We are well into the January blues! The weather is awful, our purses are empty and it’s a daily battle to fit into any pre-Christmas clothes!
This week we chat to Sandra Hope, owner of Essential Thyme and master of all things tranquil including massage and aromatherapy treatments! So don’t let the January blues follow you round for the rest of the year, make 2015 the year of the more relaxed you!
What kind of therapies does Essential Thyme offer?
The therapies I currently offer are: Clinical Aromatherapy, Thai foot Massage, Indian Head Massage, Warm Bamboo Massage, Crystal Tranquillity, Hands Free Massage, Deep Tissue Massage, Myofascial Release, and Trigger Point Release.
I am training in the following disciplines in January and February 2015: Neal’s Yard Signature Body Therapy, Neal’s Yard Signature Facial Therapy, Bellabaci Cupping and Langellotti Tri-Therapy. Also, during 2015, I will be attending courses to advance my massage skills and concentrating on certain areas of the body such knee & ankles, or Hips & lower back as well as advance stretching.
What made you get into massage and therapies?
I have always had an interest in massage and taking a holistic approach to health care, I took the opportunity to retrain in this field when I moved up to Newcastle in 2010, I had previously been working for an Event Management company and was looking for a change in career. I have always enjoyed helping people and by using massage. I have seen how it can help benefit people both physically and mentally.
Why did you what to set up your own business, instead of just working for an established spa?
While I was studying I was volunteering for a Newcastle charity offering low cost massages to people, towards the end of my course. The charity made the decision to close due to lack of funding and I was able to take over the client base, I used this to help start me off self-employed. I had thought about working for an establish spa but felt that the kind of therapies I wanted to be offering would not fit in with a spa, as I was/am offering therapies to help with maintaining a balanced health and use the massage/aromatherapy oils to help with clients ailments, whereas from my experience from established spa’s the therapists are only able to offer the basic standard massage that has been booked, say a back massage and do not deviate from this, whereas the massage I offer are tailored completely to the client on that day as with the oil blends I make. I tend to work based on clients booking in an allocated time say 30, 45, 60 or 90 minutes and we decide what areas of their body they feel they would like work on that day, rather than saying you are booked in for a back massage so that the only area I can massage.
What is your most popular therapy and why?
At the moment, the most popular therapy would be a mix between Aromatherapy, Back massage and a Thai Foot massage. Partly because I have been running a promotion on this of late, but also people think if they are booking a massage they immediately consider the back, but usually the feet are neglected and if you think what your feet go through in a day to get you around they could do with some massage time. People are surprised how relaxed and refreshed they feel after having a Thai Foot massage! This involves a mixture of massage, pressure points and stretching and work on the feet and up to the knee area, but does feel like you have been working the whole body as the person relaxes during the session. As for the Aromatherapy back massage, I blend a mixture of essential oils that will benefit the client on that day so if they need help with concentration I might use Rosemary or Basil, or if they are feeling tried and need waking up I might use Lime; each of the oils have a different use. Clients have commented they like having a blend of oils made just for them and how it can change on each visit.
You also offer a 10 week programme called “Breathe Happier’. What does it involve and what type of people benefit from the programme?
The breathe happier programme uses a mixture of peer to peer massage, with breathing techniques and educating people on the effects of stress and how it affects our bodies both mentally and physically. The programme promotes positive touch, increases communication skills and hand eye co-ordination as well as listening skills.
Recently we taught this programme to a Gateshead Infant School and had 90 pupils ranging from 5-7 years old. In sessions we interact with the children learning the peer to peer massage strokes (each one is named after an animal), we talk to them about stress and how it makes you feel, then offer them ways to cope with the breathing exercises if they feel stressed. At the end of the programme they presented a showcase to their parents/carers where a special story had been writing about a day in a zoo with all the animals from the massage moves and each time they heard the animal name they performed the massage move.
We also ran the same programme but slightly more in depth for some of the Teaching Assistants and they really enjoyed it and started to see why some children (and or adults) might be reacting or playing up when it could be linked to something else going on in their lives. They were also more relaxed themselves with some of the breathing exercises we showed them.
This programme can be developed for any age group or organisation.
The ‘Breathe Happier’ programme sees you collaborate with another local business, Next Steps- Learning for Life. Why do you think it is important for small businesses to support each other and work together?
I think it’s great to work with other small businesses as you are not able to offer all the skills yourself that you might need! Next Steps-Learning for Life facilitates workshops and runs training with schools where as I have not had any experience with this side of things, however I have the skills of the peer to peer massage and relaxation skills, so by coming together we are able to offer a package that is much better than if it’s just one of us. Also I find that with working with another person they can help develop ideas you have and come at things from a different angle, which I might not have thought of as it can be a lonely job working for yourself. Also you never know what contacts the other person might have which could open lots of doors for each of you.
Essential Thyme also sells organic products. Tell us more about what you offer
I am an independent consultant for Neal’s Yard Organic products. They are a British company, started over 30 years ago down in Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden, London. The company has grown over the years and the products are made in their eco-factory in Dorset. All the products are organic and are not tested on animals.
I use the products in my therapies and in January 2015 I am training in their Signature Body & Facial therapies. I also sell the products via my dedicated website (https://uk.nyrorganic.com/shop/essential_thyme) and can arrange to host parties in your own home with different themes, the current theme is Winter Wellness which looks at supplements, herbal teas, and Inner and outer health. These parties can be themed to anything you would be interested in.
If a client wanted a session for relaxation, what treatment would you recommend and why?
It depends on what the client needs the relaxation for, if it’s just for time out and wants to chill I might suggest an Aromatherapy Massage with a blend of oils that will help with relaxation. However if they want to relax but are full of tension I might suggest trying a Hands Free (using my forearms instead of hands to massage), or Warm Bamboo with a mix of the myofascial/trigger point release therapy. By trying to get rid of built up tension this will help aid relaxation and loosen the muscles – if the muscles are relaxed then a person can relax even more. Some of my clients tell me just by lying on my massage couch they start to feel relaxed already
Where do you see Essential Thyme being in 5 years time?
In 5 years’ time I see Essential Thyme having grown with a larger client base, offering a new range of therapies to help people help themselves and have a full holistic wellbeing, this being other massage techniques as well as meditation/mindfulness and other relaxation techniques which clients can take away and use in-between massage appointments.
I would love to be in my own premises and possibly employing or renting out space to other like-minded therapists so that we can be available to more people. Also, I would like to develop the Breathe Happier programme further and have this running in a range of schools, work places and community centres.
As well as educating people that massage will benefit your health and should be booked regularly and it’s not just a thing you have when you have an ache or pain or want to pamper yourself.
To find out more head to this address – firstname.lastname@example.org