Last updated: 01:52 PM ET, Tue August 25 2015

How Traveling the World Led to One Massage Therapist's Partnership with Hilton

Hotel & Resort | Ryan Rudnansky | August 24, 2015

How Traveling the World Led to One Massage Therapist's Partnership with Hilton

Photo courtesy of Hilton Worldwide

Before Hilton Worldwide chose massage therapist Sean Jordan to guide the revamp of its “eforea” spa concept, Jordan had already led a life worthy of a story in itself.

Jordan, in many ways, is an ideal fit in Hilton’s recent efforts to incorporate more ancient wellness philosophies and practices with eforea spa. He grew up in England, but was drawn to Buddhism because it came from an “alien,” “mysterious” and “faraway” culture. That led to him traveling to India and the Himalayas as a teenager.

“It was a complete culture shock,” Jordan said. “It was exactly what I wanted.”

While wandering the streets one day, he spotted an ad for a massage course that had its roots in Buddhism and spirituality. He decided to check it out. It was there that he was given a massage that would change the course of his life.

“I left his studio floating,” Jordan said. “I thought, if I can make people feel this good, it just feels right.”

Jordan ended up staying there for more than two years, while also sprinkling in trips to Taiwan and the Republic of China. His knowledge of ancient healing practices grew, and so did his fascination of Eastern methods and Chinese medicine. The “doctors” here weren’t just giving him a prescription to solve all his problems, he said. Instead, they were coming at it from a holistic perspective.

About seven years ago, Jordan crossed the pond and began working with hotels in Cancun. One day, one of his former students who was working at Waldorf Astoria Panama called him up to come check out the Hilton-owned property. It was there Jordan met Ryan Crabbe, the senior director of global wellness at Hilton Worldwide. Crabbe, who was impressed with the way Jordan was connecting with the Hilton team, became interested in Jordan and his work.

That led to Jordan’s most recent undertaking: to create and lead three “Journey Enhancements” for Hilton’s refreshed eforea spa menu.

The Journey Enhancements are 25-minute treatments based on ancient Eastern healing methods that focus on the feet; the head, face and shoulders; and the neck and scalp. But perhaps what distinguishes these treatments the most is the fact that they are designed to be just as therapeutic for the massage therapist as they are for the guest.

Jordan, who learned the techniques from his first teacher in the Himalayas, said it’s important for a massage therapist to be relaxed and energetic because that energy is ultimately transferred to the person receiving the massage.

“A therapist is really a conduit,” Jordan said. “If a therapist is distracted, if they’re bored, if they’re uninspired, then they aren’t going to give the best energy transfer that they can give.”

For the technique, the body mechanics of a therapist are essential. Therapists do anything from use their whole body weight during the massage to practically dance (yes, dance).

“This is important to help them unblock the channels in their own spines, to help their own energy flow better, to loosen up their hips,” Jordan said. “When the therapist is more energized and more flowing, their energy automatically is going to be passed on to the receiver.”

Jordan said the most rewarding part of being a massage therapist for him is having the opportunity to help people and—in some cases—transform their life.

“When someone comes to me and says, ‘You’ve really made a difference to me,’ that, to me, is the most rewarding thing about being a therapist," Jordan said.

“To me, massage should be something that we receive on a daily basis if possible,” Jordan added. “It’s one of the original healing techniques that we used as human beings. The human touch is such a vital aspect and it’s kind of been lost in our culture. You know, nowadays, people get a headache and the first thing they do is look for a pill to take instead of realizing that there are certain points that we can massage that can unblock the headache completely. Ancient healing, I believe, should be called original medicine rather than alternative medicine.”

Moving forward, Jordan will be traveling to eforea spas around the world — from Los Cabos to Istanbul — to guide Hilton’s wellness teams.

“Knowing these gifts are going to be given to thousands of guests around the world, it’s such a rewarding thing,” Jordan said. “I feel very fortunate to be a part of this.”



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