KELLEY COSTIGAN, MSma, MISRM
I have been doing massage in its simplest form since I was a child. My late grandmother suffered from a painful back and for some reason, she thought I would be good at finding the knots and smoothing them out. Somehow, she was right. I seemed to have an instinct for locating sources of tension and massaging them away. It became something of a family legend and later when I went to drama school, I would regularly perform shoulder rubs on my fellow performers before we'd go on stage.
I still act when the opportunity presents itself, and know the physical issues associated with actors, dancers, and other performers. I'm also a theatre director (Blood & Thunder Theatre Company); a performance combatant (I trained with Midlands-based STAGEFIGHT Ltd); a fencer (I fence Epee & I'm the Chair of Cocks Moors Woods Fencing Club in Kings Heath, Birmingham); a pole dancer (I trained with Warwickshire-based Pole Sensations); and a trainee stunt person (currently training with Mark Johnston of Movieworks International). I am also a student of HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) with The School of the Sword in Oxford, where I study the fight manual of Fiore de Liberi and currently train in Mediaeval Longsword. In order to survive financially, I have also worked in offices as a personal assistant (so I know all about sitting at a desk in front of a computer). After my last office role was made redundant in 2013, I decided it was time to study formally what I had been doing informally for many years.
I obtained a BTEC Level 5 Professional Diploma in Clinical Sport & Remedial Massage Therapy and an Institute of Sport & Remedial Massage (ISRM) Certificate in Sport & Remedial Massage Therapy from the Oxford School of Sports Massage (OSSM) in November 2014. The BTEC Level 5 is currently the highest professional qualification for sports & remedial massage in the UK and the minimum requirement for working as a soft tissue expert with elite athletes. I continue to attend workshops and classes in order to learn new techniques and to keep up my current ones.
While training, I have worked with the Stratford-upon-Avon Rugby Club and the Birmingham and Solihull Rugby Club (the Bees). I have also done event work with Marc Kaiser of Kaiser Sports (& Star Massage) (Wiggly Cycle Events and Mad Hatter Cycling Events) and with Chris Chesterman of Back2Best (Gherkin Challenge for the NSPCC).
I am also very pleased to be a member of the Sports Massage Association (SMA), the Institute of Sport & Remedial Massage (ISRM), and to be on the Accredited Register for the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). I am insured (devised & arranged) by BALENS and underwritten by Zurich Insurance plc.
There are several reasons for this. I was born in the Year of the Dragon, and the dragon is the only mythological creature in the Chinese Zodiac. They are reputed to be forces of nature and said to be very wise. I hope that I have gained some wisdom through my many life experiences and can bring the knowledge I have learned during my training to good use.
Another reason for the name: it is one of my nicknames. I'd like to think that it is because I'm a bit flamboyant and strong-willed, and not because anyone thinks I am fierce. I certainly don't protect any hidden golden treasure and, as it is a good trait to have in winter, I have now learned how to eat and breathe fire (courtesy of The Fire School, London).