A year in the life of a massage therapist

By Paola Bassanese


dial M for massage
Dial “M” for massage

2012 has been an intense and interesting year for massage and life in general.


The first couple of months of the year were mostly spent doing lymphatic drainage massage for clients who suffered from blocked sinuses and deep tissue massage to unlock tight shoulders.




Paola Bassanese’s 3D face scan

I also took the time to go on a meditation mini-retreat at Evolve in South Kensington; I had a 3D scan of my face at the Science Museum to help research into facial reconstruction surgery and build an image database.


I networked with other therapists from different disciplines and compared notes with them; I sometimes wrote guest blog posts for them and sometimes they wrote guest posts for my site.


February was all geared up towards Valentine’s Day and offering my massage workshops for couples, which are always a popular gift idea.

Paola Bassanese and Sarah Brown of Pai Skincare at Professional Beauty 2012

I attended the Professional Beauty Show and blogged about it; it was good to meet suppliers and the team at London College of Beauty Therapy. I had the pleasure of meeting Sarah Brown, founder of Pai Skincare (see her interview in the Conversations section).

During spring I developed my working relationship with Wahanda further by promoting a 2-4-1 special introductory massage offer for new clients and I also wrote a special report for Wahanda on the BABTAC Awards.


Trying a Dermaroller treatment at Clinica Fiore, yoga and a Parafango wrap at Embody Wellness, an Ayurveda massage with Rayasana and a Hydrotherm massage with Ben Barnett at Triyoga were some of the perks of my blogging role (I write for Wahanda and Kingsroad.co.uk amongst others).


Lunchtime classical music concerts near my work were another highlight of the spring-summer with an excellent programme of  concertos; one of my clients played at one of the concerts, it was a wonderful experience.


Lucien Freud at the Portrait Gallery in Trafalgar Square was a superb exhibition and learning about the sitting process taking months and the conversations Freud had with his models reminded me of the intensity of conversations with my massage clients during treatments.


The summer also was full of celebrations with the Queen’s Jubilee and the London Olympics and Paralympics. Words simply fail to describe the excitement and the energy that the Olympic and Paralympic Games brought to London; I was lucky enough to get tickets for the Paralympic Games and the events were unforgettable.


Inspired by the Games, I took on a challenge to find ways to exercise outdoors and blogged about it; I had so much fun researching different fitness classes and activities and I particularly enjoyed Street Pole, an athletic form of pole fitness training held outdoors.


The body combat marathon I joined as part of the challenge was also really enjoyable regardless of the hard work involved and it raised funds for an excellent cause.


More culture during the summer was provided by Opera Holland Park: a fabulous programme of operas in the park with the natural soundtrack of peacocks and other animals accompanying the music. I went to see Gianni Schicchi and Zanetto and blogged about it for Notting Hill and bumped into my massage client who was performing in the orchestra.


Even watching documentaries at the cinema made me think of massage: Marina Abramovich’s The Artist is Present and Nostalgia for the Light inspired a blog about the meaning of life and the Universe via massage.


It was also a privilege to meet the esteemed shoulder surgeon and specialist Dr Tony Kochhar, whom I have co-written articles with for the Huffington Post.


The summer also inspired me to add another treatment to my menu and went on a training course for detoxing body wraps and exfoliation; I decided to use Dead Sea mineral products from Ahava and reviewed them to provide first hand knowledge to others on their benefits and properties.


Getting media coverage was a key priority in the autumn and my PR organised a series of meetings with bloggers and journalists. You can see the media coverage on my dedicated press page.

Another highlight of the year was attending a special event at Shoreditch House Literary Salon hosted by Damian Barr where I listened to Clare Balding reading from her autobiography My Animals and Other Family and meeting her at her book signing.


Autumn was also accounts preparation time and the extra time spent on my computer wrecked my shoulders so I had regular osteopathic treatments to keep pain at bay.


With so much going on in London I find it hard to choose what to do and most importantly to find the time to do it; with the Frieze Art Fair in full swing, I only managed to see one exhibition (Undivided Light) but it was well worth it.


The BFI film festival was also excellent but with so many films to choose from I ended up only seeing two: one on the food industry called Canned Dreams and one about the Italian education system called The Red and the Blue.


paola bassanese at the london lifestyle award finalist in the health and beauty category
Paola Bassanese with the Freedom Bar Soho team and finalist Emmanuel Gray, picture credits Emmanuel Gray

It was also awards season and I was a finalist at the London Lifestyle Awards; the winner in my category was Chuan Spa at the Langham but I was proud to make it to the final. I also attended the Camden and Islington Business Awards which provided an excellent networking opportunity.


The last part of the year was also amazingly good for contemporary dance: I was mesmerised by Michael Clarke Dance Company at the Barbican Theatre and Wayne McGregor Dance Company at the Royal Opera House.


I danced my gluteus maximus off at the Slave 2 the Vibe launch party in November and established a collaboration with them.


I went on further business training to improve my planning skills and I am thankful for the excellent advice provided at the British Library IP Centre: I really recommend it for anyone who is starting a business activity or wants to plan for growth like me.


The end of the year is all about the gift of relaxation: I am offering gift vouchers on my website as they make the perfect Christmas present.


With that and a renewed interest from fellow therapists of my business and marketing coaching services, 2012 has been a busy and interesting year.



Thank you all for your continued support and here’s to a fantastic 2013!