Faculty and Support Staff

THE SCHOOL CURRENTLY HAS A CORE STAFF OF 6 PEOPLE, in addition to Guest Teachers we welcome in to present special topics. 

We also offer a Teacher Training option for our students, leading to integration into our staff for one or more topics.  This can be a wonderful way to build your career and balance your practice.  

Spotlighting instructors and staff
comment from former student: Raj and Carole are, as well, amazing teachers — so knowledgeable, generous and fun !  We had great few days!  One month in   Sent from my iPad
Rajeesh Ratti LMT-   Raj brings to our learning community  an extensive  academic background of scholarship and achievement, in his home country of India, including certifications in Ayurvedic Medicine and surgery.  Raj has studied and taught Anatomy, Physiology, Natural Therapeutics,  Natural Medicine, Ayurvedic sciences  and the medical sciences.    Students enjoy his humor, rigor, knowledge and teaching style in his current niche of ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY , medical terminology, definitions, and kinesiology by guiding through Trail Guide for muscle resonance and assessment  palpation.
Raj is also teacher assisting with Mary Light in the area of practicum supervision.
Cindy Akans LMT -  shares "  ...   I’ve been a practitioner of holistic
massagefor over 10 years. I love empowering patients to understand
their bodiesand discover the gentle power of the healing arts.
As a  Massage Therapy Professional, Certified Relaxation Therapist,
and Physical Therapy Technician, I enjoy being able to bridge the gap
between holistic and western therapies, while providing a safe and
nurturing atmosphere in which to heal. I am always looking to integrate
new treatments and therapies into my practice and believe that
continued learning is important for any good LMT.
Carmyn Subba  LMT -a massage therapist for 16 years, 
Carmyn is also a Reiki Master with 7 years of experience
teaching groups and privately.  She has worked in different
clinical settings to design Treatment Plans for Clients. 
She has had  her own private practice for 16 years, as well
as worked under chiropractors, doctors, physical therapists
and acupuncturists - her skills are unique and encompass
many modalties.  
DEB FIGIEL, LMT , RYT Yoga Teacher
Debra Figiel LMT, ERYT500
I attended Sun Moon Yoga and received my 200hr yoga teacher
certificate in 2007. Moving forward to Yoga and Meditation
receiving the 500hr certificate .  
Graduated Ann Arbor INSTITUTE of Massage in March 2012.
I offer neuromuscular, Swedish, lymphatic drainage, cupping,
oncology ( 2 different Beaumont Hospital Oncology Trainings
for Massage therapists)  -   and craniosacral massage.
I have worked in hospitals and fitness centers.
I believe continuing education is key to a great massage therapist.
My mission is to help people heal.
Admin Assistant-  Sarah Jernigan -  In her words:  My name is Sarah Marie Jernigan. I was born in Flagstaff, Arizona and spent 15 of my adolescent years in Southern Michigan with my two sisters. I attended the University of Michigan as a transfer student majoring in Ecology with a strong love of the ocean and her creatures. I studied in New Zealand and Pellston, Michigan. I found AASM in 2019 and am experiencing the synergistic powers here. I am working for the school in exchange for my student tuition here and am eager to start volunteering in our apothecary! I have aspirations to live and work aboard an oceanic vessel traveling the world by means of massage and captaining. In the distant future, I see myself opening my own hydrotherapy oasis on land because that sounds fun and much needed by all!   Sarah brings focus, appreciation and past administrative /office organizational experience to our office, which we greatly appreciate!  Sarah has served as ship crew on a variety of Alaskan  and Pacific coast touring vessels, as well as done a cross country bike ride that took 72 days in a group of adventurers.
Mary Light, ND MH LMT,  Director of the School


Mary is a Traditional Naturopath (ND), Licensed Massage Therapist  (LMT), and Clinical Medicinal Herbalist.  She founded this school and also founded Gaia Center for Herbal Studies, a community learning center.  She trained extensively from 1991 through 1999, and beyond,  in the following  fields:

Massachusetts: Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health; Interface in Cambridge   1991-1992; 2005

Maryland:  Faculty at massage therapy program Garrett Community College 1995-1997; Department: Integration and Style

Colorado:  School of Natural Medicine , Boulder, Colorado- Naturopath /Herbal Medicine Program

This program went from 1997, 1998 and through  1999

Florida:  Florida School of Massage, Gainesville, 1993-  1,000 hour massage therapy program and Continuing Education Workshops in Polarity Therapy, Intra-Oral, Neuromuscular Therapy

Arkansas-  An intensive workshop of energy medicine training with Caroline Myss and Dr. Norman Sheely, September 1997

Puerto Rico:  ANN WIGMORE INSTITUTE - Living Foods Certification, 1999

ANN ARBOR MICHIGAN - FOUNDED Gaia Center for Herbal Studies and the Ann Arbor School of Massage, 2005 and 2009 respectively

GENERAL - Mary Light has designed and given countless continuing education workshops in the bodywork, massage, herbal and healing arts field since 1995.

Costa Rica:  Nosara Institute 2013 -  Yoga Teachers Training.  Directors Don and Amba Stapleton

Belize:  Ethobotanical Educational Touring of Rainforest Herbs with Mayan Medicine peop;le in their villages- North central Belize in San Ignacio and  the rainforest/ Mayan villages around the Punta Gorda area, southern Belize   2011

Italy:   Educational  and Ethnobotanical Trip with herbal medicine group guided by international Herbalist and Author Rosemary Gladstar  - Tuscany, Umbria    2015


Scotland:  Findhorn Community- Experience week plus private travels between Glasgow, the Highlands, and the North Sea community of Findhorn 2008  https://www.findhorn.org/ 

WEST VIRGINIA -  Wilderness First Aid and herbal first aid training, Morgantown WV   2016


Mary earned  earn certifications and diplomas from the above mentioned educational pursuits.(ND, LMT) and various continuing education series in Polarity Therapy, hatha yoga, medicinal herbs.  

Prior to 1992 Mary worked with culinary business  pursuits in New York City and Marthas Vineyard, including having estalblished  her own catering business on the Vineyard; (Four Seasons Catering)  working as private chef two seasons for Senator Howard Metzenbaum family; and as private chef for the family and guests of  Peter Sharp,  ( at Edgartown summer home) the owner of the Carlyle Hotel , NYC).  Ms. Light worked and lived in these environments for ten years.

Carole Florence, ND MH LMT


Carole is a Traditional Naturopath, Licensed Massage Therapist, Medicinal Herbalist, Reiki Teacher, and Certified Applied Kinesiologist. She began focusing her studies in these fields over ten years ago, after a corporate career in the healthcare industry wherein she utilized her two BS degrees  in Mathematics and Computer Science. ( U of Mich) . An avid international traveler, Carole is an organic farmer, has been   a beekeeper, and a valued practitioner for the Indiana/Shipshewana  Amish Community.  Now based at   her organic farm in Ann Arbor, she facilitates a range of topics within the  LMT program.


This is someone with special background , experience and teachings who is not part of the core staff for the massage therapy program- who will add enrichment to the program by sharing their holistic experience and how it advances massage therapy practice.

Additional Presenters in the past and in our future plans have included and may include: Yoga Teachers, counselors, Feldenkrais Practitioners leading an Awareness Through Movement, Naturopaths, Herbalists, and other professionals with adjunct teachings to offer as Guest Presentations, on an occasional basis for our students..