We recently caught up with the winner of the London Massage Therapist of 2011 - Paul Hack, also known as PH Therapies. We posed him a few questions about his personal career and his thoughts on the art of massage. Here's what he had to say...
How did you end up becoming a massage therapist?
My journey to becoming a massage therapist was spurred on by my previous career as a professional dancer. I had the privilege of performing in many musicals both in Australia (where I was born) and in the West End such as 42nd Street, My Fair Lady, Copacabana, Oh! What A Night, Chicago and Fosse. Throughout my career as a dancer I dealt with several injuries. Being the true professional that I am, if my physiotherapist told me that I could not perform each night whilst in rehabilitation and recovery I would be devastated. To prevent injury, I implemented a workout programme to strengthen my body and started having regular massage to help ease my overworked muscles. This programme continued throughout my dance career but like all dancers I understood that my career would be fantastic but short. I cleverly planned my transition from dancer to massage therapist whilst I was still performing in shows. By the time my performing career ended I was already a fully qualified as a Sports Massage Therapist and opened a private practice treating mainly dancers and athletes.
How long did it take to get to a really good level?
The first therapy I studied was Sports Massage with The London School Of Sports Massage (LSSM) in 2003. My training with the LSSM was of a very high standard and was also vocational in nature. By the time I completed my course I was confident and skilled enough to work as a professional Sports Massage Therapist. As a dancer, my kinaesthetic relationship with the human body was heightened and this helped me to develop a strong connection with my initial client base which was dancers and athletes. During my eight years as a therapist, I have added new disciplines to my repertoire including Aromatherapy with The Tisserand Institute and Reflexology with The London School Of Reflexology. I am constantly updating my skills and discovering new techniques to enhance my practice and it is this passion for growth that keeps my practice at a good level.
How have you found it during a recession, are you still getting many bookings?
When the recession hit a few years ago I was not treating in private practice. I had closed my practice down when I landed a lucrative position with Urdang Academy as their Treatment Manager in 2005. This position was full time in nature and required a high level of management. I was responsible for the injury treatment and rehabilitation of approximately 300 dance and musical theatre students and I also hired the treatment staff (physiotherapists and sports massage therapists) to help me achieve the best results. I still hold this position at Urdang Academy but I have now managed to run my department with better functionality. This enabled me to relaunch my private practice and brand it as PH Therapies. Since launching PH Therapies I have been going from strength to strength. I am blessed to have a very loyal client base and the flow of new clients is always growing.
Why would you recommend someone to have a massage?
Massage is a fantastic therapy to treat so many different conditions. The list of benefits is endless and includes: Greater flexibility and range of movement, Improved performance, Improved self awareness, Greater energy, Improved recovery time, Prevention of injury, Pain reduction, Enhanced muscle balance, Heightened physiological stimulation (eg: alertness, focus, relaxation), Improved fluid movement / Removal of metabolic waste, Increased circulation, Assisted mental preparation for sporting participation, Reduced muscular tension, Improved levels of fatigue, Increased energy, Improved sleep patterns, Strengthened natural self-healing mechanisms, Improved calmness and a sense of well-being, Decreased levels of stress, Increased oxygen / nutrient supply to the working body, Boosted immunity, Improved ability to fight infection, Enhanced healing processes, Improved wound healing, Improved skin tone / condition, Muscle relaxation, Improved hormone regulation, Improved breathing, Enhanced cell growth, Improved digestion, Improved circulation.
With all these benefits I would recommend everyone to have a massage! It is important to make sure that your therapist is properly qualified and a member of a professional body that validates a standard of professional practice. The Complimentary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) is one such body. The mission of the CNHC is to support the use of complementary and natural healthcare as a positive and safe experience and their key purpose is to protect the public by means of regulating practitioners on a voluntary register. Only therapists who have met the required training standards can be listed on this registry. PH Therapies is listed with the CNHC and also a member of The Association of Reflexologists (AoR), The International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists (IFPA) and The Institute of Sports and Remedial Massage (ISRM). All of these professional bodies validate the level of training required to be a professional therapist. You are in good healing hands with PH Therapies!
Thanks to Paul for the interview.