease/disability. He has worked in athletic and medical fitness environments collaborating with many coaches and health and fitness experts.

In June 2018, Levi and his wife Lauren moved to Lexington for her to complete a residency in Internal Medicine. They enjoy cooking, outdoor activities, athletics, and spending time with family and friends.

Kathy Lewallen

Kathy came to LHAA in 2005 after years of personal exploration. Her educational background is in psychology, textiles, culinary arts (pastry specifically), as well as creative interests in herbal remedies, collage and mixed media arts, and an assortment of crafts. In addition to her role as Teaching Assistant in the Massage Therapy Program: Fundamentals I and Movement Classes, she is a practicing massage therapist at the LHAA Massage Clinic.

Jen Patterson

Jen is a licensed massage therapist and has been a part of the LHAA faculty since 2010, teaching 2nd term massage fundamentals. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology- Exercise Science from the University of Kentucky in 2001, then graduated from massage school in 2002. She has worked in various settings as a massage therapist, including physical therapy, personal fitness and wellness centers, dental office, college-level sports teams and now currently maintains a private massage practice. She helped start and develop the AMTA Kentucky Sports Massage Team and co-chaired the team from 2009-2016. She now leads various teams around KY providing sports massage at marathons, cycling and triathlon events and is the current massage director for Ironman Louisville. Jen is certified in orthopedic massage through the Orthopedic Massage Education and Research Institute. Her other areas of training and specialty include Myofascial therapy, Trigger Point therapy, Lymph Drainage therapy, Cranial Sacral therapy, Active Isolated Stretching and Kinesiotaping. Jen is very passionate about learning, teaching and sharing the art of massage therapy.

Connie Payne

Connie has been a firm believer in the therapeutic benefits of yoga since the 90’s when she was seeking relief from chronic back and hip pain. She found that yoga helped strengthen and heal her body, and it offered a calming, centering experience. She enjoys helping others deepen their awareness of the mind-body connection and finding more day to day tranquility. Connie completed her 200 RYT at Lexington Healing Arts and her 300 RYT in Rishikesh, India.

Teresa Rogers

​Teresa has more than 30 years’ experience as a health care professional and educator. She began her career as a registered nurse in 1980. After 12 years clinical practice, Teresa began teaching Health Sciences. She completed her bachelor’s degree, with an emphasis in Vocational Education, at Morehead State University, a master’s degree in Special Education at Campbellsville University before earnings a Rank I.

Additionally, Teresa is a Registered Yoga Teacher and is certified by both Yoga Alliance and the International Association of Yoga Therapists. She completed her 200-hour certification at Evansville Yoga Center and her 300-hour certification at the Yoga Teacher’s School of Excellence in Jackson, Tennessee. Teresa currently teaches at Falling Springs in Versailles, KY.

Joyce Shirazi

Joyce was an instructor at LHAA when it was first founded in 1999. She received her massage training from the New Hampshire Institute for Therapeutic Arts. Joyce has advanced training in Reflexology and Neuromuscular massage. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience with students. Joyce teaches Kinesiology.

Katie Stewart

Katie, a graduate of Miami University and S.H.I. Integrated School of Medical Massage, has been involved in the field of massage, birth, personal growth and healing for the last 22 years She started teaching at the Lexington Healing Arts Academy when it was founded in 1999 and in 2008 created the Term 2 Deep Tissue program. An educator and researcher, she has advanced trainings in multiple modalities including Lymphatic Drainage, & Biodynamic CranioSacral Therapy. Her passion for teaching and for the field of Massage and Body work is clear as she takes her students into a deeper understanding of the body, its tissues, and how healing works from the inside out.

Lauren Ward

Since Lauren was a young child, she’s always wanted to be a helper. Even at a very early age, she would often rub her grandparents head, hands, and feet just to provide them comfort and relaxation from their aches & pains. Experiencing a significant amount of medical trauma in the Western medical approach, she decided to seek alternative options for healing and balance. She began looking into more of a holistic approach, while expanding her knowledge through a variety of modalities and teachers. She believes that the body has its own Divine wisdom with how to heal ourselves, and if we can be still and present with what is, she believes the body will guide us with exactly what we need to do, and how to go about bringing balance once again. Anything that helped her in her own healing process, she went and got more training in.

Lauren’s had the great fortune and honor to work with many of the founders of their modality and a variety of spiritual teachers. Including, Fritz Smith ( founder and creator of Zero Balancing), Michael “Mukti” Buck ( founder of the Vedic conservatory), Bruno Chikly (founder of the Chikly Institute for lymphatic drainage), Marty Ryan (founder of love your guts seminars, for visceral manipulation and techniques), just to name a few. In addition to being exposed to a variety of acupuncturists, reflexologists, aromatherapists, movement teachers, and many other healthcare professionals, all of whom contributed to her learning process. She has studied intensively with all of the healing arts since 2002, and has taught at Lexington Healing Arts Academy since 2003. Lauren brings a wealth of knowledge to meet any student’s needs. All of her experience has added to her practice and quality of touch exponentially.

In addition to her basic massage training, Lauren has also completed many Certification programs and holds other titles as well. Including being a Reiki Master Teacher, a Certified Vedic Thai Yoga Massage Teacher, a Certified Zero Balancer, Registered Yoga Teacher, and more.

Lena West

Lena West has a Bachelor of Science degree from Saint Leo University has been a Licensed Massage Therapist since 2004. She has been an educator for over 28 years in the areas of employee development and massage therapy. Her passion and focus have always been on raising the level of knowledge and competence in every field she has encountered as an educator. She is an active member of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) and Association Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP) and served as past President of the Tampa Chapter of the Florida State Massage Therapy Association (FSMTA). In her efforts to support integrity in the field of massage therapy education, she served as an evaluator/peer reviewer for several accreditation boards, including the Commission of Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA). Further, she has been the director of massage programs for two of the largest schools in the country and has served on several advisory boards for massage therapy schools.

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Lexington Healing Arts Academy
272 Southland Drive
Lexington, KY 40503

(859) 252-5656

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