Brenda Armstrong’s Professional Life
The multitalented Brenda Armstrong is internationally recognized for her mastery of massage as a therapeutic tool to support the health and wellbeing of the whole person, as well as her enjoyment of teaching and sharing her expertise.
Her 35+ year career has allowed Brenda to serve a wide range of clients in Canada, the US Virgin Islands and the United States: from four to ninety-four years of age.
Originally from Barrhead, Scotland, Brenda began her working life with four years in the corporate world. She worked for the Shell Oil Company in Glasgow’s headquarters as liaison with regional field offices in Scotland and Northern Ireland before emigrating to Canada in 1973, where she served in the government sector in public relations with the Ministry of Finance in Ottawa.
Sensing a need for more genuine and meaningful connection with people, in 1978, she began her career in the natural healing and vitalizing of mind and body, using the age-old art of massage.
Brenda graduated from the Canadian College of Massage and Hydrotherapy in Toronto in the autumn of 1979 and plunged enthusiastically into the field of massage therapy after gaining certification under the Association of Physiotherapists and Massage Practitioners of British Columbia and the Board of Directors of Masseurs empowered by The Drugless Practitioners Act of Ontario, Canada.
Brenda immersed herself in the thrilling role of helping people feel their best, relishing those early years of accelerated learning as she explored a variety of approaches to working with the physical body, integrating the pieces that fit into her private practice: Medical Massage, Foot Reflexology, Bioenergetics, Trager, Feldenkreis, Hakomi, Biodynamics, Trigger Point Therapy, Touch for Health, Polarity, Rebirthing.
As Principal and teacher at the prestigious Sutherland Chan School of Massage in Toronto, teaching academic and clinical courses, and owner of Life Lines, Brenda rode the crest of a new wave of natural, wholistic healing. This wave carried her questing spirit again, in 1987, to advance her skill sets in the US Virgin Islands.
Before establishing A Touch of Wellness in St Thomas, she spent two years cruising the British Virgin Islands as a chef with a luxury charter yacht, serving delicious whole-food meals from scratch, and introducing guests to healthy eating, while she learned to sail and scuba dive. The following few years found her managing a world-class, multi-residential island property while planting and nurturing the seeds of A Touch of Wellness, which she opened in 1994, going on to build a strong reputation of integrity, caring and life-enhancing massage therapy throughout the US Virgin Islands.
Brenda maintains her National Certification for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork which she accomplished in 1993. She is licensed in Florida and a member of the professional association ABMP (Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals). Always thirsty for knowledge, she continues to study, adding techniques to her practice: Cranio-Sacral Therapy, Chinese Pressure Point Therapy, Balinese Massage, Reiki, Therapeutic Hot Stone Massage.
To enhance her massage therapy, from the evolution of her studies of medicinal plant oils and certification as an Aromatherapist, Brenda formulated, produced and marketed her own line of personal-care synthetic-free aromatherapy products, Scents & Botanicals, for ten years in the Virgin Islands, while conducting her full-time massage practice.
As A Touch of Wellness expanded to include a lab and retail shop, Brenda became known for her extensive wholistic approach to health and wellness and was often asked to speak and present workshops on therapeutic touch and pain/stress reduction. In 2004, A Touch of Wellness was voted Best of the Virgin Islands for massage, and Brenda received an entrepreneurial award from the New Image Foundation partnered with the Small Business Administration.
Brenda was invited in 2006 to teach an introductory massage therapy course at the University of the Virgin Islands. She created and conducted a 40-hour program with the textbook, Massage Therapy Principles and Practice by Susan G. Salvo, as the foundation.
2010 was Brenda’s year to formalize the coaching skills she had exercised throughout her career. While still serving her clients, she spent the year training with Intrinsic Solutions as well as the Coach Training Alliance to add the certification of Life Coach to her credentials. This year, the National Association of Professional Women named her Woman of the Year.
Again seeking new opportunities to grow, Brenda transferred her successful practice to a fellow practitioner in St Thomas in 2011, moved to St Petersburg, Florida and began again.
A Touch of Wellness, now in Largo, Tampa Bay is the embodiment of Brenda’s 35+ year career supporting and coaching her clients and associates through therapeutic massage and bodywork: understanding their role in healing and strengthening the body and whole person.
Choosing not to limit her work to a particular specialty early in her career, Brenda has thankfully gained a broad range of experience in clinical application, as well as stress-management and relaxation. The majority of her service continues to be in her private practice, but Brenda has also enjoyed exploring the spa world with Journeys Spa in St Thomas and the world-renowned Spa Oceana at Loews Don CeSar Hotel on St Pete Beach, Florida where she was honored by Loews Hotels in 2014 with their Spotlight Award for outstanding performance in a staff of 375.
With over 51,000 hours of hands-on client session time plus speaking, teaching, consulting and volunteering, it’s been a very busy schedule. Brenda attributes her longevity as a full-time massage therapist to her philosophy of partnering with her clients, addressing their specific needs with compassion and respect, and finding that meaningful connection she sought so long ago at her government desk.
You can find out more here about how Brenda applies massage.