It might come as a shock to most U.S. therapeutic massage therapists that there’s a thriving aggressive therapeutic massage scene occurring in Europe proper now.
Along with dozens of nationwide championships, there are a number of large-scale worldwide occasions, together with the World Championship in Therapeutic massage, which is happening June 22-23, 2019 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Opponents from across the globe—for
2019, opponents from France, Peru, Thailand, Serbia, the UK,
Italy, Sweden, Mexico, Canada, Singapore, Germany and the U.S., amongst different
international locations, are already signed up—converge to community, be taught from one another,
and current efficient and progressive contact in entrance of judges and attendees.
Journal caught up with Jeppe Tengbjerg, the World
Championship’s founder and organizer; Joe Lavin, a decide finally yr’s occasion;
and three American therapeutic massage therapists, Tracey Windmill, Travis Knuth and Chaz
Armstrong, who received medals in 2018, to seek out out what it takes to compete in
therapeutic massage on the world stage.
An Rising Pattern
The World Championship in Therapeutic massage sprang
from the thoughts of Tengbjerg, a former skilled soccer participant who began
his personal therapeutic massage college. In line with Tengbjerg, the concept got here from a
brainstorming session about the way to collect the very best therapeutic massage therapists within the
world and examine types.
“I needed to make a grasp class of the
world’s greatest MTs,” Tengbjerg mentioned. “I assumed to myself, ‘perhaps you possibly can put
them in the identical room and have them train one another.’ Then I had the concept of
making it a championship.”
Tengbjerg’s group, the Worldwide Therapeutic massage
Affiliation, held its first nationwide championship in 2016. Tengbjerg and
his group expanded the occasion in 2017, naming it the World Championship in
Therapeutic massage, and opened its doorways to therapists from everywhere in the world.
Whereas the notion of inserting an exercise
related to rest right into a aggressive panorama could strike many
Individuals as counterintuitive, Europeans have been doing it to nice fanfare.
In line with Tracey Windmill, who medaled in 2018, “In Europe it’s big. The therapists that win over there get handled like celebrities.”
Tracey Windmill (foreground), one of many therapeutic massage therapists from around the globe who’ve competed on the World Championship in Therapeutic massage. (Photograph courtesy of Tracey Windmill)
America Brings One thing New
To date, the participation of American therapeutic massage
therapists within the World Championship has been pretty small. In 2018 there have been
fewer than 10 Individuals out of about 130 individuals.
Regardless of their small quantity, Individuals have
made an impression. Tengbjerg mentioned. “The Individuals are doing one thing that we do
not do in Europe,” he mentioned. “They’re bringing one thing new over.”
Apparently the judges agree, as roughly
half of the Individuals current on the 2018 occasion medaled of their classes.
Windmill received silver within the Freestyle class; Chaz Armstrong received silver in
Chair Therapeutic massage. Jonathan Grassi received bronze for Freestyle; and Travis Knuth took
residence the gold in Freestyle.
“I do know it is a lengthy journey for
Individuals,” Tengbjerg provides, “nevertheless it’s essential that they arrive over.”
Armstrong, who traveled to the occasion
alone, mentioned he felt very welcome in Copenhagen.
“Most people there perceive
English,” he mentioned. “The cool factor about this competitors is that irrespective of
what language you communicate, there’s just one language of contact and should you’ve bought
that contact, they’re going to see it.”
What to Count on
Flying internationally to compete in
entrance of strangers could be intimidating. However those that have made the leap have
discovered the expertise rewarding. In line with Joe Lavin, who served as a head
decide in 2018: “I bought to see some issues that I’ve by no means seen earlier than and I bought
to fulfill a ton of individuals from all around the globe.”
Relating to what a brand new participant can
count on, Windmill mentioned, “If you arrive you’re chosen to be in teams of
three. One is the giver, one is the receiver and one is the witness watching.
The receiver is a part of the judging standards, as a result of the judges examine with
them and get their suggestions.
There are 5 fundamental classes: Swedish,
Wellness, Chair and Freestyle Western-inspired and Jap-inspired.
Judges are wanting on the approach the therapist is
mechanics, movement, innovation and interactaction with the consumer.
“On the second day of the competitors they
select eight individuals to then go on,” Windmill mentioned. “Everyone seems to be a
contender for a medal,gold, silver, or bronze,for his or her classes, after which
there’s a gold, silver and bronze for total.”
Whoever is a contender for the gold in
their class finally ends up getting into entrance of all of the individuals. And there you
have an hour to present your therapeutic massage whereas 130 individuals watch you. Every of the
viewers has some extent, or a vote, to present to one of many eight finalists.
“And there are additionally judges at this spherical,” Windmill mentioned. “When you’re a finalist you’re massaging a decide.”
2018 World Championship in Therapeutic massage silver medalist Chaz Armstrong. (Photograph courtesy of Chaz Armstrong)
Right here Comes the Decide
Relating to the judging course of, head decide
Lavin has an attention-grabbing perspective. “Therapeutic massage therapists are artists as a lot
as we’re therapists. Our work may be very private, so judging is a heavy
duty. It was lots of intestine checks alongside the best way. You’ve bought the
standards, the factors is good, nevertheless it’s nonetheless subjective.”
“We might discuss after each spherical, and
folks would love this particular person and they’d need to give this particular person so many
factors, however then any person else with an entire completely different background who has a
entire completely different concept of what ergonomics is would suppose in another way,” he mentioned.
As to how variations between the judges
are hashed out, he mentioned, “You will have your standards however you even have a gaggle of
professionals who need to get collectively and work collectively and pay attention to every
different and give you a consensus.”
Lavin has a measured perspective on the
significance of getting a medal. “All of the medal says is that on this specific
day, this specific therapist’s efficiency was the third greatest out of a 100.
It doesn’t inform you who’s good or dangerous.
“Nevertheless it does inform you the way you seem to
folks, how they see your work, and that’s precious,” he added. “You may look
at it as critique, however I wouldn’t base my internet price on what does or
A Grasp Class of Strategies
It’s secure to say that Tengbjerg’s preliminary
master-class concept has been absolutely realized.
A giant a part of the competitors is getting
the chance to see strategies which are fashionable in one other tradition that we
within the U.S. don’t do, can’t do, or it’s important to have a special license to do,
mentioned gold medalist Knuth. “I used to be undoubtedly in a position to decide up a number of issues right here
and there from watching folks which are simply nice instruments to have and maintain on
Tengbjerg may be very pleased with this specific
side of the occasion. “You see strategies you’ve gotten by no means dreamed about. We had a
girl from Mongolia do Mongolian milk therapeutic massage. Travis Knuth performs acrobatic
yoga therapeutic massage,” he mentioned. “I had by no means seen this earlier than.”
Concerning the grasp class
of strategies side, Windmill mentioned, “It’s not like there’s an official
class, however you’re there and also you’re observing one another. You’re watching
everybody give one another massages and there’s lots of completely different types.
“I obtained a therapeutic massage from a New Zealand girl who used rolling pins,” Windmill added.”And boy did she know what she was doing.”
World Championship in Therapeutic massage founder Jeppe Tengbjerg stands in entrance of the panel of judges and attendees on the 2018 occasion. (Photograph courtesy of Joe Lavin)
United by Therapeutic massage
One of many byproducts of the World Championship
in Therapeutic massage is the neighborhood that it kinds. As Tengbjerg mentioned, “The individuals
make contact with one another after which they keep in contact and go to one another
in one another’s international locations. I can see folks talk from the U.S. and Asia
and so forth.”
Knuth added, “For me networking
is likely one of the largest attracts. It’s simply very nice to fulfill folks from round
the world who do the identical factor you do and who share the identical ardour. After which
you’ve gotten contacts from everywhere in the world.”
Tengbjerg mentioned the occasion kinds sturdy
bonds between folks. “There’s lots of love within the air. These are probably the most
passionate therapists on the earth, coming to Copenhagen for 2 days. And when
they meet, they hug one another. It’s a terrific feeling.”
When requested concerning the impact this international
neighborhood of therapeutic massage therapists could in the future have, Lavin doesn’t mince phrases:
“The world of therapeutic massage will change due to this.”
What It Takes to Compete
Although therapeutic massage therapists are normally
very giving folks, that doesn’t imply they don’t wish to win.
For many who need to do nicely within the
competitors, the judges and individuals shared some recommendation.
First, Lavin mentioned, be sure you’re within the
“You’re going to get judged by different
therapeutic massage therapists,” Lavin mentioned. “So should you’re competing in Swedish therapeutic massage,
you’ve bought to do Swedish therapeutic massage. In case you’re going to enter Freestyle, you
need to work on the whole lot you do having rationale, good draping, good
physique mechanics, and it has to make sense for the consumer.”
Lavin recalled that he needed to inform some
competitiors, “’That’s probably the most lovely therapeutic massage I’ve seen in years, however
you’re within the improper division.”’
Knuth mentioned the judges search for whether or not or
not the therapist appears targeted on their shoppers, the best way that they appeared in
their physique actions, and whether or not there’s something that made them stand out
from the competitors
Innovation Takes Heart Stage
Many times, when medalists analyzed
the side of their therapeutic massage that caught the judges’ consideration, the identical phrase
retains developing: Uniqueness.
“If you do your routine, they need
uniqueness,” mentioned Armstrong. “So whenever you’re placing your routine collectively,
suppose to your self, ‘Have the judges seen this earlier than?’ If they’ve, then don’t
Or as Knuth put it, “I created a
uniqueness. I did a kind of therapeutic acrobatics. I’ve the consumer on my
toes, with my toes someplace round their waist or round their again, someplace
the place it’s going to be secure however the place it’s additionally going to create compression in
the physique to work out a few of these knots and issues.
“It’s very completely different and really distinctive in
phrases of issues that it may do,” he added. “I imagine that’s what put me over
Windmill mentioned she does a really three-dimensional
sort of therapeutic massage. “It’s very dancelike,” she mentioned. “I decide the consumer up off the
desk and cradle them, transfer with them.”
What you do in your house therapeutic massage room could also be actually efficient and stress-free, however it might not translate visually,” mentioned Lavin. “Understand that that is as a lot of a efficiency as it’s a remedy session.”
American opponents (L-R) Travis Knuth, Tracey Windmill, Jonathan Grassi stand with decide Joe Lavin on the 2018 World Championship in Therapeutic massage (photograph courtesy of Tracy Windmill)
Proper Body of Thoughts
All in all, the individuals within the World
Championship in Therapeutic massage put an emphasis on having enjoyable. That’s the universally
would say that one of the best ways to arrange is, in a way, to not put together,” mentioned
Knuth. “Simply go to have enjoyable. Go to share the love and keenness you’ve gotten for
therapeutic massage, as a result of the people who find themselves watching will be capable to really feel that even when
they’re not in a position to really feel the precise work that you simply’re giving.”
For Knuth, this knowledge was laborious received. “The
first yr I used to be very critical, I used to be very competition-based,” he mentioned. I made
it to the finals, nevertheless it was very disturbing. I didn’t find yourself medaling in
This yr, he mentioned, he went with the only real
intention of getting a good time, and “having that sort of angle allowed me
to bypass any of the stress that I placed on myself.”
Lavin, who has participated within the occasion
each as a participant and as a decide, sums it up. “My recommendation could be, don’t
fear about profitable or not profitable. Simply come and present the world what you need
to point out the world.”
Register for the World Champtionship in Therapeutic massage 2019 right here.
Concerning the Writer:
Phillip Weber is a
San Diego-based author and co-founder of The English Adept, a
language-learning web site the place he blogs ceaselessly. His information and options
for MASSAGE Journal, together with “How Crossfit Therapeutic massage Grew this Follow from Two to
Seven Workers” and
Therapists Undertake the Meals Truck Pattern.”