Now is the time for Helen
An exciting journey into holistic massage
Helen lives in Bampton, Oxfordshire with her husband Pete and together they have two children. She began her professional career as a trainee nurse and went on to become a health visitor. As a mother to two small children she could relate to pressures facing new parents - even at that stage she recognised the benefits of administering a foot massage (learnt from her nursing training) to anxious patients. Her capacity to care for others continued throughout her career; providing support to the elderly and to teenagers. She somehow found the time to support her own teenage children and her mother-in law until she sadly died of Alzheimer’s in 2016. It was when her own children flew the nest for University that Helen recognised it was time for a change and time to decide what she really wanted to do.
“Massage came into my life following a horrid year with a chronic bad back/hip – and the need to get some pain relief. I was referred to an amazing physio who also did a fab line in massage – and the relief to my body and mind was immense! Time out of the busy life and with regular massage my back started to also ease. I started Pilates and gym work – haven’t got any slimmer - but I know that my muscles and core strength have improved immensely – and my back is totally fab!
“All my career I have been surrounded by friends, colleagues and clients who are ‘stressed out’, ‘unhappy’ and ‘too busy’ with life that their physical and mental well being was being damaged. I wanted to use my toolbox of skills honed over the years of support work and add to it with massage therapy.
“I wanted my own business where I could continue to learn new skills but could offer a positive contribution to others - and at the same time take control of my work life and build a business that I managed.
“I talked to others within the massage therapy industry; the Cotswold Academy was a name that kept coming up. In a very positive way!! I liked the ethos, the website, the friendliness of Olivia on the phone and the friendly, professional manner that I was met with when I ‘popped in’ to suss it out one Thursday evening.
I studied the ITEC level 3 massage therapy fast track course last autumn which was brilliant! I then went onto to a one day Deep Tissue Therapy course in March and from there my journey really began!
“Annette is amazing and so knowledgeable and put up with lots of questions. I had a fab group of students with me and we have stayed in touch, sharing and discussing our progress. We kept each other going when learning all those muscles, nerve pathways and all that A&P!!
“I qualified in February and then went to Tanzania for 6 weeks to volunteer at the Forever Angels Baby Home in Mwanza (www.foreverangels.org). This charity provides interim care for orphaned and abandoned children in Tanzania. The charity works closely with families, empowering them to care for their children in their home.
Whilst there they found me a massage table (?!) and I massaged the volunteers and some staff too – especially needed when the Land Rover got stuck on a muddy road and took 5 hours to dig out!! I also used gentle massage with the little babies and some of the disabled children, just some time out and positive touch. It was amazing to see the effect on some of the disabled children especially one extremely autistic and troubled little boy - he calmed, settled, smiled and RELAXED!
“Once home I have been busy massaging and setting up my own business. It’s a learning curve, and at times it feels HUGE – but I have returned from Tanzania with energy and drive and I feel passionately about my new career – and I know that I have tremendous support, not just from family and clients, but also from Chris, Annette, Olivia and all at the Cotswold Academy – I want to do them proud!!
“The best advice I can give anyone considering taking up massage is to be brave; be prepared to work hard; be kind – to yourself and your clients! Value what you do and this new profession you have entered. It takes commitment, time and money to become a therapist, so don’t undersell yourself...Always be professional. Keep learning and pass on that learning.
"I can’t believe the change in my life since ringing up Olivia last October – it’s been amazing! Hard work – but amazing and exciting!
“Going forwards I would like keep adding to my ‘tool box’ and undertake the hot stones qualification – I have clients of all ages and I think this is something that will appeal to most.
For details of Helen’s massage therapy head to her her lovely new website: www.helengrimwade.co.uk