A View Royal massage therapist took her skills to the world stage, placing fifth in sport therapy at the World Championship of Massage.
Jessica Jarabeck competed in the International Massage Association’s fifth annual World Championship of Massage in Copenhagen.
“It was my first time going and I kind of just did my thing,” Jarabeck said.
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The three day competition ran from June 23 to 25, attracting 230 participants from 43 countries.
Massage therapists applied online with their resumes and a teaser video of what style of massage they can do.
Jarabeck was one of only three Canadians picked to compete in eight categories. Those include sport therapy, facial massage and Thai massage.
She said there is no “special” training needed to compete because their everyday work is their training.
Jarabeck competed in the sport therapy category, where there were 42 competitors.
She said that was where she felt most comfortable because she has an extensive background working with high-level athletes.
“I worked with the Tour de France cycling athletes, I worked in Whistler with some of the big mountain freestyle skiers, the Iron Man in Hawaii, and the American windsurfing tour,” Jarabeck said.
She described this competition as very different than anything else she has done, as it was a timed event, all 42 therapists competed in the same room, with four judges circling and adding up points.
“The longest or shortest 65 minutes of my life, I’m not sure,” Jarabeck laughed. “But it pushes you.”
The judges are adding points to each person’s final score based on things like technique, interaction with the client, flow and special skills.
“There are seven different ways to massage the body,” Jarabeck explained. “Everybody can generally massage front to back, but you’ve got side-laying which completely opens the whole lateral side of the body, you can do semi fowlers, you can have people sitting, standing.”
She added you can collect points for those types of things because it’s something not every body ese can do.
Points can also be deducted for small procedural processes, including how the drape is sitting on the client.
Jarabeck said this is to really challenge those competing, adding it’s one of the most difficult things she has ever done.
“I do remember turning to the judges and thanking them and I was almost crying because I was so happy that I was able to really show what I could do,” she said.
Jarabeck placed fifth in her category. Something she is calling a big accomplishment for her first time competing.
“It’s almost surreal because you are there just doing what you love,” she exclaimed.
She documented her journey in Copenhagen in an online blog and plans to compete again in 2023.
“And see if I can win gold,” she laughed.
Jarabeck added since the competition has ended, some doors have opened for her – she will be working with Massage Therapy Canada on a podcast about the industry.