From Modern back to Traditional Medicine Massage: César Tejedor & Camilla Ilves Make a Perfect Tag Team


Camilla Ilves









1. Tell us a bit more about you and your practice as it is today? i.e. are you a solo practitioner or a business owner? If solo, what kind of an establishment do you work for, how large is it, what is the clientele like, what is the specialty offered? If it is a business that you own, kindly include the same time of relevant information that will give the reader a good idea about your establishment/practice. Please also include where you live and work?

César Tejedor: I started my practice as a physical therapist in different hospitals and rehabilitation centers, practicing modern medicine (biomedicine), working especially with the elderly, young cerebral palsy patients, and treating spinal column diseases.

During one of my trips to Asia and by accident, I discovered the traditional medicines and massages, and I realized that my practice lacked the aspects of mind and energy, as I had been focusing only on the physical body all these years . After my trip, I decided to leave my job as a physical therapist and teacher, and I started travelling and studying traditional medicines and massage therapies all around Asia (Thailand, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Little Tibet, China, etc.).

As a result of this, I have written 19 training books on massages and treatments deriving from Ayurveda, Tibetan medicine, sound healing, Thai massage, etc.

Today, I am the Founder and CEO of Massage Around the World, an organization that offers training services in the form of online courses (approved for continuing education) as well as pre-essential courses in holistic massage modalities rooted in traditional medicines from all around the world.

Lately I combine my work at Massage Around the World with the development of my own technique called VibraHealing, that combines massage, singing bowls, meditation, music therapy and chromotherapy. A wonderful thechnique with amazing results.

Camilla Ilves: I´m the Co-Founder of Massage Around the World, we provide training services for massage therapists, massage schools, Spas and Wellness facilities worldwide. So for example we provide online courses with Continuing Education credits on a variety of massage modalities such as Tibetan Singing Bowl massage, Tibetan KuNye Massage, Indian Head Massage, Traditional Thai Massage, etc., for LMT´s , RMT´s and other massage therapists who want to keep learning and diversifying their practice with original modalities.

We also provide on-site training for Spa staff or massage schools on an on-demand basis. Our company provides services worldwide, but myself I am based between the Canary Islands and Madrid (Spain) and Helsinki (Finland). I am new to the Canary Islands but I must say that the warm climate and constant sunshine allows me to enjoy the outdoors a lot more than before, and brings me positive energy!

2. Tell us why you chose to go into massage and at what point in your life did you decide to do so? What were you doing at the time? Where did you first hear about the massage career? What factors influenced your decision? What were you looking to get out of this decision?

César Tejedor: When I was 18 years old I knew that I wanted to help others and that I wanted to be in touch with people, so I decided to look for social or medical studies in different universities. In the end I decided to go for physical therapy, as it is a very dynamic work (I am very active) in which you can be in touch with people and help them at the same time.

It was the perfect match for me. As I told you before, I started focusing my career on rehabilitation, that is not very much related with massage…but as I always loved massage practice I started teaching massage to Spa staff, and that way I was more involved with the massage practice. After my first trip to Asia, I just fell in love with massage, and since then I have been practicing and teaching massage therapists and Spa staff in more that 40 different massage techniques.

Camilla Ilves: Having a husband and friends that are physical therapists and massage therapists, I have been surrounded by massage and beauty for several years. Instead of starting practicing massage myself, however, I felt that I could contribute more in other areas to this wonderful profession.

So I chose to focus on my area of specialty: customer care, stressing the importance of how you meet and treat your clients also “off the massage table”. Apart from the treatment itself, that of course is key for creating a positive experience, factors such as how you greet the client, what you offer him or her, how the venue is decorated, what plays in the background, etc., all contribute to the overall experience, and this attention to detail is something you don´t see everywhere. So I guess that my personal quest is to improve customer experience in the massage scene.

3. What were some of your questions and concerns before further pursuing your massage therapy goals? Talk about concerns with school and the profession itself.

As a physical therapist and a teacher, I always was worry about the theoretical part of the massage practice. I know that everyone wants to focus on the practice, but as the oriental proverb says “theory without practice is absurd, and practice without theory is dangerous”, I believe that theory is a crucial part of any massage therapy.

Many massage teachers and schools do not teach the theoretical foundations properly, and this is something that I have always been concerned about. Talking about the profession itself, I have also been keen on studying the effectiveness of the massage practice…why a certain technique might produce great benefits to one client but not another?

What factors determine the effectiveness of the technique itself? How can we adapt the massage to each individual according to his or her needs? These are some of the questions that I need my students to be clear on when learning a new massage modality and before starting the practice.

4. What is your specialty and what are the top three contributing factors to your success today?

My specialty is to have a very open mind and a wide variety of knowledge, from the most scientific and modern medicine to the most traditional therapies.

The 3 factors of my success are:

• I like to see each individual as a unique being, that is composed of body, mind and energy. If one of these three levels is affected, the other two will definitely be affected sooner or later. This means that depending on the imbalance the client suffers from or what aspect you want to work on, the treatment needs to cover the 3 levels of the human being in a different %, sometimes focusing more on the physical body, another time on the energy being, etc.

• Apart from simply observing the client/patient, I also like to take into account his or her environment, diet, physical and mental activity, lifestyle, and everything else that is directly or indirectly affecting his/her life quality. All this information will allow me to tailor the treatment to the client´s needs.

• I use my treatment room to work on my clients, but in order to offer a truly holistic and sustainable experience, I guide the client to practice it even post-treatment. I try to give recommendations concerning lifestyle, habits, diet, meditation, etc. I truly believe that the client/patient should be an active part of the healing process in order to achieve better and long-lasting results.

5. What do you like about your specialty? What do you like about what you do in general as a career? Why?

I like to help people to open their mind in order to be healthy and happy. Your health is not a product that you can buy and consume when you need it, your health is a precious treasure that you should care for on a daily basis. I like to share with people that modern medicine and ancient healing systems can compliment each other perfectly and that the combination of them leads to the best results.

6. What do you not like about what you do? Why?

One of my dreams is to see how Doctors, LMTs, RMTs, BWs, Physical Therapists, etc., would work in the same hospital or massage center together with Tibetan doctors, Ayurvedic practitioners, traditional Chinese doctors, etc, as a multidisciplinary team.

We, at Massage Around the World, try to preserve and spread the awareness of traditional medicines and massages all around the world, to make the people aware of that there is more than one way of doing things.

7. If there were three things you could change about your work or the industry as a whole what would they be? Why would you change them? What would you change them to?

• To make people understand that we are body, mind and energy. If we only focus our treatments on the body we will not cover the whole being.

• We are our being and our environment. So we should look further to find all the answers.

• Unity and diversity equals power, so lets all work together, because we all share the same target: Health.

8. How long do you plan to practice and what do you plan to do after?

Massage is not something that you can do and stop doing. When you really feel passion for massage and medicine, you will feel it forever. Similarly to musicians who will make music until they die, no matter if they make money or not. I am a massage practitioner and I will be a massage practitioner until a die, even if life tries to guide me elsewhere.

9. Do you currently have another job or business whether full time or part time? Tell us a bit more about it and how you are able to juggle that with your massage career?

All my life spins around the same subjet: MASSAGE. But I work in a wide variety of projects such as the online massage courses and hands-on courses from Massage Around the World, my own massage practice, publishing books and articles, promoting massage practitioners from India, Tibet, Nepal, Thailand, China, giving Spa training and consultancy… So I´m involved in many projects all related to massage.

10. What are some mistakes you made in your career pursuit that you’d like to warn other students about so they can learn from your experience and avoid it?

Be open minded, and try before you judge. Never stop learning new subjects, new techniques, new philosophies. Try to travel, try to experience as many new techniques as you can, try to keep learning, read, observe, take courses, visit conferences, go on lectures, use internet as a working tool. And last but not least, be open to see the human body as an entity, we are not only flesh and bones….we are much more.

11. What would you advice someone who is looking at massage therapy schools? What do you recommend they look for and how? How do you recommend they determine whether the school is the right one for them?

Do not believe in everything that you hear or read. Buddha himself encouraged his pupils to question his teachings, to use their power of reasoning, and to experiment first in order to then believe.

Try to look for references before you choose this or that school, look at the teacher´s background and studies, and do not trust in google to choose one. To be well positioned on google is not a guarantee for quality. Ask for references and experiences, and pray for good luck. Sometimes it is also a matter of luck!

12. What do you recommend for someone who wants to go to massage school but cannot afford it?

As I said before, there are many ways of studying massage, using books, the internet, visiting conferences, enrolling in online massage courses or home study massage courses…and so on. Ideally, you would travel to Tibet to study the Tibetan KuNye massage from a Lama, in a beautiful temple surrounded by the Himalayan mountains, but sometimes this is difficult for many reasons (time, money, language, cultural differences, etc.), and, unfortunately, traveling to Tibet does not always ensure a high-quality teaching.

More than once, I have spent a lot of money and time to travel to some isolated place to learn a traditional technique, and after 4 airplanes and 3 hours of taxi, I have found a bad quality school or a teacher unable to speak proper English….and that is why I always say that the first step to learning a new technique should be close, easy and cheap. M

y recommendation is always to go step by step. Do not jump directly to Tibet from zero….first, read about the massage therapy, visit local conferences or congresses or listen to them on internet, then buy some books, make an online course, learn all the theory, and start practicing, and once you are 100% sure that you like the technique and that you want to go further, then you will be ready to travel to Tibet.

13. What are your three biggest points of advice for an aspiring massage therapist today? What should they do/not do? What should they think about and consider?

Ask you these 3 questions before you decide to become a massage therapist:

• Am I able to see others suffering?

• Could I live touching and feeling others peoples bodies (and endure the smell of sweat, touch their feet, feel the fat or bony structure, etc.)?

• Am I a compassionate person, do I act with love and kidness, do I love to help others?

If you said yes to the last 3 questions then you should:

• Open your mind.

• Be aware that many times you will be working with people who are suffering, try to show empathy.

• Each person is unique and should be treated that way.

• Each person is body, mind and energy.

• Illness can be produced by internal factors such as body, mind or energy, or by external factors such as lifestyle, environment, diet, etc. Sometimes to see clearly is to look from the distance.

• Never stop learning…. never stop growing.

14. Any open thoughts / comments – anything else that you’d like to share about yourself, the massage industry, profession, future, etc? If nothing, make one prediction for the future of massage?

César Tejedor: “The future of massage is in your hands” Lets work together as one!

Camilla Ilves: Once again I would like to stress the importance of customer care, the look and feel of the massage treatment room/massage center and the stimulation of the five senses before, during and after the treatment. Don´t only give a massage to your customers, provide them with an experience that they will never forget!

Think about yourself, would you return to a massage center that smelled humid, was poorly decorated, where no one offered you a beverage, where the massage therapist was talking with her colleague during the massage, where you were rushed out of the treatment room after the massage…?

I´m quite sure you would not. So keep in mind that treating your clients well and giving them that wow-experience will have them coming back to you and recommending you to their friends!

15. What is your passion outside of massage? What are your hobbies and interests which you pursue when you are not working? Tell us why you enjoy what you enjoy.

César Tejedor: I love studying, enjoying family time, playing guitar and singing, diving, snowboarding, gastronomy and wine, writing and reading, jazz-opera-electro all type of music, movies, traveling, I love people, …visiting Spas and receiving treatments.

Camilla Ilves: I am passionate about yoga, mindfulness, nutrition and sound healing. Well, basically I am into anything that makes me feel good and provides me with positive energy. I begin my workday with the practice of yoga and Pranayama and end it with yoga Nidra. All these practices bring peace and balance to my life. I also enjoy being surrounded by family and friends and spend my leisure time with them.

César Tejedor (CEO) and Camilla Ilves (Customer Experince Manager) are the Founders of Massage Around the World, an organization that offers training in holistic massage techniques through online and on-site courses as well as integral Spa training services. César has written 19 training books on various massage and beauty techniques and trained Spa staff and therapists in multiple modalities. Today César combines his activity as a Spa trainer and consultant, researcher and publisher within the area of traditional and alternative medicine, with his role as CEO of Massage Around the World. Camilla has vast experience in customer relations, communication and business development on an international level, and she is passionate about yoga, sound healing and meditation. She is keen on spreading the awareness and study of holistic massage modalities and supporting massage therapists in customer care and communication. You can learn more about Massage Around the World or reach César and Camilla on their website here.

Neal Lyons is a founding member and volunteer contributor at the MTSI Institute, an information based portal dedicated to guiding and assisting aspiring massage therapists establish a successful career in massage. Neal is a published author and has collaborated on several mobile applications that serve the massage profession. You can view his published work on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Sony and Kobo. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and on Google+

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