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A peek inside the first ever National Massage Championships

A peek inside the first ever National Massage Championships

Photo credit: National Massage Championship

At the end of September last year, massage therapists gathered excitedly under the vast glass panes of the Olympia exhibition centre in West London to test their skills in the first National Massage Championships.

With 6 distinct categories, the competitors had an hour to impress the judges with their treatment techniques in the following styles of massage.

  • Swedish / Deep Tissue Massage

  • Eastern Massage

  • Chair Massage

  • Freestyle Massage

  • Spa / Wellness Massage

  • Advanced Massage

Massage therapists compete with different styles at the National Massage Championships

Photo credit: National Massage Championship

Set up for massage therapists, by massage therapists, The National Massage Championships were designed to inspire therapists to learn new techniques and to have a deep sense of pride in their work, in an industry which can often be overlooked and it was this shared ethos that made the team here at Massage Warehouse want to provide our tables to sponsor the event.

Massage therapist competing in the National Massage Championships

Photo credit: National Massage Championship 

The judges were a panel of carefully selected experts, from an international pool of candidates.

  • Pauline Baxter - the director and owner of the Academy of On-Site Massage.

  • Sunita Passi- the founder of Tri-Dosha, an Ayurvedic training centre.

  • Ruth Duncan -2014 winner of the Camexpo Outstanding Achievement Award and author of ‘A Hands-on Guide to Myofascial Release’.

  • Jeppe Tengbjerg -CEO of the International Massage Association and host of the World Championships in Massage in Denmark.

  • Susan Findlay - a specialist in Oncology Massage and author of Sports Massage for Therapists’.

  • Earle Abrahamson - the chair of the Massage Training Institute, Vice-Chair of the General Council for Sports Tissue Therapistsand member of the board for soft tissue therapy at the Complementary and Natural Health Care Council.

  • Lynn Vereenooghe - the founder of The Middlesex School of Complementary Medicine.

  • Meghan Mari - the Co-Director and Founder of Jing Advanced Massage Training.

  • Mary Dalgleish - the current Vice President of the Federation of Holistic Therapists (FHT)

So how did it go on the day…

Whilst nerves were definitely high throughout the day, all the competitors we spoke to really enjoyed the chance to come out of their treatment room and test themselves. 

Check out our highlights video from last years' event to hear from the competitors and the judges.

Many therapists commented that as an industry we are so often working alone with little chance to check in with colleagues and that over time this can leave therapists feeling isolated and unsure of their skills. Everyone agreed that events like the National Massage Championships are an amazing opportunity to check in, learn something new and network with other massage therapists. 

There was a great turnout with massage therapists experienced in a wide range of styles, eagerly watching each round to pick up new techniques and see how others operate! As the day went on, it was clear all the competitors had felt a boost in their confidence and there was lots of positive energy and support for one another. 

Members of the public also added to the buzz as they gathered around, smartphones in hand, intrigued by the competition and impressed by the standards they saw. By the last round of the competition, the finalists were greeted with paparazzi levels of attention whilst they posed for group shots, celebrating their hard work and success with big smiles!  

Award handed to the Winner of the National Massage Championships Mário De Sousa

Photo credit: National Massage Championship

This perhaps was the competitions greatest success. Day to day we are all struggling to prove to the public that massage is not a one-off luxury but a fundamental practice to take care of the body. The professionalism and passion of the competitors shone through and the therapeutic benefits of the treatments on display were clear for all to see.

By allowing our industry to take centre stage whilst crowds of the public visited the latest crazes in the beauty industry at Olympia Beauty, the National Massage Championships worked to dispels the myths around massage and prove what a talented and hardworking bunch we are! 

How can you compete next year?

Next year the competition will be held on the 28th and 29th of September. Each round costs £109 to enter with the exception of chair massage which can be entered at a reduced rate of £69. If you enter into two rounds there is a reduced rate of £149 (or £109 if entering the chair massage competition) and at the moment if you register before the 22nd of April you can take advantage of a 20% discount. All entrants receive a certificate and goody bag of gifts worth £75. In addition to the admiration and good publicity for your massage therapy business winners receive a trophy and exclusive prizes from leading massage therapy brands.

All qualified therapists are welcome and even newly qualified therapists can surprise themselves and take home one of the top prizes, just like Tamer Morsey last year! 

 Testimonial from Tamer Morsy about the experience of competing in the National Massage Championships

Photo credit: National Massage Championship


We would love to hear your thoughts on what events like the National Massage Championships bring to our industry and please let us know in the comments below if you are planning to sign up for next year's competition!  

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