THE MAGIC TOUCH: Malaysian in London puts to good use what his Penang grandma taught him
AS a 7-year-old boy, Fazil Omar diligently tagged along with his grandmother, a village midwife making her rounds in her kampung; his keen eyes taking in everything she did from the art of easing tensed muscles to fixing dislocated joints.
It wasn't long before the student of Kampung Kastam School in Penang, realised that he, too, had the magic touch and was doing foot massages and graduated to giving full-body treatment by the age of 15.
This grandson of Mami Cik Som then knew he had found his niche in life; one that saw him being flown in private jets to treat royal clients in faraway places and coming face-to-face with some famous personalities he had only seen making the headlines in the media.
But as a professional, 50-year-old Fazil or more commonly known as Nana to his regulars, is understandably tight-lipped about his famous clients. One even rewarded him with a trip to see the Baitulmaqdis.
Others will send over their limousines to take him to their mansions, or suites for the special Fazil treatment.
Suffice to say, like some Malaysians who seek his expertise whenever they are in London, his other clients from other corners of the world too fought for space in his busy schedule.
With whatever little he had learnt from his grandmother, Fazil was determined to carve a career for himself in this field.
In 1991, he visited London and became interested in aromatherapy. He went back to raise money for his studies and returned to study aromatherapy at the City Lit in London. He then continued doing Sports Science at Westminster College.
"My first job was with the National Health Service as a trainee physiotherapist at Charing Cross Hospital," he said of the beginning of his career.
Fazil had worked at the Hilton London's Health Club where many important names from all over the world stayed and sought his expertise. He had also worked for the Chelsea Harbour Club as a spa consultant, which was a lucky break in his career for it was in this private club that he met many people who saw his potential. He was there from 2004 until 2010 when he left to join the Olympics foundation team as a physiotherapist.
During his career with the Chelsea Harbour Club, Fazil helped with the preparation of Chelsea footballers before each game, ensuring that they were fit and in good form.
Anyone with injuries during the games would also go to him for treatments.
"Usually, a week before a game, all players are required to undergo physiotherapy to ensure that they are in top form," said Fazil, who is qualified in the field of anatomy and physiology.
In his treatment, Fazil expertly combines the knowledge acquired from his grandmother and the skills he acquired from his training here.
Now, he has expanded his skills to brewing his own brand of tea, which he gives to his clients before and after treatment. He also makes his own essential oils.
"My experience at the spa taught me about stress. I mix my own tea for handling stress, for blood circulation and also for detox using various herbs. People in the city do not have time to pamper themselves. They do not know how to relax."
Fazil is now a freelance sports therapist who has come a long way from the village where he acquired the skills from his late grandmother. He considers this a gift from his beloved grandmother that had enabled him to see the world and meet important and famous people, with the talent that he literally has at his fingertips. By Zaharah Othman