Health, fitness and massage are well engrained in the Wallis family psyche. Driven by their passion for the human body, Theo and Matthew Wallis opened their sports massage therapy clinic, The Muscle Mechanics, in 2014 — and their business is growing from strength to strength.

After travelling abroad, Theo returned to his hometown and was ready for a new challenge. Surrounded by health, fitness and entrepreneurship their entire lives, the brothers’ had numerous role models, so becoming business owners felt like the natural next step.

Theo had previously been living in Bali, running a yoga studio and holistic centre. This laid the foundation of what was to come and set him in good stead for his next business venture.

“Running the yoga studio taught me that anything is possible. I love the process of developing a business from a dream to a fully thriving system.”

Customer of the Week: The Muscle Mechanics

Returning to Dunedin, he and Matthew had an opportunity to start learning deep-tissue massage from their uncle, David Baillie. In preparation for the launch, the brothers spent 8 months doing a physical apprenticeship with their uncle, before studying at The Lotus College in Dunedin.

Their preliminary training consisted of meeting with David to receive a massage before swapping from client to therapist to immediately repeat the same treatment.

“We trained hands-on, which was a great way to learn.”

When David decided to give up his lease in the city and move his practice home, he suggested the brothers move in and set up shop. The idea of business ownership felt right for Theo and Matthew. Albeit out-of-the-blue, they knew that had to jump at the opportunity and take a leap of faith.

From signing the lease, it was all hands on deck. The brothers completed their training courses and the fit-out for the Dowling Street studio within months. The Muscle Mechanics was born.

“We started the business as practising students, and haven’t stopped learning since.”

Alongside their uncle David, Matthew and Theo had multiple mentors and fitness professionals whom they could call on for advice. These friendships and contacts not only helped them get on their feet, but they’ve also helped to sustain their business.

Their client base is continuously growing, and many of their customers were referrals from other health professionals in their networks such as physiotherapists, osteopaths and chiropractors.

Customer of the Week: The Muscle Mechanics

The success of the business doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Adventure sports and wellness have been an integral part of their lives.

“When you’re involved in an industry that you’re truly passionate about, opportunities will arise. You have to, yourself, love what you do.”

Although ‘sports’ therapists, the team deal with all walks of life and work with desk bound professionals, injured individuals, musicians, trades-people, occasional gym goers as well as recreational and professional athletes.

“We look at exercise-load, posture, injury history and workload to get to the root of anything that is affecting our clients’ musculoskeletal systems.”

Sports massage therapy is a growing profession and is becoming better understood due to sports celebrities and social media. Hailing from a small city in New Zealand, Theo admits the profession has a way to go before mainstream society truly understands the benefits of the practice.

A large part of gauging an awareness for sports massage is practising what you preach, and for the brothers, this comes in the form of self-care. Business ownership has given them the flexibility to do the things they love — spending time in the great outdoors, in the gym or with friends and family. They stay healthy, fit and mobile and receive massage therapy themselves once a week.

“It’s about balance … if we’re working with people, it’s really important to be fairly stress-free and have a clear head. We can’t come in here all stressed out and put that on our patients.”

For them, massage therapy is a vital element of upholding a happy and optimal lifestyle.