World Championship Massage 2024

Next Championship June 28 – June 30 2024 in Copenhagen


Sarah Hazelwood, USA

Latest massage therapist to sign up for the World Championship in Massage 2022 in Copenhagen is Sarah Hazelwood from the USA. She is one of the Pioneers who participated online at the World Championship in Massage 2021. IMA has asked her to tell about herself:

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 and felt pretty certain that this would always be a part of my life. I married my best friend, a soldier, in 1997and we were stationed in Germany for five years. By the time we left there I was ready to begin my career. While in Texas in 2002, I attended 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 in 2003, and with the support of my husband and family, I opened my own spa, Sarahndipity Day Spa. I learned Neuromuscular, hot stone, facial massage, and facilitated training for the other therapists at my spa. 

 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 elevated my standards, endurance, and knowledge through their incredible support and resources. I trained in Ashiatsu and Temple Lomi (Esteban Gonzales), Reiki, Tuning Forks (Vicky Karr), and completed the masters of massage training by ESPA. I accepted the role of Learning Coach with the Ritz Carlton hotel in Orlando Grande Lakes where I was also in charge of creating new treatments and experiences. 

After six years, I decided to step away from my position to focus on my private practice. I have been working as a mobile therapist for my private clientele since May 2021. RAPID is the latest modality I have added to my therapeutic toolbox. RAPID is a neuro-facial release that uses active assistive release of the neurological attachments and resets pain receptors by releasing the periosteum of the bones and moving the c fibers of the nerve endings.

My objective in the Wellness Massage event of this competition will be to incorporate soothing rhythmic modalities that will bridge the transitions to specific targeted unwinding of the adhesions, while also addressing the neurological system. My technique 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, RAPID, and Thai massage to treat the body, mind, and spirit in unison. The world competition is a beautiful platform for me to challenge myself and improve my techniques. By competing last year, I have been able to observe and fine tune my body mechanics, elevate my focus, and broaden my exposure to techniques from around the globe. It is such an honor to have this opportunity and I am ecstatic to witness the art and talent of my fellow competitors.


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 2022.

Sarah Hazelwood at the Hybrid World Championship in Massage 2021