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Photo: Facebook/International Massage Association
Travis Knuth, (Gold), Tracey Windmill, (Silver) and Jonathan Grassi, (Bronze) with judge Joe Lavin

In a contest truly filled with tension and pressure, a Howard Beach native took on massage therapists from across the globe and brought home the bronze medal in an international competition in Denmark.

Jonathan Grassi, a board-certified massage therapist, came in third place in the freestyle massage category of the World Massage Championship in Copenhagen. Organized by the International Massage Association, over 120 massage therapists from around the world came to participate in the two-day event.

“My clients are the inspiration for my work,” Grassi said. “I wanted to compete in the World Massage Championship so that I could give them the best bodywork possible in the world.”

Competitors are judged based on technique, ergonomics, flow, innovation and client contact. The massage recipients give their own evaluations for consideration. Grassi reportedly demonstrated techniques that were new to many of the judges.

“Jonathan is technically excellent. He’s impeccable, actually,” said Joe Lavin, western freestyle category head judge at the event. “I believe what separated him from the rest was the connection he established with his client, as well as his focused and caring attention specifically on the client, seemingly ambivalent to the chaos of the competition around him.”

“Everyone was outstanding and it was an honor to be among them,” Grassi said.

A graduate of  Flushing’s Townsend Harris High School in 2002, Grassi went on to study at the Finger Lakes School of Massage in upstate New York. He later went on to complete advanced training at the Massage Therapy Institute of Colorado, the Institute for Phenomenal Touch and the Colorado School of Somatic Studies.

With over 2,500 hours of body-centered training under his belt, Grassi currently runs Bodywork for Liberation in Lafayette, Colorado, where he is a Phenomenal Touch Master Instructor and mentors massage therapists

“Whether people have physical pain, the need for relaxation, or desire somatic awakening, massage has so much to offer,” Grassi said. “How people receive massage can actually make a difference in their therapeutic experience.”

For more information on Grassi and his practice, visit BodyworkForLiberation.com.

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