The Hand & Stone Massage Therapy Team excitedly attended the World Massage Festival July 15-16, 2023 in Cherokee, NC and it is with great pleasure we announce that two of our massage therapists have placed in the Second Annual American Massage Championship! These champions promote massage therapy awareness and industry growth, in addition to our organization being a proud sponsor of the Wellness category, including hot stone massage.
In 2016, a group of massage therapists led by Jeppe Tengbjerg convened in Copenhagen, Denmark, to determine who was the best massage therapist in the world. That event became the first World Massage Championship. Over the last seven years, the International Massage Association (IMA) has hosted six championships with massage therapists from 42 countries. Last year was the first year of the American Massage Championship. The IMA has partnered with the US-based World Massage Festival to host this event annually in North America, creating additional access to this style of competition. The American Massage Championship is a competition, but it is also a fantastic opportunity for massage therapists to come together, support each other as a community, and learn new techniques.
The second annual American Massage Championships took place on July 15, 2023, and July 16, 2023, in Cherokee, NC. Over 70 massage therapists from across the United States, and Canada, competed. There were eight categories Wellness, Asian Bodywork, Eastern Freestyle, Chair Massage, Western Freestyle, Facial Massage, Sports, and Swedish. Twenty judges, from different massage and education backgrounds, based their scoring and criteria on technique, innovation, client touch, and draping. Nathan Nordstrom, Senior Director of Massage Training and Industry Growth for Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spas, was a judge in this year’s competition. He notes that ‘A competitor’s ability to hold true to the consistency of technique” was a key factor in judging.
Hand & Stone is proud to have had three therapists compete in the American Massage Championships this year. Celeste Coleman, Lead and Elite Massage Therapist from the King of Prussia Hand and Stone. James Henry, Elite Massage Therapist, also from King of Prussia. And Nicole Davis, a massage therapist, and Business Development Associate for 11 spas in the New Jersey region. Nicole Davis won a gold medal in the Swedish Massage Category and James Henry placed 2nd in the Wellness and Hot Stone. Hand & Stone celebrates all the massage therapists who demonstrated the highest skills and standards in the field, and who came together, to promote the benefits of massage therapy, and support each other!