Last weekend, the International Massage Association hosted a massage competition in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Massage therapists and bodyworkers from all over the world came together to share their techniques, approaches and love for their work – and a chance to win gold!
One person stood above the crowd to us… literally and figuratively… we’d like to introduce you to Daniel Nowozeniuk, who acheived 2nd place in the Freestyle Category with the use of Barefoot Massage!
Our friend Ryan, the one and only Massage Nerd, was sponsoring the event as a judge, and he sent us these photos of someone using Barefoot techniques during the competition. (I bet he could hear me squeak with excitement all the way from Texas!) Who is this person? Where is he from? Well, I tracked him down and was fortunate to speak with Daniel, who turns out is based out of London, England! We chatted on the phone together the day after his epic win, as we both sipped on our cappuccinos on opposite sides of the earth. (More proof that behind every great Barefoot Massage Therapist is a good cup of coffee – as I’ve often guessed!!)
Daniel is an accomplished practitioner with over 20 years extensive experience in manual and complementary therapies. He firmly believes that the body’s natural ability to heal and repair itself plays a vital role in our health and overall wellbeing. His calling to massage started when he was a lifeguard in Poland, applying sunscreen on the swimmers, (I thought that was particularly awesome) but his dedication to furthering his education is a continuous quest that has influenced his choices to explore different cultures and massage traditions, many of which are integrated into his unique therapy.
His calling to massage started when he was a lifeguard in Poland, applying sunscreen on the swimmers, (I thought that was particularly awesome) but his dedication to furthering his education is a continuous quest that has influenced his choices to explore different cultures and massage traditions, many of which are integrated into his unique therapy.
He’s trained with Franciscan Monks, studied healing energy in a monastery in Bhutan, practiced meditation with guru’s in Switzerland, and learned the Hammam in Morocco. Daniel has travelled to over 48 countries learning about how they massage and care for their bodies, and has been influenced by some of the oldest and most experienced schools of massage in the world from China, Thailand and India. Over the past eight years Daniel further developed his techniques at Violet Hill Clinic, a day spa in central London which he runs together with his wife. “I help my clients identify persistent health issues while offering advice and support in finding the best suited solution, which goes beyond merely addressing the symptoms. I regard every individual as a whole person and treat them accordingly so as to enable my clients to attain a better quality of life.”
He told me that he “looks at the clients tissue and approaches it with dimension,” using his feet intuitively as needed, supplimental to his hands on techniques. I asked about his Vibram shoes he was wearing while working through the sheet on his client – I knew there was a rule in the competition that therapists had to wear shoes, so this seemed like a clever work-around for the situation. Daniel says that he hadn’t fully planned on using his barefoot techniques, but he intuitively knew on that particular client that it was the right tool to use, so he hopped up on the table!
“Massage is not funny business,” he says. “this competition treats massage therapists as professionals, acknowledging that we put a lot of effort into our work.”
Daniel was honored to be a part of the International Massage Associations massage championship – and is eager to defend his title next year. Besides his barefoot work that stole the show, he used over 20 massage techniques in the alloted time frame, and utilized something similar to a “Zenvi” face cradle, that offers music for the client to listen and relax to, drowning out the background noises that filled the competition floor. It’s fearlessness, confidence and innovation like this that I admire, and I’m proud of our new-found friend across the pond for stepping up the game, and showing the international massage community what Barefoot Massage has to offer.
Congratulations, Daniel – I can’t wait to meet you and your feet in person!