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On this episode of The Truth about Massage Therapy Podcast, Krzys interview Una Tucker
BHP018 – My experience at World Massage Championship.
Una Tucker is both the founder of and product designer for Kneads Must, an award-winning London-based company that’s on a mission to make massage easy for everyone. Una is a professional massage therapist who couldn’t find any suitable massage tools to recommend to her clients for private use in-between treatments, so she designed her own! The company has been selling Kneaders to regular massage enthusiasts and massage professionals since 2011 in the UK, Europe and now the US.
Kneads Must is passionate about the positive effects of massage on the body and mind and wants to use the Kneader to show everyone how pleasurable and easy massage can be. The company launched ‘Kneader Massage’ in 2015, which is an onsite massage company that specialises in chair and table treatments using the Kneader. Demand for the massage service has grown steadily and Una runs training courses in Kneader Chair Massage for Level 3 massage therapists, so the Kneader can be used by therapists to protect themselves from injury whilst providing new and effective treatments to the general public.
“The harder I work, the luckier I get”
“Love conquers all”
“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars”.
Tag a Guest Game:
Gavin Ricketts of Napoleon Creative
Links mentioned in this episode:
KRZYS: So welcome Una, and thank you for joining me here at Busy Hive Podcast.
UNA: Thank you Krzys.
KRZYS: So, here at Busy Hive we like to start every show with our guest favourite quote, and it’s kind of our way to get everybody motivated and excited for the rest of the show and to find out a bit more about you. So, can you tell us what is your favourite quote, and why?
UNA: Well, I have actually three, if that’s okay?
KRZYS: That’s okay.
UNA: And I think they represent different things, but they’re all very connected. I think the first one is the easiest one, and this has been attributed to many people right, but I love it, it’s “The harder I work, the luckier I get”, and when I read it and years ago it was attributed to Frank Sinatra, but really you know there’s loads of artists and writers and stuff so nobody really knows where it comes from. But it’s a great quote, because it’s all about making things happen, and the second one that I love and this is just the Irish Catholic coming out me, it’s in Latin, and it’s a more of ancient Omnia, right, and it means “Love conquers all” and I think that…
KRZYS: Big one?
UNA: Yeah! Absolutely and it’s not just about you know like you know chocolates and flowers loves, it’s about being passionate, about what you do, and because if you don’t love it you’re not going to do it as much, and I think that’s really important and going back to the Irish. I’m going to quote Oscar Wildes now, from our ladies, Lady Windermere’s fan, and it’s, “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars”.
KRZYS: Now that’s a great one. (Yeah).
UNA: (Yeah). And you know, there is a theme there, it’s about you know having the dream but the ability to make it happen.
KRZYS: Well, I can put it all together, so the first one is just hard work, another one is be passionate, and the third is….
UNA: Well because the thing is you can be passionate about a lot of things, right? But unless you actually put the work in, you know nothing comes from nothing, you know so unless you put the work in it’s not going to be there, and you’re not going to put the work unless you really love it. So that’s where they all sort of fit into each other, and you know I mean being a massage therapist it’s a great job. We’re not going to be millionaires out of it, but we do it because we love it, and we work hard because we love it, you know and we do have to put a lot into it, so I thought that was, I thought that was very sort of appropriate for the, for the interview and the subject matter as well.
KRZYS: That’s three really good ones, so thank you for sharing that.
UNA: My pleasure.
KRZYS: So here, so here at Busy Hive we really focus on the beginning of the journey, so can you tell us how did you get started? And, how did you get to the point where are you today?
UNA: Oh God! So much to say, so little time. You really should interview younger people, because I’ve got a lot of years on me. I just, I always, I always massaged, even as a kid, my mother worked in the restaurant industry and she was tired when she came home, and the fact my mother worked at all was very unusual at that time. And it was something that I did for friends and family the whole of my life, I didn’t, it was very organic, it was very natural for me to do. My family never discourage me because they were getting free massages (laughter), so why would they? And then when I became an adult it actually didn’t even dawn on me that you could go to massage school. It was a chance encounter with someone at my night job who she was going to go and sign up for a massage course, we happened to be standing next to each other talking, and I said, “Oh God! That sounds really interesting”, and she said, “Why don’t you come along?”, and that was back in two thousand and two (2002), and I qualified in two thousand and three (2003), and I never really stopped. You know I went from Holistic massage to Aroma therapy, Reflexology, Indian head massage, and in the very first year of qualifying for the Swedish massage and Holistic table massage. I developed the Kneader, because one of the things I found in my case studies, we all have to do case studies, it really impressed upon me how regular massage changed things, because….
UNA: You know I think it was you have to do five (5) people four (4) times, or four (4) people five (5) times, for your case studies, and you know the first massage they were a wreck, and they were like you know their muscles were like stone, and it was really hard work for me and for them, but by the last massage they were like wet noodles.They were like aww you really got in there deep I love it, this is great, and I just thought you know if they could…
UNA: Massage at home, because you know even my best clients you know cause when I first started working as a professional I worked at home, they could only cut, they only had the time or the money to come to me once every four to six weeks, and by the time they came back to me their lifestyle, the stress, the sitting you know everything, it had undone everything, it undone all the good work. And I actually then in two thousand three (2003) two thousand and two (2002), or maybe two thousand three (2003) I can’t remember. They went, I went shopping to sort of, I wanted something that they could use at home in between their sessions, that would continue to work, and I was just pretty appalled at the lack of really good products, and I what I saw I wouldn’t buy as a consumer and I wouldn’t recommend as a therapist. So, I just had a eureka moment when I was at home in Dublin visiting a friend and I went back, and I designed the Kneader, and it was very lucky for me that my night job I worked for a big firm of solicitors, and they had an intellectual property division I could look to see was there anything out there. We IP the product and you know it was very organic, but one thing led to another like my association with the firm, somebody knew a business manager he can’t, he got me to into an accountant, and you know it all sort of started rolling. Back then we didn’t have 3D printing, so I had to make the first ones in clay and then go to carpenters who made it wood. I spent about a year, about nearly two years with the Royal Academy of Art getting prototypes in their division. And then I pretty much sort of really couldn’t find a manufacturer, and that was a real problem. So I then had to look around, and the crash happened, and that was a huge problem, because everybody suffered people stopped having massages, so it was really hard to get in and do anything and it was only really I got manufactured in two thousand and eleven (2011). And all that time I spent so much time working on my business that the Kneader business getting the Kneader manufactured. This tool that I stopped massaging because I was putting all my efforts into that, and I sort of got I got manufactured in two thousand and eleven (2011) we started selling it on Amazon UK and it really started doing well. And then I thought I want to go back to massaging you know and. When I before I got, I got manufactured I trialed the tool with professionals right, and because I thought oh I’m going to have use it as used by professionals. That’s what the tag I wanted, and obviously, the professional said to me, oh my God we want this tool, it really helps our hands it’s so easy to use. And one of the cellar professionals that really use the tools very very creatively were sports massage therapist, so you know that those two and chair massage therapist, they liked it as well because it goes very well over clothes. So, when I went when I wanted to go back to massage I thought I’m going to go back to chair massage and I’d qualified in Acupressure and chair massage. And then I created a routine with the Kneader and I started massaging again properly as a therapist in two thousand and fourteen (2014), and it’s just it was like nearly sole solely chair massage, and I’ve been doing that ever since, and I’ve come back from the championships with ideas that we’ll talk about and I’ve now I’m now taking a sports massage course, because I want to know what those sports massage therapists do with my tool (Laughter). So I can do it too.
KRZYS: (Laughter). Brilliant! But the same you can exactly develop some sort of technique of while using for the sports massage therapy, and addressing the deeper levels of tissues.
UNA: Absolutely! Absolutely!
KRZYS: Can you share with us to one of the challenges as a new therapist, so you find out from a friend you know when to you know do a massage course when you qualify…
UNA: When you qualified (yeah).
KRZYS: What happened? You know can you tell us one of the challenges for you was the biggest one?
UNA: I think that. I think that the real challenge is that once you have that qualification. What do you do with it, how do you get out there, and I think that’s just as relevant you know I mean this is like a whole other conversation, a whole other podcast, is you know what to do, because when I qualified in two thousand and three (2003) spas were doing it, and, and I think that the whole the whole industry has changed in the sort of seventy’s sixty’s and seventy’s very few people got massage was a very elite thing to do right, you had to be rich, you had to be connected. In the eighty’s, in particular, you know the whole work hard, play hard lots of extra cash was running around. and that was the rise of spas you know, all of a sudden spas. It you know getting a spa treatment wasn’t a once in a year thing people started doing it regularly, because they had more cash and they were working all the time and they needed that sort of release and you know etcetera, etcetera, and spas then got very clever, and then they started aligning it with like, all day spas and gyms and all these sporting activities, so people kept on coming back. And that in itself opened up a huge market for, for therapists, and it’s much easier I think now to go and get a job, but I think there is a return now for people beginning to work for themselves, because spas can be quite demanding and this where a lot of injury happens, because of the repetition and just the sheer workload you know, because you know the A.M.T. the American Massage Therapy Association you know. Traditionally most massage therapists were part time, you know and that they supplemented their income, and that’s still the case really you know according to their figures, but now you have younger people coming into it not as a second career that you know unlike the traditional massage therapist when I say traditional I mean according to these figures. The majority of them are women and they come in as a second career usually the median age is forty-five you know that was two thousand and fifteen (2015) figures sixteen (16) figures, but it is changing and younger people are coming in, and they’re working eight hours a day in spas you know and burning themselves out…
UNA: And, you know there was I think it was a two thousand and fourteen (2014), or fifteen (15) figure that the American Massage Therapy Association said the average career was to train for five and seven years of a therapist. Which was a bit shocking really if (Inaudible 11:59-12:14) lean to people going but (Inaudible 12:15-12:17) Hello? (Inaudible 12:17-12:22). Okay, where was, where was the last sentence that we (Inaudible 12:25-12:29) Okay, five to seven years and you know that was a bit shocking and I think that the therapists that are coming out of school now are younger they’re much more clued in. They want a long term career, so they’re going back to working for themselves you know, and I think it’s gone full circle when I came in you work for yourself then it was like spas and you know big clinics, and now you’re going back to working for yourself or a smaller clinic, and when you work for yourself the marketing thing. Marketing is a dark art, it really is, and now that you have social media as well you really it’s a business within itself, so that’s the biggest challenge. How to get out there in what is a sat, you know our market has grown so much as nearly saturated you know. You have to find your niche in a very difficult big demanding market, and marketing learning to market yourself and it’s not about paying thousands to a company it’s about learning to use social media in a clever way. I myself you know I did mention earlier in a private conversation with you, I’ve been getting master classes on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram, because you have to you know, otherwise you’re not going to you not to be seen.
KRZYS: And those, you know there’s lots of classes online there is YouTube all over you know there is people making those videos, it’s something you know it’s happening for a while now and people made some videos about it so we can learn from it, use this experience, and definitely I got, I’m going to point out still too, because when we come out from the massage school we are just want to treat everything and everyone (laughter).We are like superheroes with (Inaudible 14:25) we have super power and we just want to treat everyone. Which is great and is very just you know find what you like, find what, and you for experience because there is two couple of years for me exactly to discover. You know when I started what I want to do, and then you find out different therapies and you do want to do this, and you want to do this, and the Indian took me couple of years to actually find what I actually enjoy when I’m good at it (hmm), and it is not completely such change from something what I started in the beginning, however finding your niche gets you much quicker much better.
UNA: Absolutely! But, it’s, it’s also a trial and error you know, because you know let to try something you don’t know if you’re good at it or if you like it, and every you know massage therapist the comes out you’re absolutely right there shiny and new, and they’re you know gagging to make that career, and have those you know clients, and then they get hit with well how do I do that you know, and you know I mean gone are the days that you do flyers I mean there is a place for flyers and cards, but it’s basically online now you know I mean that’s where you’re really going to find and it’s quite interesting, because you know again you get the smaller clinics you get the collective you know wellness clinics as well there’s lots of exciting things that are opening out. And there’s also like things like; I have a clinic in a Nuffield gym, and Nuffield as you know there it’s, it’s a spa but not a spa you know because they’re not going to force you to use products, and you know give you you know one person after another they’re going to work within your remit, because it’s all about wellness, so you know it is a brave and exciting times, but it’s also you know nearly overload it’s so vast the market now you know, you really do have to find like you said that niche, but it’s all it’s all a you know and holistic and organic journey and you can only just walk it one step at a time.
KRZYS: Yes, and have you know, have a patient have a time everything will comes just you know (yeah) just take everything takes time.
UNA: And, if you love it you will keep at it, and…
KRZYS: If you have a passion, and if you have a love, and you have you know we work hard you know it’s going to happen. It’s exactly it’s like a journey, so it’s not a destination. UNA: Exactly! What is it life, is it no happiness is a journey, not a destination.
KRZYS: That’s the one. Yes. (Yeah)
UNA: There we go.
KRZYS: Yes. Exactly!
UNA: Catch you in a quote too, oh look I’m quoting myself out now.
KRZYS: We gonna add this one too as well.
UNA: Okay, fair enough.
KRZYS: So Una, let’s let’s move on to the big part of the interview. What we chatting to the topic of the conversation where you relate to our guest. And I’m really excited for you because well the topic is the Worlds Championship Massage and you are, you got the silver, silver medal in this competition. So, where is the medal, my dear? Why is it not on your neck?
UNA: (Laughter). It’s over there; it’s over there (yeah).
UNA: And the thing is funny enough I’ve just printed out the, they sent all the winners this certificate that says you know medal winner, and I just print it out, and I’m going to get it framed, and I’m going to put the medal on top of it, so don’t worry there’s great plans for that medal.
KRZYS: So, can you tell us how did you find out about World Championship in Massage?
UNA: Okay, no probs. Well, it was really through Carl Newberry of Massage World Magazine. He is a fantastic therapist and you know I’ve known him for years, and he just sort of said to me he’s been always a very big friend of the Kneader, he loves it, and he said, you know Una there is this world championship, because he was asked to go and be a judge, and he said I’m going to be involved in this he had worked with Jeppe Tengbjerg is the guy who actually runs The World Massage Championships, and he said I work with the Jeppe before he starting this up he said, “You really should bring the Kneader and take part, because it’s going to be something really special”, and he did a link because he was involved with it, he did a link and he did some stuff, and I just I was the first person in the U.K. to sign up for it. And I just happened to click on the link the day it went it live and I’m like okay I’m doing this, and I did it and Carl featured the fact that I was the first one to do it and that’s really how it was. I would never have known about it, because I just you know it’s really hard like what you know I’ve actually tried to do competitions and stuff before and when you Google it, it’s really hard to come up with stuff that you can take part in, so here was something that I knew was happening and I just went for it.
KRZYS: So what was in your head when you just sign up for this like? What you going to bring there?
UNA: Well, I think that’s pretty obvious it was I was going to bring the Kneader, and it was all about being in this arena with loads of different therapists, and because I had created as I said earlier, I created this chair routine this new onsite massage routine with the Kneader that’s what I was going to go and do. I was going to do this chair routine and show them some different moves and how to use the tool effectively as an onsite massage.
KRZYS: So, what preparation did you do before the championships? Have you had like training like Rocky?
UNA: (Laughter) No. No ring up steps for me, a good laugh though. I think what I did was because I do ninety-eight point nine percent (98.9%) of my massage clients are corporate clients right, and I’m in the clinic I can you know I can be indulgent and you know I sort of do a routine and I’d vary it. I really concentrated on setting the routine, which was good because then I realized how much my routine had evolved from when I first did it to now, and I you know I noticed the changes to that was really helpful, because all of a sudden I realized oh my God, you know this really has come on and these are better moves and it was a good exercise to reflect on where I was at that point, and where I come from. And then I just you know you do silly things like you know I went out and I got a proper uniform, I got some you know sort of some nice shirts done an embroidered with you know Kneader massage on them and I got a nice little colour scheme going on, and then you know and then I mean you know it was a buildup. Because you know you have to obviously I was going to Denmark is to go to Copenhagen, because that’s where it was taking place and it was the beginning of June and you know you it’s all the details of flying and accommodation and getting there. And then you there all of a sudden, but it was really just I had to keep it within thirty minutes, and again I was very indulgent on my own clinics. So I, it forced me to tidy up the routine and my approach to it, so that was a very good thing.
KRZYS: I think is always I think things like that suddenly some things happen and there are around our business and massage worth things. That kind of gives us exactly idea to kind of step back and look at things again.
UNA: Hmm (yeah) and it was good because I was I began to look at the routine and what I was doing like a judge, and I thought okay right, it has to be on time it has to be you know symmetrical it has to be you know full on and organized. Not that I wasn’t I mean you know because I do a lot of times I go into companies and I have and I have to do thirty minute routines and I’ll be booked out all day, but I did vary it a lot you know, and I just had to sort of do it’s like taking a driving test you know you know that you’re driving you taking a driving test to please a driving instructor, and then you’re going to go on you’re going to do the thing and you’re going to do it within the law and do what’s right, but you will add your own style, you know.
UNA: That’s what I was doing.
KRZYS: So, what can you tell us what’s what sort of criteria there were of judging the competition?
UNA: Umm. Well you know the thing is and I’m sure this will change for the next one because remember this was the very first one so they were sort of learning as well and I really really couldn’t quite say with the criteria was per say. What happened was they had different categories and I think the categories themselves might change as well with the next one. There was like, there was like (yeah) there’s chair massage, there was holistic table massage, there was wellness massage, there was an Asian Thai inspired massage, there was freestyle massage, pardon me, and there was like you could do it on a mat a table or a chair. And you know and it was it was quite fluid and this was and there was, there was a problem because a lot of people didn’t quite know what categories they were in because some were in more than one category and people didn’t realise they could be in more than one category. I know for certain that they knew that was a problem and they’ll have it sorted out this time you know, but it was the first go and everybody was just you know feeling their way through it, you know. But, you know what happened was that I was in the chair category so you know we were in a room and we were also showing the room with the mats, the freestyle mats which was really interesting because you know some of the moves were just amazing, and then you know what happened was the people we massaged were other therapists, and then you know it and then we got massage and the judges walked around.
KRZYS: Of course.
UNA: And they were noticing what was going on and there were certain judges for obviously the chair massage and for the mat and it was all different rooms and again you know we were encouraged to move around but a lot of people didn’t realise (laughter) that they get like I didn’t, and so I missed out on some of the massage, but it was really exciting and I think what they were looking for was, what was dynamic, what was original and it end and also if you were doing something that was more traditional you know what how you were doing it, it was all about style and delivery and you know proficiency of moves, you know and they walked around and we had two days where we massaged you we were on massaging, and they were getting massaged. So you had if you feel you didn’t do well the first day you had a chance to do it the second day. Which I thought was a great thing because you know there are nerves and stuff like that.
KRZYS: No, of course. So who was the, who was the judge?
UNA: They were loads of judges. I couldn’t name them all. I couldn’t because it was three different rooms there was three sets of judges and but your judges stay the same because if they saw you on day one they saw you on day two. Which I thought was a fair point because they would see the progression and I’d then again I didn’t deal with all the other judges. I dealt with four or five judges.
KRZYS: Okay. So can you tell us do your first you know you I don’t know what, you walked in the first day you found that…
KRZYS: But you’re rushing cause your late and the taxi was late and you packed everything and you’re thinking did you (laughter). Was it like that?
UNA: God Krzys! Were you there?
KRZYS: And then, but…
UNA: It’s like you were there with me (laughter).
KRZYS: But, (laughter) that’s what usually happens.
UNA: (Laughter) Yeah! Oh absolutely!
KRZYS: Cause we are so stressed about things and they kind of want everything makes perfect, but look okay it’s organized you walk through the building can you go through with us if you know the first day what’s happened?
UNA: I mean the first day was just so we had to sign up, and you know the thing is the overriding feeling about the massage championships we all knew we were taking part in something special, because it was the first one so there was this buzz, there was this air of excitement, but also it was never really going to be a competition in the sense that it was full of massage therapists and what we do is make each other people feel better you were very empathetic, were very sensitive, were very supportive, so it had this really fabulous vibe. We had to all stand in a queue to sign up and get our name tags and where we were going and we were all chatting like we were old friends. Everybody started really gelling and you know talking to everybody else, and it was a lovely feeling you know just being in the queue, and we you know there was such a long queue and it really impressed upon me that there was tons of therapists you know and literally from all over the world. Like you know there was you know you there’s (Inaudible 27:35) you know from Outer Mongolia. There was somebody from Outer Mongolia there you know and she was a traditional Mongolian healer, and you know it was just fantastic. So it’s you know when you signed up you sat around having a bit a coffee and waiting for everybody else to finish and you really got this whole view of this wonderful gathering of people and it was a really positive exciting start to it, it really was.
KRZYS: Now that sounds really, really nice because we bring a lot of people in that kind of environment it’s (Inaudible 28:15) when it’s like you know I don’t know, having as well just learning new things.
UNA: But that’s exactly what it was, (Yeah).
KRZYS: And engaging.
UNA: there was never was never this thing of eyes on the prize like, oh this is going to be a competition it was more like a convention and people were sort of, oh well this is how I do a stretch, and what do you think of this and I really like that move what do you do, and people were just even before we started massaging we were doing it you know. We were just waiting in the foyer to start the competition we were already doing it (laughter).
KRZYS: (Laughter). That is so, that is for everyone whenever it happens we just massage people wherever we stand we meet someone we always massaging each other.
UNA: Absolutely! It was so tactile and people that were complete strangers were already hugging each other, it was like this huge loving you know because we knew we were there for this really exciting thing. So, you know and being massage therapist you just can’t shake someone’s hand you start you know (laughter).
KRZYS: (Laughter). Do you have, do you have this as well. It’s just not for massage therapist, but whenever you meet someone, hug someone you always kind of when you hug them as well you just kind of stray away. How does it feel, what massage oh there is some tension, it’s like oh.
UNA: Seriously! Even when I massage my, you know when I hug my husband he goes, stop massaging me, you know because I’m not even if I’m hugging I’m massaging him, he knows it (laughter).
KRZYS: Oh brilliant. So Una you’ve done okay, so you had a competition you’ve done your stuff, you have done your routine. What was it, so you done the chair with the Kneader, yes?
UNA: Yeah. I did the chair and, and again I you know I was I was a bit silly but because it was the first one and things were set out like you know the judges came up to me and they sort of said we really like your tool we’d love to see more, and I didn’t I didn’t get what more was, but what was happening was that you could do a table routine you could actually show them different ways of doing this routine. I didn’t get that I’m a bit slow on the mark that way, and I just kept on doing the routine that I was doing, but even, even I’d sitting there and watching other chair therapists do it you know I realized, oh I didn’t do any legs, I didn’t do any feet, because again all my clients were corporate clients and they all want you know neck, shoulders, head, and arms (Yeah).
KRZYS: The usual.
UNA: So, I was just something that they didn’t even register and you know I walked away going, oh okay I’m going to add legs and feet to it because that’s a bit silly not having that option.
KRZYS: But things like that is amazing because exactly you just give you some ideas inspiration, and then once you can develop yourself, and well your tools or your practice.
UNA: Oh absolutely! And that’s you know it was sometimes it was really hard even concentrate with what you’re doing, because you could see this fabulous massage going on around you and some really cool moves and you know people were just so different and that you know there was lots of Asian and sports massage inspired routines, like the freestyle and it was just so amazing to watch that I had to remember look you’re on come on now massage, come on it’s you (laughter) get back to what you’re doing you know. And, and the first guy that I massaged was this fabulous therapist called Alexy Brewer, and he has massaged all over the world he’s amazing, he is this French guy and he was really complimentary about the Kneader. He says, I really think you have something there and then he massaged me and he did just a holistic Swedish table routine. One of the best massages I’ve ever had, it was amazing he was a real artist and that’s like that was the start to all of this and it was such a positive start and it really never, it never it just plateau at that positive you know. It may be even went up a bit, but it never declined, it was really that incredible energy and the wealth of professionals and the knowledge that was there in that room alone you know of people who had studied for years you know, it was just amazing. I can’t, I can’t say enough about it.
UNA: You know lovely to hear. So can you tell us your feelings when you find out Una Tucker a silver gold medal?
UNA: Well, the thing is again you know I’m I’m a bit stupid, I didn’t I didn’t realize that you could win you know because there was like an overall thing right, and the overall winner was, hold on, her name is Narie, I can’t remember her second name, I think it’s Somme or something like that, I’m really bad with names and really I apologize profusely. But she was a Thai; she did a Thai warrior massage. It was a mat routine and it was just spectacular. Everyone sort of knew she was going to win the overall thing you know because, they picked people out of a category and at the, at the final you, we watched like an audience, and there was like five or six people there, there was Christina with her bamboo sticks doing a chair routine, there was a couple of freestyle there was a wellness category that I’d never even realized wellness massages sort of like holistic table massage and then you have, you can use tools and oils and in it’s like a freestyle you know and then you had Miroslav Skoric doing a fantastic Swedish holistic table massage. You had everything from the traditional to complete freestyle and fusion stuff, and we were watching all this and that was done and we were allowed to vote, each therapist was allowed to vote for somebody and then the judges who were now the clients and in the final, they got the massages. They then voted as well, and they were sitting there and I’m going oh this is great, this is fantastic you know we were just chatting away and then they said okay we’re going to start handing out medals, and then they said okay in each category and it was only then, I heard my name called and I’m going what? And they are going you’ve won and I’m like won what? You know I think you’ve won a, and I just literally got up and Christina and I actually went to the podium holding hands, because we were going, what the, you know what, and we just couldn’t quite believe it we are in like slight shock and you can see it. It’s like a little video of us and I’m walking along and I still don’t quite get that I’ve won something you know, and it was great and you know all of a sudden I got a silver medal and and I’m standing there going woohoo (laughter).
KRZYS: (Laughter). Oh brilliant! Well well well done (laughter).
UNA: And you know then we sat down and then they announced the overall winner, which was Narie. And, like I said nobody was was really surprised with that, and it was I mean I had to is it was a bit weird because I actually had to run off to the airport quite soon after, so I just hugged people, I said goodbye and then I sort of went back and got my staff, but it was just so surreal winning something and you know and just being it was my so, Christina won the gold, I won the silver and Yanif won the bronze, and he’s and we were just all standing there so surprised, because no one realised we just thought there was one overall winner and that was it. So, it was a big bonus that people could win and categories as well.
KRZYS: Amazing. Brilliant, and you obviously, end up with many many friends and colleagues.
UNA: Oh absolutely! I mean that you know the break they were it was very good because it was in like its own sort some sort of college right, and there were students from the college there was like a technical college, but they had it being Denmark they just didn’t have a canteen. They had a really good vegetarian canteen you know, and they had veggie food and they had some meat food as well, but there was like you know just as I was expecting like just a crusty old sandwich you know that type of thing. Proper food, so lunch was a real affair and people were talking to each other and we sat next to each other, and we said you know we were so busy chatting about our lives and our practices and what we did in our passions it was just such a you know it was a we had to be reminded to go back and take apart the competition (laughter) come on get to work. But, it was really lovely Jeppe and his team really went all out. The organisers did an amazing event, and like I said it was pleasant from, from the moment we stepped into the moment we left, and it was just you know and they had they had someone filming and you know taking part, and (yeah) I mean there is a there’s a Facebook even before we started this is a typical example before we started they started a Facebook page participants in the World Massage Championships, so we all knew each other before we actually met, and we were Facebooking each other. We all went on this site we were getting information you know where to stay where to go I organized a dinner for everybody before the actual because we were all there on Friday night. What are you doing? You’re doing nothing in a strange you know city. So, I was got very lucky because the woman that I was paired being with just happened to work for the Irish tourist board. Happen to be Irish and happen to work for the Irish tourist board, so told me about loads of places to go I organized us to all go and have dinner so it was like sixteen or seventeen of us got together and met even before we massaged. So, there was like Joe Laven the American contingent and his students Travis, Nellise, and Dora and there was Amy from Ireland and Dougie was there and you know we met all that I’ve got some of the Thai flat I called them the Thai flower, because all the Thai massage flower ladies wore flowers in their hair you know, so we called them the flower girls and they were all like lovely. And even when we went in from the first day and it was like you know the preamble took place in a lecture hall, so we all sat down and picked complete strangers other competitors were giving out presents like giving little oils I’ve made this for everybody and they’d have like twenty or thirty they were just passing them out.
KRZYS: Oh great!
UNA: You know I mean it was that type of vibe I can’t say enough about it I mean I hope that that continues…
KRZYS: Hmm, hmm
UNA: But everybody was you know saying hello and telling them about themselves and it was just, it was fantastic.
KRZYS: So, can you tell us if someone is interesting to taking apart what would you advise him to you know to do, and go about it?
UNA: You know what you need to do is to contact the International Massage Association. You can go to the site which is www.worldmass, sorry I’ll say that again www.worldchampionship-massage.com and that’s their actual site if you look up International Massage Association, and the guy the C.E.O. is Jeppe Tengbjerg and you’ll be able to find it there, and all the details will be there. They’ve already announced the two thousand and eighteen which is going to take place in exactly the same place I think.
KRZYS: In Copenhagen, yes.
UNA: And it’s at the end of May. (Yeah) it is, and at the end of May. And you just go and just sign up for it.
KRZYS: Brilliant! So, can I can I ask you because they well now all of this emotions and really you know happiness, and really being part of it, and have you received any skeptical as criticism about taken apart and I’m just asking just because I remember when I find out about the awards championship and I post something on one of the massage groups. There was a bit of skepticism, how you can judge massage you know, how you can, how you can take this as a competition? So, how would you answer to this one?
UNA: I say I say down the big Rogers that’s what I say (laughter). There’s always going to be you know the thing is one size never fits all, right? So, there’s always going to be detractors and people who you know I mean how do you have a beauty contest? How do you judge beauty? How do you judge any sort of a competition you know unless it’s a running competition and it goes across the line you know there’s an actual finishing line, how do you judge that, it’s all it’s all relevant to what’s going on and I just I think I get the point how do you judge and I guess there’s different types of massage and there’s different ways of doing things, but you know getting together all of these therapists was a wonderful way of finding out what’s going on in our industry you know, different way you know. Do people in Eastern Europe massage the same as people in the UK? you know of course not, you know they do different things and one of the things they came up was you know manipulation you know cracking people’s necks and stuff like that we don’t do that in the UK they do it there you know, and you saw a lot of it. You know I think it’s fantastic I think the idea of a championship is brilliant, because it just brings everyone together it’s something to strive for it, it ups our industry game because we all come together, we all learn from each other and it’s cohesive. Because that’s the problem is that and I’ve fully enough I’m doing one on my blog I’m just doing a draft blog because a lot of times you don’t have cohesion. I was looking up reflexology charts the other day just to see what was out there and they’re all so different we all can’t be right, but we all can’t be wrong you know. There sometimes across the board isn’t a standard and I think it just really brings it together you know. By the way I will backtrack for a second, there is a U.K. championship that I think people need to know about as well, at that because, because they were thinking of bringing the world championship here and then they said no we’re going to we’re going to keep it in Copenhagen and then all of a sudden they said there will be a U.K. championship and they are aligned with the International Massage Association and the U.K. championship has a web site as well. I think It’s things being updated they have a Facebook page and Tina McCaffery is the person that is running that, but if you actually contact the International Massage Association and say listen I’m really interested in the UK Championships which are taking part in April they will direct you to the right person.
KRZYS: Oh perfect! So will you will you will you try it next year?
UNA: Absolutely! (Laughter). I’m going to do the U.K. one cause I had a lot of jobs here might as well, but I’m going back…
KRZYS: Because will they be happening in London isn’t it?
UNA: Yes! I think so and I just think would be really exciting to do it within the U.K. industry and see what’s out there, but I’m going back to go back to Copenhagen, because A. I want to jolly in Copenhagen it’s a great city I love visiting it I want it you know was it was like the best mix of business and pleasure ever you know, but I want to go back because I learned so much. Just by watching other people and meeting other therapists you know and I also want to I have something to now work towards you know that I you know how I want to do again I’ve already started working up a table routine with the Kneader you know and I’ve in I’ve bettered my chair routines, so, I have I have a goal now and I want to meet that.
KRZYS: You know what I think I have a really really good idea for another podcast because I’m really interested in your Kneader. So, I think if we can (yeah) chat again very very soon to bring some more idea about your tool.
UNA: Yeah, listen I’ll never stop here. I won’t stop here you’ll have to stop me (laughter) from talking about it. But seriously yeah I’d love to do that, and I would recommend anybody I know it’s a big ask to go to somewhere like Denmark and compete that’s why I decided I wanted people to know there’s a U.K. championship as well, but it is amazing the World Championships it really is and I would recommend anybody to do one or both championships. I think that you can judge massage. I think it’s a great way of tidying up you know when you’re actually going to somewhere like that you tidy yourself up you really up your game and there is nothing wrong with that.
KRZYS: See what I think when I see it, I think is just another expression of massages and apart of art it’s very artistic, it’s very flow ish or can be it’s like it you know is as a music you know. There is something beautiful about it when you watch it you know. Like we all massage therapists when we, I remember in massage school when we watched a demonstration we were like, oh my God, we didn’t you know we were not on the table but we knew this is feeling amazing already.
UNA: (Laughter) I want it now.
KRZYS: In that kind of sense I for you know in my I think the problem people would have is the routine. You know massage can’t be routined everyone person is different so how can you do that?
UNA: Absolutely! But I think the criteria go back to the criteria that they were looking at I think they were looking at proficiency. You know and and and how much the person made a move because look massage is what three or four petrous hours after hours, frictions to depoments (yeah). It’s how much the person mastered those moves made them their own were they original with them? You know how you know and because there are some people that were doing very traditional moves but there were so good at them you know there wasn’t just one thing that the judges the judged our room were very sensitive you know and really empathetic, they were all massage therapists right, so they knew what they were doing and they could really appreciated and it wasn’t just one thing it was it was sort of I think the people that that really that I know, because everyone stood out it’s not as if everyone was a major professional you know everyone was extremely experienced you know but what stood out was for them the artistry. That’s you know you know and it’s not about and there and I say this being very guarded because massage is about pleasing your client and making the you know the massage good for them it shouldn’t be about a show, but it’s all about the mastery of what you’re doing, and the love you’re putting at it and the passion and I think those are the things that they were judging you know, because everyone was going to be good at what they did. But it was that you know you hands what are you going to judge. Okay, how they do it.
KRZYS: And I think, I think that’s you know the great thing championship is a great idea in a sense in a sense of bringing people together…
UNA: So do I.
KRZYS: Finding our new developing a new you get inspired and more people motivated people to see and, and do new stuff.
UNA: Because you know you have to think most massage therapist out there work for themselves you know and they’re alone so to be a part of a bigger family to see what’s out there and to say I’m apart of this, and that I actually said in my blog when I wrote on my website, because I write a blog on the Kneads must web site and I sorted said, I gained a massage family you know. I went from being an only child to being part of this huge family and it was fantastic you know and I think that alone was worth the price of the ticket.
KRZYS: Brilliant! So the next question I have for you is just because a lot of our listeners are just either starting out or maybe they just been in the business for a while but they are struggling to building their own business. So, the big question if you woke up tomorrow morning but you still possess all the experience and knowledge you currently have, but your business completely disappeared there is no Kneader there is nothing forcing you to start from the scratch what would you do?
UNA: If I had to go back and do it all again. I’d probably go for a degree. Because my husband pointed out more than once he said you know Una you’ve put five or six years of piece meal study into being a massage therapist you could have had a degree. But, but then again what with a degree get me you know it wouldn’t get me more clients per say but you know I think that. I think that massage is evolving anyway one of the things I saw in the in the competition was that massage is evolving into a more freestyle fusion prescriptive treatment you know and the moves that were being done there was like a hairsbreadth away from physiotherapy you know or osteopathy and I think that we’re getting so close we’re getting so good that we are actually just becoming nearly parallel and I know that I’ll probably come under fire for this and you know, but it’s like the sports massage course that I’m doing now there was about three or four physiotherapists in that course you know, because they want to learn sports massage to up their game so they really are we are becoming more intertwined you know, and I think that you know there is an argument to I know that in America they go at the really really study for like two or three years and it’s a really big you know it’s like a degree there is no argument for doing that here to give us more validation it’s not it’s not making us you know per say any better, but it’s just making us, I’m lost for words here, but it’s just it’s an instinctive feeling that that that we need to be validated more so that we come in to more of the fold rather than you know working outside being the alternative therapy we become more of a therapy with in the medical system.
KRZYS: Yes. Just connecting (yeah) complementary therapist to the health care profession.
UNA: And it is happening, I mean (yeah) I mean you know doctors are now you know I mean there’s so much data that supports getting massage you know as a preventative and curative measure, but I do think that doctors and the overall medical community are embracing it more but there is still that alternative therapy tag sort of really isolates us.
KRZYS: You know for many years you know it’s getting much much better now there are starting to have some massage in the hospitals itself…
KRZYS: So we kind of slowly, slowly getting out there. And as you mentioned there is so much so much research and so much new research coming out to support us,
UNA: In support (Yeah), and the thing is you can’t ignore it, and I mean you know people are actually taking more responsibility for their health because they realize you know even companies you know they want to bring in all these these therapies because they realise that healthy stuff means that they you know because there was like billions lost in back pain or stress you know if you’re if you’re have heath, if your staff are not healthy then they’re not there, and you’re losing money so they want to keep people health and it’s the same thing with the N.H.S. here that you know you know back pain or stress or you know. Sort of illnesses that result from our very sedentary lifestyle they’re costing the N.H.S billions of pounds. So why not prevent the problems and one of the ways of doing that is through massage and you know stretching and you know all these different programs that you know we’re like (yeah) (yeah). No they should be in the frontline they shouldn’t be you know relegated to the back somewhere in the alternative section, they should be in the front line.
KRZYS: And I think you know even I remember we were chatting in the course when I started you know the ideas that actually bring the massage well they have been done, like I can’t remember, a can’t quote, but just remember really good the conversation about that they were massaging people before their surgeries…
KRZYS: Or even after to get them better to you know recover, and there were example of some people. I Can’t say it because I just remember what was exactly happening why was the surgery but there was just example of people actually they didn’t have to go to the surgery in the end. Just because you know massage actually you know I’m not quoting massage you know fixed, or you know they healed…
UNA: Hmm (yeah).
KRZYS: I’m just saying that the massage helped change something in the body in the nervous system or even a tissue response which helps them heal, or feel better.
UNA: Absolutely! I mean when I started you know and used to really anger me you get these sort of articles where you know. A medical someone in the medical profession would be reviewing alternative therapies and they would start off biased and they would continue that way so you know it was never a nice article about alternative therapies that sort of changed and I think many people in the medical profession and you know what we are not against each other we’re all working for the same thing the wellness of people, so we are all working together, but again it was like sort of you know there’s always going to be the arguments like homoeopathy they’ve just taken it off the N.H.S you know. There are homeopaths that study for years and have great results so you can’t discount it you know it’s just one size does not fit all, what works for one person might not work for another, but the fact is massage helps break down the adhesions in and muscles, it helps to relaxes to relax muscles that you know what’s not on what level is that not going to help somebody you know. So I think the you know and acupuncture, it took years for acupuncture to be allowed on the N.H.S. you know, because it was quote unquote an “alternative therapy” I don’t like that branded name, because it puts us in another room when we should all be in the same room helping people and I think that a lot of medical professions are now really accepting that they see the value in it. They see that you know because the industry has grown and people are getting so much more massage and taking you know taking control of their own health the medical profession has seen that. You know and are are are completely on board with that, because they’re human beings and they get aches and pains too.
KRZYS: (Laughter). Exactly! And so Una the next part is all about you. So here we give you a moment to promote yourself, your courses book you know your practice, your tools your anything you would you like to share, so we will give you a little bit of the freestyle time here you go.
UNA: Well, if I think I think everybody knows that I have I have developed a tool called a Kneader at my company is Kneads Must that’s K N E A D S Masters and you must do this and where adds Kneadsmust.com you can find a website. On the website we all have all about the Kneader you can see the Kneader being used in little sort of film clips, and basically like I said I developed this tool for my clients to use but then very quickly realized that it it helped therapists with deep and repetitive moves. A lot of the comments on my Amazon UK page for the Kneader, because you can buy it on Amazon. Our therapist saying this is a great tool or like you know enthusiasts running enthusiasts or you know athletes that you know really know how to take care of themselves and their muscles. So, you know I’m a small company I’ve developed a good tool that really works for professionals and non-professionals that’s my passion. We the moniker line or the tag line in my business is “Make Massage Easy” you know, because massage is for everybody. At the beginning you know there was some therapist that felt a little bit and threatened. Well, why would we tell people to use a tool they won’t come to us, no, the more people know about massage and this is the experience I’ve had and I will stand by it the more a person knows about massage the more they respect it and the more they want to go to the professionals you know, they’ll use the tool at home they’ll use it on themselves, but they will appreciate how good massage is and they will make it a regular part of their lives and that includes professional. So that’s my my my plan for world domination is (laughter) to sort of get the Kneader out there to everybody and you know if we massage more than we don’t have time to you know get all irate and you know maybe, maybe even might bring about world peace you never know, you never know (laughter).
KRZYS: I would love to see well you never know you might do.
UNA: (Laughter). Look it’s worth a try you know honestly.
KRZYS: Aim high.
UNA: (Laughter). Of course, and if you fail, fail better.
KRZYS: So, where we can find Kneader to when we can buy it?
UNA: It’s on, it’s on Amazon so if you just type in the Kneader, and that’s K N E A D E R it’s the Kneader, and you’ll find it on the Amazon page I also sell it in America, if you’re a European therapists you can still buy it on Amazon UK We hope to bring it to we want to sell it to France through their French UK Amazon and in Germany as well we’re going to be doing that very shortly. And, I recommend if you’re a therapist to get two, because especially with percussion you can do fantastic percussion, but you sort of do need two and it makes it really really really easy. And one thing I would say to therapist is that when you start using it go onto our our website or we have a YouTube channel for Kneads Must, and you can find it there and look at the moves being used and trust the fact that you don’t have to grip the tool right. It becomes part of your hand and if you trust in you know the weight of your hand the motion on the body you will find that you can get incredibly deep pressure with practically no effort, right, and I mean there is no right or wrong way to hold the tool but I don’t use the finger holes the only time I use the finger holes is when I’m doing percussions and that’s it. There is so many moves. I haven’t I haven’t thought of all of them you know those moves out there that even I haven’t thought out because it depends on what discipline you do, how you’re going to use the tool you know. But it’s I’m just amazed that I thought of it, I just had this wonderful you know thirty seconds where it came into my life and I grabbed it and I went with it and I use it all the time it really is a good product and I’m always here for people to come to me. I want therapists to come and tell me what their experience of it. I do run a course for the Kneader on site massage the chair routine. And I want to sort of train people to go out there and mass and do chair massage, because I do think that chair massage is the way to go because I love massage I love all massage but you know the corporate world they just need to sit in that chair get massage and go back to their desks. And it’s just an easy way of doing it so I think that there is a big future for chair massage and I’m very passionate about it I think it really does work the course that I’m teaching I will start back in two thousand and eighteen (2018), because I am incorporating all these sports massage moves and these moves that were that I learnt at the World Championships, so I’ve got to update the course. So, you can contact me at Una, firstname.lastname@example.org if anybody is out there or just go on to the web site contact me through there.
KRZYS: Brilliant. Thank you. So next part we call it tag the guest game.
KRZYS: So we we’re going to ask you, who do you, admire and why? And can you get us help us get the recommendation for upcoming interview with me here at busyhivepodcast.co.uk
UNA: I think that I am going to; I’m going to recommend two people then, why not let’s throw it out there.
KRZYS: Thank you.
UNA: Let’s throw it out there. I might even the queue is forming as I’m saying there could be more. I think Carl Newbery of Massage World would be very good. Carl runs one of the biggest massage magazines for the UK, he is a working therapist he’s a fantastic I mean he’s at every trade show you’ve probably come across Carl already if you’re a therapist. He is involved in the International Massage Association. And he loves massage he’s a big friend of the Kneader and he knows me quite well, but he’s just passionate about all things massage. And that’s great because he’s a working grafting massage therapist, but he’s also a brilliant, brilliant business man knows how to get out there and you know get seen and so it’s a great mix of practicality and passion which is really what makes a successful therapist. Successful anybody really, so I think I think Carl definitely would be one. You might even get a hold of Jeppe Tengbjerg you know get out let’s go to the you know let’s go to the top of the World Massage Association. Jeppe is again a therapist himself, he’s organized this amazing you know World Massage Championship which you know hats off to him. I think that he would love to talk to Busy Hive. And you know. I think that his passion like yours you know you’re doing Busy Hive because you want to you know put massage out there you want to bring everything under one umbrella. I think Jeppe is pretty much on the same page, so he would be a brilliant one. And, I think a non I think we’re going to go non-massage. But despite help massage therapist and that’s Gavin Ricketts of Napoleon Creative, he’s the guy who did my D.V.D. He does a lot of business videos. He is my best business friend and I say that you know I say that knowing that there is a lot like Drew London is a fantastic business friend as well, they do all of my packaging all of my website. These are small businesses Napoleon Creative and Drew London are small businesses that support small businesses. Now when I say small businesses they’re much bigger than my business they’re very successful, but they understand the journey and they will link to people of that journey because they remember when they were there. And I think that a lot of the bigger businesses forget that, so I would definitely recommend Gavin Ricketts and Elle Moss. Gavin Ricketts of Napoleon Creative and Elle Moss of Drew London they’re my business heroes, because they have these successful businesses, very passionate, but they also are friends to smaller businesses and I think that’s really really important.
KRZYS: Brilliant! Thank you very much. So Carl, Jeppe and Gavin you’ve been tagged.
KRZYS: So this is great, so thank you for joining me here Una and you know give us lots of you know great advice inspiration knowledge. And (yeah) your experience about the world championship. So let’s finish the show with the last piece of advice for Busy Hive listeners and then we gonna say goodbye. if you had just one thing for our loss listeners, one thing, not three, okay (laughter) to take out of this episode what would it be?
UNA: (Laughter) I think I’m going to go with a quote from the Rocky Horror Picture Show and it’s, “don’t dream it, be it”.
KRZYS: I like it. Thank you very much, so can we connect with you online?
UNA: Yes you can www.kneadsmust.com and email@example.com.
KRZYS: Thank you. Thank you for joining me here at our podcast it’s lovely to chat to you and all our listeners if are interested in learning a bit more about Kneader or Massage Championship. We’re going to put all the details on our show notes at busyhive.co.uk/community/podcasts and it’s a pleasure to chat to you and hopefully we’re going to chat very, very soon bye Una.
UNA: Bye, bye, Krzys, all the very best. Thank you for having me.