(A short article based on a presentation to Spa therapists)

I wanted to give you a brief overview of how massage changed my life and gave me a career I never thought possible.

It all started when I went back to education at the age of thirty. It was something I found quiet challenging as I had low levels of literacy skills having left school at the age of 14 (I also discovered I had dyslexia and ADHD).

But once I got started, I became obsessed with education, and found my passion in massage as a result of a sporting injury.

It wasn’t long before my passion turned into an obsession and I became fascinated with how massage had a positive impact on the physical and mental wellbeing of people – and I thought to myself ‘I want to teach this to others”.

There was no grand plan or strategy, I was just doing what I was passionate about. But it was incredible what happened once I start believing I would be teaching others.

All of a sudden I was approached by local clubs to train their coaches and mentors in sports massage – and before I knew it – The Waverley Academy was born.

It all happened so quickly, and within two years of starting I had five training centres with students coming from all over Ireland to train as massage therapists. At this point I had registered as an ITEC training provider and was able to offer international qualifications.

However, the administration was becoming a big workload and it wasn’t one of my strong points – but I was lucky – as my partner Veronica was looking to change jobs .

She started helping out at the Academy part-time and quickly fell in love with massage. So she trained as a massage therapist – left her job – and started fulltime. From that day onwards we never looked back.

Massage soon became a big part of our lives, and it wasn’t long before we added sports massage, Indian head massage and hotstones massage.

Fast forward 20 years, and we are now one of Irelands leading providers of massage therapy, beauty therapy, hairdressing, fitness instruction and teacher training courses. We’ve also had 22 family members work in the businesss and more than 7,500 students have trained with us.

We have also been fortunate enough to have some of the top trainers in the country join us as a result of our teacher training programme. And to top it all – Veronica and myself got married along the way 🙂

I still cant believe how massage changed my life. I never could have imagined when I started back in education at the age of thirty it would turn out like this.

But sometimes you have to go with your gut – and see where it takes you.

Derek O Kelly

Education Manager The Waverley Academy

Founder Winning Minds Movement