About Us

Aoghain Lakes, massage therapistAoghain Lakes – owner practitioner at the Balance Massage, Berkley

Aoghain is a Master  Massage Therapist, specializing in Clinical and Holistic Massage Therapy.

Aoghain Lakes pronounced (A-gone) from Dublin, Ireland first began learning massage in Thailand almost 15 years ago. From this introduction to massage and subtle healing human energies, Aoghain discovered his passion for alternative healing therapies, human anatomy, physiology and the interconnectedness of the mind body and spirit.

Moving to the Metro Detroit area almost six years ago, Aoghain graduated from Irene’s Myomassology Institute in Southfield, MI with a 4.0 GPA. He is currently active in an instructor apprenticeship here.

In 2007, through Upledger Institute, Aoghain was trained in Cranio Sacral therapy and has been successfully practicing this modality with profound results with all his Cranio Sacral clients.

Having taught partner stretching in local yoga studio enabled Aoghain to  fully incorporate his knowledge into a holistic approach that accommodates all body types and sizes in his massage practice. He specializes in Clinical Massage Therapy, Cranio Sacral Therapy, Partner Stretching, Thai massage and Reiki,  bringing it all to the table when he works with a client.

In 2000, Aoghain began to study Reiki in Holland (Europe). Since then, Aoghain has continued to practice massage and energy healing in Ireland, the Mediterranean, Australia and now Michigan. He has been the Reiki Master Teacher at Renaissance Unity in Warren, MI for the past four years where he also taught other classes on spiritual growth and emotional healing.

His profound understanding of the subtle human energies and deep respect for human anatomy allows Aoghain to create and customize a unique and holistic massage treatment every session.

You can listen to regular interviews with Aoghain on Mind Body Spirit blog talk radio and check out his articles each month in the Body Mind Spirit Guide.


Sue Birkam

Sue Birkam is a stress management and well-being specialist, a Licensed and Nationally Board Certified Massage Therapist and bodyworker using massage therapy techniques to assist clients by creating an environment for complete relaxation. In addition to maintaining a 4.0 during her entire massage therapy training, which included eastern and western practices, Sue is a 12 year practicing Certified Life Coach, Certified Herbal Extract Specialist trained by a naturopathic doctor, Reiki Master and Emotional Freedom Practitioner (tapping).

Sue Birkam has been with The Balance since before its opening in June 2011 having been an integral part of its inception, processes, business model and communications as well as operating a Life Coaching practice from the office. Prior to coming into the fold, Sue was a solo-life coach practitioner in Shelby Twp., MI for 7 years receiving her training from Coach University Inc., a worldwide coach training institution. Prior to becoming a coach Sue worked in the corporate world in management positions for a large media group.

Sue has learned through working with her coaching clients that stress has been at the root of their physical and emotional challenges. “Everyone experiences stress at some point but when stress is chronic and begins to manifest as physical pain and disease, that’s when people seek coaching, massage and tools such as EFT to manage the stress, shift perspective, learn how to breathe and take steps to make necessary changes,” states Sue Birkam. It was the feedback and observation from her clients that inspired Sue to become educated and licensed in massage therapy enabling her to offer a scope of healing services that included body, mind and spirt.

While massage is one of the best ways to affect change quickly, increase circulation and alleviate stiff muscles, calm and soothe the nervous system and certainly Sue offers that with massage sessions. Over time making the changes necessary to achieve a more balanced life is the key in sustainable solutions for chronic stress and tension. Sue offers single therapeutic or clinical massage sessions as well as stress reduction and management packages that can include coaching, EFT, Reiki, breath work and herbal solutions for well-being and health.