I recently had the pleasure of making a phenomenal business trip across the seas to join my business partner Laura Landsiedel in Auckland, New Zealand.  She has been there for a few months as part of the faculty and administration at the New Zealand College of Massage. She was invited to join the college as a guest instructor as they like having “world-class presenters who have been successful business and education leaders within our industry”.

Auckland is the largest and most populated city in the North Island of New Zealand.  This is the home to one of the locations of the New Zealand College of Massage, which has a Bachelor of Health Studies in Massage and Neuromuscular Therapy.

“This degree is a new benchmark for massage education, aligned with international education developments. It offers the best in evidence-based theories on structure and function of the human body; extensive exploration of the therapeutic relationship, ethical boundaries and the client as whole person; and a thorough grounding in research methods, principles and practice.”

– John Fiso, New England College of Medicine

While visiting, I had the opportunity to help teach and assist Laura in working with the students in the year two degree program. They were a lot of fun and eager to jump in and get some hands on while listening to our experiences with the career and running a business. This school’s curriculum has a large emphasis on research and clinical training and it was fascinating to explore the library and read some of the massage studies done by former students.  We can’t wait to bring back what we learn to increase awareness of massage and research and continue to grow an evidence based practice here a Hands On Health.  We see a future of further integration of massage and medicine and wish to one day see or participate in the development of a bachelor’s program here in the states. For now we are working on being a host for an international exchange program for post-graduate professionals so keep your eye out.  For more clarity on evidence based massage, take a look at the article below.



While visiting New Zealand, it wasn’t all about hard work and brainstorming. We had the opportunity to explore around many parts of the North Island and act like international tourists.  We first visited Muriwai Beach where we had the chance to see some volcanic black sand, gannets, beautiful cliffs and blowholes, surfers, fisherman and took a hike through the trails around the beach.

The Waitomo Caves were another exciting destination and very popular in New Zealand. We got to explore the 2 million years old limestone caves and learned about glowworms.  Afterwards we had the time to do some hiking and exploring of our own to find waterfalls, private caves and look out for all the green glowing worms out in nature.

It was heading into the fall and rainy season in New Zealand, following an extended summer.  We were ready to enjoy some warm waters so we planned a visit to Hot Water Beach in Coromandel.  This beach is well known for underground hot springs that filter up through the sand at low tide.  We didn’t have much time to enjoy this phenomenon but the coastline and the drive through the windy mountain roads was an experience.  Waiwera Thermal Resort and Spa was a little nugget of paradise we purposely found with natural thermal pools. We were more than happy to find a place we could relax and get our fix in of some warm hydrotherapy and relaxation!

Rotorua the “Sulphur City”, you can imagine the smell, was another great destination we visited. This place is made up of some cool geothermal activity of geysers and parks surrounding a beautiful lake.  We visited Kuirau Park to see hot bubbling mud pools with steam that fill an entire park area. Rainbow Springs Kiwi Wildlife Park was another local attraction that we had to see.  Kiwi birds are a national symbol of New Zealand so I could not leave without seeing one of these endangered and odd looking animals. Much to my surprise they are the size of a chicken, nocturnal with huge eggs.

Before I made it to New Zealand I was made aware of the fact it was the place for filming of the Lord of the Rings movies and the Hobbit.  For all the diehard fans, we made a trip out to “Middle Earth” aka Hobbiton to see the movie set tour and the gorgeous rolling landscape filled with sheep and angus cattle.  Pictures cannot recreate the beauty of this place on a farm out in the middle of nowhere.  It is interesting though to learn that this place is such an attraction to so many tourists, but none of the locals have an interest in visiting this particular spot.

Last but not least, Auckland was of course the home of where we spent the majority of our time.  Wow, what a neat city!  We walked and walked and walked around this city of many international cultures.  My favorite part was the harbors over looking hundreds of sailboats and yachts, guess that shows my love for the water thanks to my Florida roots.  So many beautiful views of gorgeous homes and unique topography, fancy shopping, all kinds of great dining topped with a jump off of the famous Sky tower.  Yes, I jumped off of the tallest structure in the southern hemisphere and the most iconic structure in the Auckland skyline.  It took 11 seconds and what a rush.  This is definitely the best business trip I will always remember.