Our Team

Lijing Liu

Accepting appointments July 2022!

A massage therapist who combined eastern and western clinical massage.

NCLic # 19742

(954) 464-4814

Reduce your pain, Release your body, and Relax your mind!

I love to work with all types of different people. I provide eastern clinical massage combined with western massage for clients who are suffering pain.
My favorite massage techniques include, but are not limited to Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, sports massage, hot stone massage, Thai massage, reflexology, lymphatic massage, and acupoint massage.
My goal is to help promote the QOL (quality of life) of the individual client. I look forward to helping the clients get what they need to feel better and relax.

Fernanda Santiago

CO- Founder, LMBT, Certified Aromatherapist, Advanced Thai Massage Practitioner, Educator

NCLic #09509

Not accepting new appointments at this time.  Contact me for inquiries or hosting continuing education workshops (919)297-8445 or visit www.ApexRetreatSeminars.com


Born in the Island of Puerto Rico, Fernanda Santiago has always had a passion for wellness and helping people get healthy. Her great grandmother was a midwife, herbalist and considered by many to be an expert in the use of natural healing compounds. This knowledge of herbal medicine and natural healing has been passed down for generations. Fernanda was introduced to Aromatic Botanical Medicine early in her career and has specialized in Aromatherapy for 16 years. She has also trained in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and mentored by Acupuncture Physicians, and Botanists, gaining hands on experience. She has studied with both Floracopeia and The School of Aromatic Studies.

She loves gardening, the outdoors and creating custom formulations for her clients. She has a private practice in Apex, NC named Healing Feels Good®. Here she provides consultations, Aromatherapy treatments & formulations as well as bodywork sessions such as Reflexology, Thai Massage and Thai Herbal Poultice treatments.

She is the co-founder of Apex Retreat Seminars, a nationally approved continuing education school for massage therapist and is a Level 2 NAHA Certified Professional Aromatherapist.

She loves to share her knowledge and passion for helping others using traditional methods of healing.

Jason Atkins

LMBT, Certified Back Country Survival Instructor, Educator

NCLic #11780

(919) 448-6526

J W Atkins is a well-rounded Massage Therapist from Chapel Hill with over 10 yrs of experience. Jason was a behavior science modification specialist/combat field medic.  His military background only strengthens his character. Jason is gifted with a rare ability to put his clients at ease no matter how hectic life is. He believes in teaching his clients how to live a healthier lifestyle overall. He works with an eclectic mix of modalities, including Shiatsu, Swedish, Prenatal, and Deep Tissue. He is a continuing education instructor for Apex Retreat Seminars and co-founder for Apex Retreat.

Dean Hebert

LMBT, Advanced Thai Massage Practitioner, Educator

NCLic #10820

(919) 400-1609

“The body knows what to do, you just need to let it.”

Dean has a versatile portfolio of a hard working man. He discovered his true calling in the wellness field. Dean has been a practicing LMBT for over 6 years and is one of the most sought after Massage Therapists in well known Spas in the Triangle Area.     Dean’s specialty and focus is on helping the body function and mobilize better to achieve optimal health. 

He specializes in Myofacial Release, Joint Mobilization, Table Thai Massage, and Deep Tissue work. He believes in teaching his clients how to live a healthier lifestyle overall. He is a continuing education instructor for Apex Retreat Seminars and co-founder for apex retreat.

William Stephenson


NC License #15524

(919) 264-0990

William is an E-RYT with thousands of teaching hours logged over 10+ years in the Triangle. Upon graduating from the Body Therapy Institute in 2015, he went on to study Myofascial Release and Unwinding with John F. Barnes. In treatment, the therapist tends to employ a therapeutic blend of Myofascial Release, Thai bodywork, and Craniosacral therapy. 

Fernanda, the founder of Apex Retreat, attended one of William’s yoga classes many years ago and brought him on board to establish his own massage practice along with the rest of the team. Since that fateful day, the two have become evermore aligned and entwined in the journey toward healing, teaching each other and countless others along the way via Apex Retreat Seminars and the Healing Arts and Massage school.

From the outset of his journey, he has held a curious obsession for classical yoga that led to a deep dive into hot yoga for many years. Although sun salutations and Sanskrit hold a special place in his heart, curiosity led us to the frontiers of Yin yoga as it pertains to the myofascial system. He currently teaches Anatomy, Sanskrit, and Yin yoga for a couple of yoga teacher training programs in Raleigh, as well as co-leading retreats and the Yoga Alliance accredited school: Nova Yoga. William leads yoga classes for free at Apex Retreat, endeavoring to be a pillar of sanity and strength to those willing to seek help in these trying times. In practice on the mat or in treatment, the hope is to maintain a sacred space that fosters curiosity, authentic expression, and radical self acceptance.

Zara Russel


Now accepting new appointments!


NCLic #16612

(919) 817-9422

My passion for healing has been my guiding light from the beginning. My mother was a LMBT and practiced bodywork while I was still in the womb and then massaged me as a baby during my my first year onward. These rhythms and foundations of holistic healing modalities lead me to discover that bodywork came both intuitively & naturally to me. By age 10, I was scheduling bodywork sessions to family members and friends of the family during gatherings. I fulfilled my dream in 2015 and graduated from Body Therapy Institute in Silk Hope NC where I learned Myofascial release, Swedish Massage, PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation), hydrotherapy, Somatic Psychology and many other healing therapies.

Since then I have been training in new modalities including Thai Massage & Aromatherapy. Thai massage is an ancient and powerful method of healing that combines accupressure, deep compressions & passive yoga stretching to restore total balance for the body & mind. Receiving a that massage is like going to your massage therapist, acupuncturist, chiropractor, and then a yoga class; its truly a holistic experience. I am very grateful to have started my yoga teaching journey through completing a 200 hour teacher training early in 2018 and offer Yoga classes at Apex Retreat Center. I have co-lead a number of hands on wellness classes for caregiver’s of people living with dementia as well as provided massage therapy sessions to people living with dementia who often feel pain but have lost their ability to express.


My bodywork style blends a variety of modalities and I customize each session to meet the intentions of the client and create Natural Balance in the body. Furthermore, I can help you to incorporate self care into your personal life, starting with bodywork and including stretching, breath-work, natural remedies such as plants, baths, oils and teas, positive affirmations and new ways to look at old habits. Daily homework is the key to improve your quality of living, being, and feeling – and being kind to yourself above all else is the foundation of self-care and self-love.

I have learned that each body has the wisdom, knowledge and information to heal itself; it just needs a little encouragement. I can help you to create space in your body so that your body’s natural healing process emerges and balances you in the fascial matrix you live in. I am here to guide you as you learn to heal and thrive. Through connection to each other and connection to our mind, body and spirit we can all find our Natural Balance.

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