“Massage has literally taken me around the world.”

I’m Anthony Nayeli, LMT (MAT #12763 MAE #3297).

In my travels as a therapist I’ve met thousands and thousands of people, and done more than 10,000 hours of massage.

I first became interested in massage while living on an island in Ohio (yes there are a few small islands in Lake Erie, remnants of the time when the glaciers created the lake).
I had already been working in restaurants for 15 years, doing everything in the front of the house, working my way up from lowly busboy to manager. I had walked away from college when I couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to do with my life, I didn’t want to end up in so much debt for a career I had little faith in… So I worked restaurants making cash and having fun, and thought I would continue like that until I “found my thing.”

Yet because I am adopted, I felt as though I’d been given a rare chance in this life I should do more with my opportunity than tend bar and sell intoxicants for money. (I mean no insult against career bartenders, I just felt that because of my rare and lucky beginnings I felt obligated to repay debt of gratitude by doing something in service of life, or that promoted life, rather than profiting from measured doses of its undoing.

So I decided to move across the country and go to massage school.

After training at the Desert Institute of Healing Arts in Tucson, Arizona (The Desert Institute has since been absorbed by the Cortiva Institute, which apparently is now Steiner). Right out of school I started at the world famous Canyon Ranch Health and Fitness Resort in the foothills outside of Tucson. The providers in every department there were both skilled and experienced, so for me coming in green it was an intimidating and intense and gratifying and perfect environment in which to develop.

When that company opened their first spa aboard a cruise ship, I boarded the Queen Mary 2 during her maiden year.

I served as ambassador for the home property, and as Lead Therapist. So many memories! Some great, some not so great. I think I sailed to about 20 different countries in Europe, Scandinavia, Canada, and the Caribbean (someday when life slows down I will make an official count).

While aboard that ship I met “the guy,” and the guy invited me to be a part of the team to open their brand new spa in Bora Bora. “Sounds great!” we said, “Where’s Bora Bora?”

I then lived and worked in Tahiti for 5 years, having 2 sons born there. I served as Spa Director for 2 different luxury hotels: the Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort and the Hilton Bora Bora Nui. It was my pleasure to commute to the HBBN on my little boat, and my honor to be named Manager of the Year there.

I arrived in Honolulu in 2012, I know that Hawaii is where I’m supposed to be. Here I’ve worked at a bunch of places trying to find my ideal situation, most recently at the Nalu Spa at Turtle Bay, and Island Therapy in Kakaako. Turtle Bay is simply an amazing location, and during the time that I was with Maria at Island Therapy her place was named Best Massage in Honolulu by the Star Advertiser’s readers’ poll.

Helpful Massage and Bodyworks is the massage business my life and experience compelled me to create: in too many of my employment experiences I have received “coaching” from my superiors telling me that I had misplaced my priorities–that in the spa we don’t try to help people we just want to make them feel good.

I think this is wrong.

So I decided to create the kind of place where helping people is the priority, and this is it.

I’ve been blessed to work with some of the leaders in the industry who have shaped my perspective and approach to the work. 18 years working in luxury spas has given my massage a refined and beautiful flow. I brought a healthy amount of skepticism with me into this “alternative therapies” multiverse, which means that my treatments are always oriented around a very (“evidence based”+”results oriented”+”therapeutic benefit”) kind of perspective.

But who says therapy can’t be beautiful?

Anthony Nayeli


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