Local Massage Therapist Wins Big at 2021 World Championship Massage Tournament

Chaz Armstrong’s strong arms (and hands) have served him well in his career as a massage therapist. Armstrong got into the bodywork industry way back in 1997 and has been smoothing out kinks and knots in his clients ever since. Eight years ago, Armstrong stepped up his game. The Olathe pro masseuse says his goal was to work “with professional athletes and people whose profession depends on how well their body feels. That’s where my skills would be a huge asset,” he adds. “I started a quest that still continues.”


After repeatedly reaching out to the Kansas City Royals and the Kansas City Chiefs for an interview for their massage therapy positions, he repeatedly got turned down. “And every year—for the past eight years—I have gotten answers that really equal a ‘no’ from both organizations,” he says. “Their ‘no’s’ lit the fire I needed to better myself, because I know in my soul that I was the right person for the position. It’s my passion—and I’m damn good at it. So, I decided to sharpen my tools from a different blade.”

So, Armstrong started a YouTube page where potential clients and massage therapy students can watch his talent in action. And he traveled extensively to learn innovative, in-person techniques from “pros like James Walslawoski in Chicago, Benny Vaughn in Texas, and Erik Dalton in Costa Rica,” he says. “Now I’m using my combined knowledge and platform to become one of the elite massage professionals and educators in the bodyworker industry.”

In 2018, Armstrong took his newfound skills—on a wing and a prayer—to duke it out amongst the best of the best at the International Massage Association’s World Championships. “It’s a competition where massage therapists from around the globe compete for the title of world champion in massage,” he says. “I competed for the first time in 2018 and won a silver medal in my chair massage category. I came back in 2019 but left without a win that year. And, because of Covid, 2020 didn’t happen.”

Fast-forward to 2021, where the IMA World Championship returned to Copenhagen, Denmark. During the two-day, non-stop competition, judges would choose up to seven online therapists and seven on-site therapists to compete in the finals for the overall title of Best in Show. “Third time was the charm for me because not only did I qualify to compete in the finals (out of the 14 participants in the final round), but I also won the silver medal in the overall Best Massage in the World,” says Armstrong. “And I won my first gold medal in my category of chair massage!”

Armstrong says several factors helped propel him into the finals—and not just his hands-on talent. “They saw me bring original groundbreaking techniques and ideas to the competition, but I believe the judges were impressed with my experience and passion,” he says. “The also liked my innovative massage flow, professional demeanor, and the way I interacted with other participants.”

When we asked how nerve-wracking a massage competition really was, Armstrong was undaunted. “I couldn’t be nervous. It was my third time competing, and nervousness is for rookies. ‘This is what you do Chaz!’ is what I told myself,” he says. “Nerves can be controlled with rhythmic breathing—and a good hype playlist in your ear.”

With several new medals under his massage therapy belt, Armstrong is riding high. Known as Ninja Massage on YouTube, he plans to continue uploading his tutorial massage videos while tackling his expansive list of clients. “I do this for three reasons: first, to inspire other therapists to give their clients the best massage possible. Second, to let my new clients know what they can expect,” he says. “And third, to leave an imprint on my profession forever.”

And if 2021 wasn’t looking up, Armstrong says he’s already planning on becoming his own global enterprise in 2022. “I’m determined to travel throughout North America,” he says. “There will be a Massage Ninja 2022 Tour consisting of massage school guest appearances, weekend camping seminars, and I’ll serve as a media ambassador of the IMA competitions and my brand. Someday there will be Massage Ninja merchandise, a comic strip, and …” he pauses … “the sky’s the limit.”

Click here to find more about Armstrong’s local services. “I suggest people first check out my YouTube videos,” he says. “I am proof that therapeutic massage can be a valuable resource in alternative medicine. And it needs to be respected by hospitals and Insurance companies.”