This month we meet Gaynor Thomas, a Reiki Master that I had the pleasure to meet (and enjoy a sublime treatment with) recently at her home ‘Root to the Soul’
Tell me, what got you started with holistic therapies?
I took up Reiki many years ago because a friend was doing it. I’d enjoyed a treatment with her and felt it would be something I’d like to do myself. So I passed my degree in 2009 followed by the Masters in 2010. I also did some first degree teaching. Alongside all of this I was building up my practice doing treatments with family and friends.
I know you’ve been practicing full time for just over a year, what were you doing before that?
I worked in a private hospital for 12 years as a Support Services Manager, responsible for 40 staff in total. Alongside the job I also held wellbeing days for staff where I’d provide treatments to help them with relaxation. To be honest I preferred doing the treatments to my actual job!
So what made you decide to become a full time practitioner?
There were a few circumstances that led to it. Firstly, I was working very long hours which was making me feel poorly, I began losing my hair. I was also not sleeping well and that had a massive impact on me. Things at work weren’t going well; there was a high staff turnover which was upsetting everyone’s morale and I simply wasn’t happy.
Last year I was made redundant and at first I thought ‘why me?’ Thankfully I was quick to put things into perspective and see it as the opportunity I’d been waiting for. To do the thing I really wanted to do. It was only leaving the people I’d supported in my job that I found difficult.
I did ask myself if I was doing the right thing, in fact it was a question I asked in a Reiki treatment on myself. In the session I saw a hare, I at first took if for a rabbit in the headlights! Soon after, I was at a Reiki top-up session with my teacher and I mentioned it to her. Spookily she said she’d seen a hare that morning whilst walking the dogs and explained that it was perfect as it symbolises rebirth. After that I decided not to question it, and just get on with it.
How did you get started then?
Well I’d always had a treatment room at home. Once my girls grew up and moved out I didn’t want an empty room. So I had all the equipment I needed and the perfect environment that I’d created, which enabled me to get started straightaway.
It made it easier that I had redundancy money behind me; it gave me the perfect opportunity to strike out alone. I considered what was worse? Wondering if my business was going to be successful or putting up with the stress of a full time job?
I’m now putting the time and effort into my own business, for my family, and it’s a much more fulfilling. It’s turned out to be the best thing I’ve ever done.
I can definitely resonate with you about that, there’s a different kind of feeling when you know the effort you’re putting in is for you! So what treatments do you offer?
Alongside Reiki and Reflexology I’ve also qualified in Indian Head and Swedish Massage, so I can offer a full holistic service. It’s great when you get to work with a client, get to know them and can offer treatments tailored to their needs. Often a client will come in asking for one thing and after a few treatments they take my advice to customise treatments that may help them better.
Reiki though will always be my go-to, even with reflexology or a massage I will include 5 minutes of Reiki to finish off a treatment. I like my clients to leave feeling relaxed.
What do you love best about being a therapist?
The biggest benefit for me is the altruism. It’s so lovely to feel I’m helping clients with their conditions and that I make a difference to them. Clients come in feeling stressed from work and it’s so nice to feel them relax.
It’s lovely to get nice feedback too. There was a lady who’d been coming to me for a few months, funnily enough she was a referral through the IPHM website, and she said I was her best find in 2019! There’s no better feeling than that.
Your therapy room at Root to the Soul is simply gorgeous, why have you decided to base yourself at home?
First and foremost is the convenience of course, but beyond that I find that my clients prefer coming here. I can offer them a quiet, serene environment away from the doorbell ringing, dogs barking etc that can often happen in their own homes.
Some of my clients have said that they find salons a little daunting, that’s not the same for everyone, but it is important that they feel comfortable and at ease whilst having their treatments. I’m glad I can offer that.
What does the future hold for you Gaynor?
Alongside building up my regular clients from home, I’m also keen to do more Wellness Days with companies. I did one in April, the company called it ‘Wellbeing Wednesday’. I was set up in a quiet room, and gave staff 15/20 mins of treatment.
The feedback was great from the staff. What I love is that it shows that companies really care about the wellbeing of their people. And doing this pays dividends as it really helps reduce stress and sickness levels. It’s a win/win, so I’m planning to grow this side of the business this year.
Thanks for joining the IPHM, we’re so happy to have you on board as a member. What does being accredited as a practitioner mean to you?
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure that accreditation was the way to go for me. But, quite quickly after I joined I got a referral through the website. A lady who wanted someone fully accredited and qualified to help her. She’s gone on to become a regular customer that I wouldn’t have reached without the IPHM.
It tells me that having accreditation gives me an advantage and the status that many clients want to know before they put their wellbeing in my hands.
That’s so good to hear. Looking back then, how has your life changed over the past 12 months?
It’s been so nice for me; I’m not feeling the same stress at all. 12 months in and I’m slowly building my business.
The best thing is that I’ve got a different outlook on life. The little things matter more. I have spare time that I use to enjoy now, with a walk around the lake, or to go swimming or catch a yoga class. The hours I put in are for me and that feels gratifying.
Having taken the big step of turning your passion into a business, what tips would you give anyone else who’s keen to do the same?
I’d just have to say, follow your instincts, if you have a spiritual feeling then go for it. Of course money can be a worry, so maybe try practicing part-time first to ensure it’s what you want to do.
It’s important to research well; look for the best teachers by asking those you know who already practice who they trained with. Get qualified, build up your practice and reputation and just go for it!
It also really helps to have support at home, I couldn’t have made the decisions I have without the amazing support of my husband.
Also if local, I’m always willing to offer help to anyone new starting out, perhaps by being a case study for them.
If you’re in or around the Milnrow, Rochdale area in the UK, I highly recommend Root to the Soul.
Gaynor can be contacted here: Visit Website
Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me Gaynor, it’s been lovely getting to know you and seeing your beautiful relaxation space for myself.
If you feel like you can offer a professional service or therapy to offer then why not JOIN US