About Our Team
Hello! I’m Gretchen Rivas, owner of Relax! Massage Therapy. My passion for massage began back in 2000 when I received a really bad massage! I knew I could do better and help people more, so I went back to school and after graduating I opened my massage practice. After being a one-person business for many years, I added additional massage therapists when I went back to acupuncture school and needed help caring for clients while I was gone. (My therapists are always chosen with the same high standards I hold myself to after my initial bad experience!) Relax! was still operating out of my home office until 2013, when I took a leap of faith and moved the massage and acupuncture practice to its current locations in Oleander Office Park behind Flaming Amy’s. A year later the practice expanded again and added additional space upstairs for couples massage. Now, our massage practice spans two floors and we have an additional office in another building across the parking lot for acupuncture.
Currently Relax! Massage Therapy has seven experienced massage therapists that are here for you. With a multitude of different skills, training and healing modalities, there is someone here to help you with any problem you may encounter. Whether you need to relax, unwind and de-stress, or get a specific issue worked on, our team can help. We operate from a place of compassion and genuine concern for our clients, so Relax!, you are in good hands!
Take a minute and meet the team below. Please call or book online with any therapist
Hi, my name is Denise and my story begins with running a circus! Not a true circus of course…
Hi, my name is Denise and my story begins with running a circus! Not a true circus of course, but after being a stay at home mom to four boys for more than a decade, (which is about the same as running a circus), I decided it was time to pursue a career for myself.
I looked into Nursing and spoke with many nurses but was surprised to find that many in that profession were burnt out, overworked and unhappy. One nurse did say to me that what she missed the most in the profession was when they used to give their patients massages in the evenings, and how that was what she loved doing the most. This inspired me to look into the massage field, and shortly thereafter I was attending school in Phoenix, Arizona. Over the years I have been fortunate to work in Asheville, N.C. and Raleigh, N.C., with a vast array of clients that included professional athletes. Now I am in Wilmington and love working at Relax!
I have been happily practicing massage for close to 10 years now. The best part? Helping people. In so many ways, on so many levels. Having a client come in with their issues (pain, stress, etc.) and walk out feeling 10 years younger and a lot less stressed. I have found over the years that deep tissue work appeals to me and it’s an interesting therapy when done well. It becomes a type of dance with the client, to provide just the right amount of pressure without there being too much. I enjoy Hot Stone massage, and tend to give my clients a combination of techniques with some cranial sacral and reflexology techniques added in. I can’t really say which I love the most, the detailed work of a deep tissue massage or the long, flowing, de-stressing rhythms of a Swedish massage. They all have their place and are much needed in our fast paced world.
The journey to massage therapy began at age 8. My Great Grandmother and I…
The journey to massage therapy began at age 8.My Great Grandmother and I sat on the edge of her bed so my mother could massage our legs. I was hooked but it would take several years of trying different things before I realized that massage was my calling.
The business education I received early on never felt like a fit. I went to college and worked on a business degree, I worked in private home health care and in the restaurant industry and none of it felt right. One day, in 2006,I had an epiphany! A massage career would expand my knowledge base of holistic health and allow me to serve in a meaningful way.I went to Soothing Arts Massage School and found my true passion.
My ability to listen along with a strong drive to learn, grow and always give my best has helped me grow in a field that is ever changing and developing. Today I specialize in custom massage using many modalities. Some of the modalities I am trained in are: deep tissue techniques including myofascial release, trigger point therapy, sports massage, full body stretching, reflexology, injury rehab, oncology and lost limb care. I enjoy working with seniors. I also do Energy work such as Reiki and Healing Touch.
I love giving back in ways that are meaningful and have participated in many charity and outreach events such as Special Olympics,, Strongman and Iron Man Competitions, Panhandle Boxing Academy and Professional Body Building, Veterans Administration Medical Center and the Leland Police Department.
I look forward to meeting you soon and helping you feel your best!
Julie RomeroI am a licensed massage and bodywork therapist, and I am EMPOWERED.
I will begin telling my story by starting at the present. I am a licensed massage and bodywork therapist, and I am EMPOWERED. Originally from Washington, DC I have a B.A. in Spanish from Towson State University and a Masters degree in teaching and curriculum from Penn State. As I reflect on my career path, it may sound as though I made a series of disjointed choices with no thread of connection. But wait, my friends, there is a connection. My first career was in the private sector as a retirement planning and investment representative at a major mutual fund house in Baltimore, Maryland. I spent five years as a member of their institutional marketing and service division. My second career was in education as a public school Spanish teacher. For sixteen years I taught seventh through twelfth graders how to conjugate verbs and use pronouns. Now to my third, and final career. I am an LMBT. I provide massage services to clients seeking relaxation and relief from a variety of conditions. “Where’s the thread Julie?”, you ask. Each of these careers requires a certain nuance that I hold very close to my heart and it is EMPOWERMENT. I empowered those employees to make choices that would afford them the future that they had dreamt of. I empowered those students to embrace the global community and to communicate with the world around them to enhance their personal and professional futures. And now I empower clients to seek holistic treatments and make life choices that will keep their bodies in a state of peak performance.
My goal is to share with them the tools to heal themselves in order to live happy, healthy, and whole. I enjoy the long, fluid strokes of Swedish massage, the intensity of of therapeutic treatments, and the comfort that comes from hot stone.
Jenn SladeIf there is one thing I know to be true, it’s that my life’s purpose is to help people heal.
If there is one thing I know to be true, it’s that my life’s purpose is to help people heal. I can recall being drawn to alternative forms of healing since early childhood; I’d always known that life would eventually carry me down that path. In college, I studied marine biology believing that I wanted to be a marine veterinarian. It wasn’t until several years later, while I was in yoga teacher training, that I was first inspired to consider becoming a massage therapist. A year and a half later I graduated from the Center for Massage and Natural Health in Asheville, NC- and it has totally changed my life and sparked a passion in me that I look forward to cultivating, nurturing and growing throughout the future.
I draw inspiration from my work as a yoga instructor, history as a competitive athlete, and studies in herbal medicine and energetic therapies to inform my massage style. I believe the most healing takes place when we are able to be fully present in our own process, and that a large part of that is interwoven with growing our ability to let go of stress on a day to day basis. I specialize in therapeutic massage and Reiki. Other modalities I incorporate in to my work include hot stone, aromatherapy, stretching, deep tissue, and trigger point therapy. I love what I do for so many reasons. I love working with people on an individual level, building a treatment plan that is unique, holistic and tailored to each person’s distinct needs. I am always so humbled to see the individuals I work with thriving, and I always feel so incredibly honored to be entrusted with the responsibility of helping people to heal themselves.
Kacey GranerMy name is Kacey Graner, and I am from a small town outside of Pinehurst, North Carolina.
My name is Kacey Graner, and I am from a small town outside of Pinehurst, North Carolina. After I became a licensed Massage Therapist I decided to move to Wilmington to dive into my career. I needed a change of scenery, and what better place than the beach!
Let me tell you all a little bit about how I got interested in massage therapy… Being an athlete all my life, massage helped bring relief to my aches and pains from overexertion. My mother also raised me very holistically. She is a nutritionist; always instilling food is medicine, and preventive care was critically important to optimal health. I was always taught to treat my body as a temple. I decided to become a massage therapist because I want my lifestyle to coincide with my career. I want to help others feel their best and reach their optimum health as well. I love to run, go on long walks, and explore the outdoors with my dog, Scout. I enjoy practicing yoga, and recently have become more committed to my practice. I think it is important to stretch and understand what muscles the poses are affecting. I’ve found it improves my work as a massage therapist as well. I love learning and constantly fueling my think tank. That is another reason why massage therapy fits my personality so well. There is always something new to learn in the field, which keeps me excited and invested in my work.
As a therapist, I enjoy therapeutic massage; combining multiple modalities to best suite my client. I really like combining classic Swedish massage, myofascial work and trigger point therapy. I am eager to grow my practice in Wilmington with Relax Massage Therapy. I know there are so many like-minded people in this community, and I can’t wait to meet you all!
Stephanie ArnoldHey, y’all! My name is Stephanie and I’m a licensed massage therapist!
Hey, y’all! My name is Stephanie and I’m a licensed massage therapist! The question I’m asked most often is “why”? Well, I received my first massage when I was 13. I felt nothing short of amazing afterward, as I’m sure you can relate. Naturally, I wanted to provide that experience to other people. Not to mention spas are calm, relaxing, and tend to smell SO GOOD! Who wouldn’t want to work in one?! Little did I know at the time, the atmosphere was only one of the perks. Helping people holistically address physical ailments and see real results, that’s the best part.
I graduated from the Myotherapy Institute of Massage in 2012. I did not receive a traditional in-c¬lass education, but rather a one-o¬n-one personalized learning experience. Since then my prima¬ry foc¬us has been expanding my deep ti¬ssue and pain manage¬ment te¬chniques thr¬ough han¬ds-on conti¬nuing edu¬cation cla¬sses. I have experience in both spas and chi¬ropractic offices, bringing a unique blend of relaxation and bodyw¬ork to my table. I’m so excited to be apart of this amazing team at Relax Massage Therapy and look forward to meeting you soon!
Lary MichaelsPeace and Blessings to All… I am Lary Michaels a 15-year veteran of therapeutic massage therapy.
Peace and Blessings to All… I am Lary Michaels a 15-year veteran of therapeutic massage therapy. I recently relocated, to be with family here in North Carolina. My occupational journey has taken me through 5 states of licensing. California being the first in 2002 then Texas followed by Nevada and Missouri most recently in North Carolina. Yes…to get the right training can be a journey of sacrifices and hard work, both mentally and physically, done for the love of helping people heal. I am trained in the best feel good treatments… Swedish, Deep Tissue, Sports & Exercise, Reflexology, Pre-Natal and Hot Stone just to touch on a few. My greatest desire is to work with Medical and Injury recovery, in all forms, to help those who need to be healed ASAP with all the TLC they deserve. To get you back into your comfortable life with a fresh start. Before my massage training I worked with automated robotic test equipment in the maintenance department, this gave me the mind set to look for all the little things that did not work with the ease of performance and balance. I spent a lot of time analyzing and adjusting to fine tune the robotics. I really loved my job but because of the advancement of technology my manufacturing job came to an end. After high school, I worked in construction so that’s what I went back to, knowing in my heart this was not where I want to be. So, into massage school I went and right from the first day I knew this is what I had always wanted to do. I have created treatments that have been proven to heal the human body. Therapeutic Postural Alignment and Post Surgical Therapeutic Recovery. So please do not delay removing your pain… Schedule your appointment with me today!
Relax Staff ~ We Are Here To Help You!
Katie MarinoHi! My name is Katie Marino and you will find me behind the front desk and on the other side of the phone when you call.
Assistant Office Manager
Hello there! My name is Katie and you’ll find me at the office, doing whatever it takes to get things done.
My passions in life are working with others and helping people young to old. Here at Relax! and Infinity, it is wonderful to be able to support our therapists, meet and talk with others, and help them choose a service that will improve their well being, mind, body, and soul.
Bella WilsonHello! My name is Bella and I work mainly at our Relax! Massage Therapy office. The environment I work in is one filled with incredibly passionate…
Hello! My name is Bella and I work mainly at our Relax! Massage Therapy office. The environment I work in is one filled with incredibly passionate and caring individuals. I am extremely grateful to have been given the opportunity to be a part of the Relax! and Infinity team. My passions include drawing, painting, ceramics, and anything involving creating art in general. I also love to make my own candles, soaps, and jewelry. I love helping people and also working with children specifically, which has lead me to the choice of ultimately pursuing a career in either primary or secondary fine arts education. I always look forward to being able to meet new clients and see our return ones, and being able to see them leave relaxed and refreshed or in less pain. Give us a call and let us help you decide what service would be the most beneficial to your health and overall well-being!
Grace DeValingerI became a part of the Infinity – Relax office staff just a bit ago and I feel as though I’ve found a new family to enjoy and care for…
I became a part of the Infinity – Relax office staff just a bit ago and I feel as though I’ve found a new family to enjoy and care for, along with the wonderful clients I’ve met here.
I was an OR nurse for too many years, and it’s said that old OR nurses don’t die, they just go to Central Supply! Having left nursing, I had too many loose ends, so I found something to fill a few hours of each day, and in many ways, I’m happier and richer for the opportunities I’ve found here.
Over the past 30+ years I’ve had many Border Collies in my home. They have been a big part of my life, and I have the son and daughter and g’son of my first beautiful blue merle, Bo’son. Among them they’ve got 3 blue eyes! I’ve been very lucky to have 3 generations of the same sweet guy I first brought into my home during the early 80’s, when i knew very little about how “wolfish” and driven Border Collies can be. Bo taught me so many things, they are truly the smartest canines and not only herding dogs, but also awesome companions!!
Audri MurrayI became a part of the Infinity – Relax office staff just a bit ago and I feel as though I’ve found a new family to enjoy and care for…
Hi! My name is Audri, and I am eager to greet you the next time you visit us for your next massage! My workplace offers a calm, serene environment for not only your enjoyment, but mine as well. I am so lucky and grateful to be given the opportunity to care for people at such an early age. My hobbies include drawing, surfing, listening to music and spending time with my dog and family. I’m currently in the pursuit of becoming a veterinarian, with high hopes of specializing in exotic animals. Right now, all my efforts and concentration is directed towards my job, and ultimately allow you to leave my workplace feeling refreshed, relaxed, and even pain free. I’m excited to see you again for an appointment or greet you the first time I see you!