Faculty & Staff
Lisa Helbig, LMT – Executive Director & Owner
Lisa Helbig, LMT, is the Founder, Executive Director, and Owner of the Institute for Therapeutic Massage (ITM), the school she founded in 1994. Her career began when she became a massage therapist in 1990, upon graduating from the Jacksonville School of Massage Therapy, Florida. While building her private practice, and working for Nordstrom Spa, Lisa’s great success created the vision to combine her long standing background as a corporate trainer with her love of massage therapy to develop a school that provides students with the high level of education she felt necessary to the field. Lisa has also been instrumental in the development of other massage and aesthetician schools (both before and after opening ITM), massage based curriculums, hospital based massage programs, community / charity based outreach, CEU based videos, and a book on hot stone massage, which was published by Running Press, and continues to sell 10 years later.
What started out as a love for massage and a dream has taken ITM from 1 small room in a corporate building to 6 locations, 5 hospital affiliations, 5 core programs (including a dual certification program for Massage Therapy and Personal Training, and the first COMTA Accredited Oncology Massage Program), and over 35 continuing education classes. In the past 15 years she has spearheaded her schools through the accreditation processes of both ACCSCT and COMTA. Lisa has also added several innovative programs and new locations, all the while maintaining her Title IV Financial Aid status.
In 2007, Lisa was a volunteer with National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) for Job Task Analysis and attended their meetings in both Chicago and San Antonio. In 2009, she became a subject matter expert for the exam development committee, charged with ensuring that the national licensing exam for massage therapists fully, and fairly, test a students body of knowledge before entering the profession.
In 2008, Lisa was appointed Commissioner for the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA), which accredits both educational institutions and programs offering instruction in massage therapy and bodywork. The organization was formed to establish and maintain the quality and integrity of the profession and is governed by elected volunteers. COMTA was recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a specialized accrediting agency in 2002, an acknowledgement of its expertise in ensuring quality education and allowing programs to access federal student aid funds.
Valerie Donahue – Director
Valerie has been in management and administration for several years as well as working as a accounts administrator. She is very active within her community and does several volunteer events for charities throughout Northern New Jersey.
Barbara Reid, CMT – Director of Finance and Student Aid
Barb has a BS in Accounting from Rutgers University and has experience working in various business and managerial positions as well as computer training. Barb graduated ITM with Honors and maintains a private practice.
Dr. Anthony Gencarelli, D.C, CSCS – Director of Education / Instructor
Dr. Gencarelli holds a BS from Bloomfield College and a Doctorate of Chiropractic degree from New York Chiropractic College. He holds several licenses and certifications and is professionally affiliated with many associations including the New Jersey Chiropractic Society, the New York State Chiropractic Association, and the New Jersey Sports Council.
Kimaya Hansen-Metcalfe, LMT, NCBTMB – Instructor
Kim Metcalfe has been practicing massage therapy since 1998. She started her career as the lead bodywork therapist at a resort in Colorado. After leaving Colorado and moving back to New Jersey, she continued her education at the Institute for Therapeutic Massage (ITM), graduating with honors in 2000. Through the years she has taken countless Continuing Education (CE) Classes, travelling the world to participate in workshops such as Thai Massage, Lomi Lomi, etc.
Her training in Thai Massage took place at the Nerve Touch Institute, International Training Massage, and the Thai Massage School of Chiang Mai. Her Hawaiian Lomi training took place on the mainland and island of Maui. Other CE classes include Iridology, and most recently, Mayan Abdominal Massage. On top of these exotic techniques, Kim has studied medical massage techniques with several teachers in the USA, became certified in prenatal massage therapy, is a certified herbalist through Sage Mountain, started a holistic body product line, and most importantly, married her soulmate and is raising her daughter, who at 2 years old is addicted to massage.
Kim has worked as Assistant Director of Education at the Institute for Therapeutic Massage, where she has been employed for 10 years, teaches the Pregnancy Certification course, Lomi and Thai massage classes. One of her greatest passions is to help future professionals become massage therapists, shiatsu practitioners, and personal trainers. She also keeps a small private practice in Hazlet, NJ.
Sandy Alviene, LMT, NCBTMB – Clinic Director / Instructor
Sandy is an honors graduate of ITM, and Reiki Master, and has worked in both spas and private practice. At ITM, she is in charge of overseeing our student massage clinic (which sees over 3000 hours of activity anually), which includes the orientation of new students, and the continued development of their hands on skills.
Shawn Ezzo – Northern Region School Registrar
Shawn Ezzo has been a practicing massage therapist and personal trainer since 2007. He received his training at The Institute for Therapeutic Massage – Northern NJ – Passaic County Campus, in what was formerly our Pompton Lakes location. There he studied Swedish Massage and Bodywork, and then went on to take the Personal Training program. He is currently a certified American Heart Association instructor in New Jersey.
Shawn is the Registrar for the Northern Region, a full-time substitute instructor of Swedish massage, Medical Massage, and Anatomy and Physiology. He is also a full-time teacher’s assistant for Reflexology, Pregnancy, Chair, Myofascial Release, and Cancer / Oncology Massage, as well as Asian Bodywork.
Michael Franklin, LMT, NCTMB
Michael, a nationally-certified massage therapist, has worked in health care his entire professional career. In addition to being a licensed massage therapist, Michael is also a registered pharmacist. He graduated first in his class from the Morristown Memorial Hospital branch of the Institute for Massage Therapy. Michael is trained in many modalities of massage therapy, ranging from purely relaxing to deep tissue and therapeutic massage.
Dennis J. Battersby CMT, NSCA-CPT, Rieki-MT
Dennis is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University with a BS in Health Planning and Administration. He is also a graduate of the Institute for Therapeutic Massage, Inc (ITM) with honors in what used to be their Pompton Lakes location in Passaic County, and is now certified in Massage Therapy and Personal Training.
Dennis instructs the following: Business and Ethics, Chair Massage, Clinic, Reiki 1 and 2, Sports and Event Massage.
He is also the owner of Pinnacle Performance Plus, an onsite Fitness and Wellness Provider. He is an athletic performance trainer in the areas of strength, conditioning, speed, agility and sports massage, specializing in soccer performance conditioning.
Certificates: ACMT, NSCA-CPT, National USSF “D” licensed soccer coach, USSF licensed Referee grade 8, Red Cross certified First Aid and CPR.
Associations: Associated Bodywork and Massage Professional, National Strength and Conditioning Association, National Soccer Coaches Association of America, United States Soccer Federation.
Deirdre E. Best, LMT, Instructor, Clinic Director
Deirdre is a graduate of ITM and has been a Massage Therapist since 2006. She studied Holistic Nutrition and Naturopathic medicine at Clayton College of Natural Health and has been a practicing Herbalist for 22 years. Recently completed the 2-year program at David Winston’s School for Herbal Studies and will continue to the advanced herbal program. At ITM, she teaches Therapeutic Massage, Aromatherapy, Myofascial, Chair Massage, Deep Tissue & Medical. She is also the Clinic Director for Tinton Falls, Administrative Assistant to the Director as well as Admissions. Owner of Best Therapeutics, LLC where she customizes her massage work for each specific client’s needs and uses herbal consultation to maximize health and wellness.
Dr. Cynthia Brown, D.C. – Instuctor
Dr. Brown has a B.S. in health science from Lock Haven University and a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Life University, School of Chiropractic. She has been a chiropractor for nine years and has extensive experience in the fitness industry as a personal training program manager, personal trainer, weight loss consultant and instructor. In addition, she has taught science at the junior high school level. Dr. Brown has also been coaching basketball for ten years. She currently heads the 7/8 team at Pinelands Regional Junior High School and also is the head coach of the Barnegat Bay Barons, an Amateur Athletic Union team.
Lori Dobbert LMT, BS Clinic Supervisor/Instructor
Lori has been a professional massage therapist since 1984. Originally trained and licensed in Florida, she has worked in a variety of professional settings including day spas, resorts and medical offices. After four years in the massage industry, Lori completed her Bachelors degree in Exercise Physiology at the University of South Florida in Tampa. From there began a 20-year career being on staff in physical therapy departments of an orthopedic surgeon and osteopaths. Lori utilized physical therapy modalities and taught exercise rehab to patients in addition to medical massage. Lori was also a personal trainer at a women’s gym for five years while living and practicing massage in Boston. She currently tutors and coaches students in exercise and massage therapy techniques. Lori held massage licenses in Florida, Massachusetts and currently in New Jersey. Her first two years in college is in Mass Communications. Lori enjoys writing and has contributed to Massage Magazine online. She continues to look for writing opportunities to benefit massage therapy students. Lori originally began teaching in Boston five years ago. Since relocating to New Jersey she enjoys teaching at Institute for Massage Therapy and sharing her experience. Lori also assists in supervising student clinic. Lori is always willing to share her knowledge and experience with students. Lori warns to just be prepared for a lot of stories.
Amy Richardson Novack, CMT, ERYT – Instructor
A graduate of ITM in 2006, She is currently waiting on her NJ license…. Just waiting:)
In her practice she does Swedish, Lomi Lomi, Myofascial Release, Reflexology, Prenatal, Ear Candling, Raindrop Therapy, Avianna, Reiki, is also a yoga instructor.
Along with her massage certification, She is a Reiki Master, 500 hour E-RYT (allowing her to train teachers to teach), Thai Massage. She also enjoys aromatherapy has a bachelors degree from Monmouth University in Anthropology, a Bachelors in Spiritual Counseling from University of Metaphysical Science.
Bruce A Spicer, LMT
After years working as a Network Planner for AT&T, Bruce made a career change with the goal of working as a Sports Massage Therapist. In 2004 Bruce graduated from Somerset School of Massage Therapy. Bruce’s love for our industry extends beyond being a massage therapist. He has served on the AMTA-NJ Board of Directors for 7 years and currently is the AMTA-NJ Sports Team Director. Bruce was proudly appointed by Governor Christie in 2014 to serves as a Board member on the New Jersey State Board of Massage and Bodywork.
In addition to receiving the AMTA Meritorious Award in Phoenix AZ. and the AMTA-NJ President’s Award in New Jersey, Bruce’s most honored moment came in 2012 in Raleigh, North Carolina when he was presented with the AMTA National Sports Massage Achiever Award. This award is given to only one of 65,000 therapists nation wide.
Although skilled, teaching our Swedish and Medical programs and many weekend elective and required classes, the modality Bruce specializes in is “Sports Massage” and “Rehabilitative work”.
In addition to working for the Teddy Atlas Boxing team, where he has worked on numerous World Champion prize fighters, Bruce has worked with the Rutgers University Football team for the past 10 years and the Monmouth University Men’s Basketball Team for the past 4 years.
Aaron Mattes Method of ” Active Isolated Stretching” Bruce follows Aaron’s guidance and trains with Aaron at every opportunity.
Bruce maintains two offices in Ocean and Monmouth Counties.
Luci Zirpoli – Instructor
After 24 years as an IT Professional in the corporate world, Luci decided to change careers and work more closely with people rather than computers. ITM was the logical choice for her, as she was a client of the student clinic for 11 years and found their students second to none. Luci completed the Oncology Program, Personal Training Program and the Eastern Program within 22 months. She is Certified in NJ and Licensed in NY.
Luci has a few personal clients, works for Hospice, volunteers at a local Spectrum for Living facility and is able to enjoy her passion for teaching as an Instructor at ITM.
Luci originally graduated from Ramapo College with a B.S. in Mathematics, which led her into the computer world. Although she enjoyed much success in her prior work, she is exactly where she should be and has never looked back on her decision to switch careers.