To Top

Meet Lori Vargas of Spa Vargas Wellness and International Massage and Spa Academy

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lori Vargas.

Lori, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I opened my first Spa Vargas in 2001 after a successful career in Finance with Fortune 50 firms.

My spas have a holistic base with a strong emphasis on therapeutic benefits and results oriented services. As my spas grew, I had difficulty staffing great massage therapists so in 2009 I opened a massage therapy vocational school. International Massage and Spa Academy is opening 2 more locations by the end of this year and offers programs for massage therapy and nail technology certification. Soon be available for students in other countries to come on a student visa and study with us!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Smooth road – no! We grow incredible fast which was exciting, busy and challenging keeping up with demand. The downturns in the economy over the years has caused us to go up and down in our business. But I think our ability to be creative and diversify has strengthened us at this point but I did hold my breathe a few times in the past!

Please tell us about Spa Vargas Wellness and International Massage and Spa Academy.
Spa Vargas Wellness – Full service spa offering massages, facials, wraps, scrubs, mobile bridal services, nailcare and haircare. Unique experience that focus on results and relaxation in our spa treatments. We just launched the Healthiest Skin Treatment which is a supercharge anti-aging facial using Hydra-Dermabrasion, LED therapy, Oxygen Therapy and Ultrasound Technology.

We are known for our Athletic focus with our massages, we have designed a series of massage that focuses on the kinetic movement of the athlete incorporating stretches, trigger point release, kinesiology taping and hands-on massage. We are working with local teams and are seeing great recovery rates and lower injuries rates.

We are most proud that our staff has been with the team for many years with low employee turn-over.

Innovative services and our ability to customize our services per client sets us apart from others.

International Massage and Spa Academy – Vocational school with certification programs for 6 month Massage Therapy Program and 3 month Nail Program. Proud of our 100% national exam passage rate compared to the national average of 76%!

We are the lowest cost provider of massage therapy program with the highest passage rate with one of the shortest time periods to complete the program. We just need to get our name out there!!!!!

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would have spent less money on equipment and more time on local business to business relationships. I would have negotiated harder in contract agreements.

I would have paused and truly embraced what a strong business that I created – providing hundreds of jobs and providing wellness to thousands.


  • Massage Therapy Program 6 months $6,999
  • Nail Technology Program 3 months $2,999

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in

  • Chicago’s Most Inspiring Stories

    Every neighborhood in Chicago has its own vibe, style, culture and history, but what consistently amazes us is not what differentiates...

    voyagechicago staffJanuary 16, 2018
  • Fun Things to do in Chicago

    The editorial team shares some of the most noteworthy events in Chicago over the next few weeks. Check them out below...

    voyagechicago staffJanuary 10, 2018
  • The Thought-Provokers: Celebrating Chicago Art

    The freedom of artistic expression is one of the most important hallmarks of a free society, but that freedom would be...

    voyagechicago staffDecember 9, 2017
  • Portraits of Love

    Love is the most powerful force in the world. It uplifts, inspires, gives strength, spreads happiness and keeps us going. There...

    voyagechicago staffDecember 8, 2017
  • Namaste Chicago: Inspiration from Local Yogis

    Sometimes it feels like the whole world is on fire – stress and tensions are on the rise and elevated stress...

    voyagechicago staffDecember 7, 2017
  • Our Favorite #MadeInChicago Finds

    Through our research process for our Inspiring Stories series, our team comes across so many incredible local creations everyday – from...

    voyagechicago staffDecember 5, 2017
  • Suggested For You

    Dave Mason, one of the founders of the Cusp Conference, shares his unique perspective with us below. I have seen the...

    Dave MasonSeptember 1, 2017
  • Local Ramen to Warm Your Soul

    There is nary a soul that seeks not the warmth of ramen in the windy winters.  However, some ramen is so...

    voyagechicago staffJuly 8, 2017
  • The Best Latte Art in Chicagoland

    One hallmark of a truly advanced society is the ease with which one can find latte art. Friends, we have much...

    voyagechicago staffJune 29, 2017