Latest participant to sign up for the World Championship in Massage 2021 in Copenhagen is Sarah Hazelwood from the USA. IMA has asked her to tell about herself:
Thank you for creating a space for professionals in our field to come together, challenge one another, learn, grow and network. I couldn’t be more thrilled to participate in this competition.
My interest in massage therapy began as a child after a horrible auto accident. After eight months of neck pain, headaches, and a discouraged twelve-year-old brain, I was astonished that massage and physical therapy helped me to achieve full recovery. This event triggered a passion in me, to provide relief and facilitate healing and hope in others who were suffering.
I massaged my family, friends, and teachers throughout my life. I married my best friend in 1997, lived in Germany for five years. We were stationed in Texas in 2002 where I attended my first massage school at The Smith Institute. The school is no longer open, but if I could find the owner, I would thank her. She told me I would never be a deep tissue therapist, that I wasn’t built for it. While that may sound discouraging, it was quite the opposite. A fire ignited inside of me and I sought to become an expert in deep tissue techniques. I graduated, and with the support of my husband and family, I opened my own spa, Sarahndipity Day Spa. I took deep tissue, Neuromuscular, hot stone, and facial massage classes there. Five years later, I sold my business and moved to Washington state, just south of Seattle. There I completed further education with the Alexandar School of Natural Therapeutics and began working as an accident, injury, rehabilitation therapist. During one of my husband’s deployments to Iraq, I went to California where I spent one year working with Dr. Jay Gehl studying for my NCBTMB exam and learning Active Release Therapy. Our next duty station was in Oahu, Hawaii where I studied Lomi Lomi massage under my Kumu, Kamailie Puaoi. She was an apprentice to Maka Ala Yates and taught us Auntie Margret’s Lomi Lomi. I was fortunate enough to also learn from local teachers such as Uncle Wesley Sen, Chuck Booth, and Michelle Shue. I studied Thai massage in Hawaii and became one of the Lead Therapists for Disney’s Laniwai Spa at Aulani Resort in 2011. I was responsible for writing protocols, creating new treatments, training the therapists, and preserving the authentic healing art of Lomi Lomi amongst our team. The experience of working there with the mana of those practitioners was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. In 2014, I transferred to Senses at Walt Disney World in Florida where I became a member of a focus group and assisted in revising protocols. Under Maureen Thacker, I learned to work with Bamboo. I also received training from Aromatherapy Associates on authentic aromatherapy massage. In effort to work in an environment where I could practice Thai, Lomi Lomi, and advanced therapeutic massage, I accepted a position with the Orlando Grande Lakes Ritz-Carlton Spa in 2015. The Ritz-Carlton has elevated my standards, endurance, and knowledge through their incredible support and resources. These last few years I trained in Ashiatsu and Temple Lomi (Esteban Gonzales), Reiki, Tuning Forks (Vicky Karr), and also went through the masters of massage training by ESPA.
My Style is a comprehensive flow of my years of experience and every session is uniquely tailored to each client. I like to incorporate Lomi Lomi, Neuromuscular, and Thai into a fusion massage. I use leverage and body mechanics to achieve an impactful desired result. The world competition is a beautiful platform for me to challenge myself and improve my techniques. Signing up to attend has already elevated my focus, and purpose. It is such an honor to have this opportunity and I am ecstatic to witness the art and talent of the other competitors. I feel inspired and excited because this experience will be one of tremendous growth.
The International Massage Association and our sponsor Lemi look forward watching Sarah Hazelwoods skills next year in June in Copenhagen at the World Championship in Massage.