In another of our popular series featuring complimentary therapists, ex-teacher, Liz Simha (above left), explains what led her along this path, and why she uses Botanicals products in her range of treatments…

Tell us a little about yourself and your business

My name is Liz Simha and I am the owner of Staines Reflexology, where I provide a range of personalised, holistic treatments with an emphasis on improving client wellbeing.  I am a qualified Reflexologist and Holistic Massage therapist and I have a particular interest in women’s health, pregnancy and stress.

As the name of my business would suggest, I am based in Staines in Middlesex where I work mainly from home, as well as offering a mobile service in the local area. At the moment I work mainly evenings and weekends as I am at home with my two young children, but this is about to change as my son starts pre-school next month so I will have more time available to develop my therapy business. This is an exciting time for me.

Having spent more than 10 years working as a successful teacher in large comprehensive schools, I can certainly say that I saw plenty of evidence of the effects of stress on physical and mental health. It therefore gives me great satisfaction in my new career to be able to use complementary therapies to help people to counteract the effects of stress and stress-related conditions.

What was your journey into the therapy business?

My own experience of complementary therapies began in 1993 when I worked in Germany as part of my university degree course. I opted to volunteer at a Camphill residential school and it was here that I discovered wonderful organic products, and I saw the positive effects of various complementary therapies on children with complex special needs. 

Many years later in 2007 I had reflexology shortly before the birth of my daughter and I was surprised by the calming, relaxing and empowering influence it had on me. I resolved to find out more about Reflexology one day. I also received excellent holistic care from an osteopath when I had back problems following the birth of my daughter. This further inspired me to find out more about becoming a complementary therapist.

That opportunity came along in 2010 when I stopped work as a teacher in order to be at home with my young children. I trained as a Reflexologist and I also undertook further training in Indian Head Massage and Seated Acupressure Massage. More recently I obtained the ITEC Diploma in Anatomy, Physiology and Holistic Massage.  I feel so fortunate to have started a whole new career which I really love.

What do you love most about what you do?

I love being able to use complementary therapies to help people to improve their physical and mental wellbeing. I find it really rewarding to see a client looking and feeling much better by the end of their treatment (especially if they rushed in to their appointment saying how stressed they were feeling!). I also enjoy building a partnership with my clients so that I can encourage them to take small steps to improve their health.

Finally, I also like the fact that I can do this work around family commitments as I have two young children. My family love having reflexology and massage too of course!

What’s been your greatest challenge?

At times I have found it really hard to combine studying and family life. While writing up case studies or trying to learn A&P in the middle of the night I did wonder why I was putting myself through it all (especially as I was 6 months pregnant when I did my reflexology exams). I also went through a difficult time earlier this year as I had to have an operation and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to continue my massage course. I am so glad that I didn’t give up and that I passed the course in spite of everything! This has made me more determined to make the most of my new skills.

What’s been your greatest learning?

I am still amazed at the tremendous power of touch therapies and the impact they have on clients. As this was a change of career for me, I found it initially quite hard to convince myself that I was a ‘proper’ therapist. I have learned that once someone experiences a personalised, professional treatment with really good client care, they usually want to come back again.

What made you choose Botanicals for your business?

I first came across Botanicals when they were recommended at a Gateway training course I attended a couple of years ago. The fact that the products are organic, certified by the Soil Association and made here in the UK are all plus points for me. As a therapist who is committed to improving my clients’ health, I want to know that what I am putting on their skin during treatments is not full of synthetic ingredients.

Having talked to Botanicals staff at their lovely stand at Camexpo, I found them passionate and knowledgeable about their products, and very supportive towards fellow therapists. The Botanicals Therapists’ Facebook page is also a great source of information and inspiration for me.

How do you integrate Botanicals into your business to make it such a success?

I use Botanicals products in my reflexology and massage treatments. As a reflexologist I love using the footcare products as part of a foot ritual – this feels such a nurturing thing to do.

The Mineral Foot Soak is the best part of this I think. Clients really like the Mint and Tea Tree Foot Balm and always comment on how good it smells. I also use a variety of Botanicals Organic Oils for my holistic massage. Finally, I find the pack of samples really useful as I gave them as a small gift to my massage ‘guinea pigs’ who helped me complete my case studies for my course.

What is your favourite Botanicals product and why?

My favourite has to be the Deep Peace massage oil because it really does live up to its title. I burn the oil in my treatment room and also use it for massage. I am also a fan of all the Botanicals footcare products but then as a reflexologist I might be biased. I keep reading about the facial serum so perhaps I should give that a try too.

Do you have any client success stories of using the products you could share?

Clients always comment on how good Botanicals products feel and smell. I would agree with this, and I really enjoy working with the oils/balms, and using the products myself. I regularly use the Mint and Tea Tree Foot Balm in my reflexology treatments and I have noticed an improvement in the condition of clients’ skin. My very dry, sensitive hands also benefit from the Foot Balm too. Clients with dry skin have commented on the improvement in their skin following a massage using the unfragranced oil.

What are your plans for the future?

My short-term plan is to develop my skills and experience as a therapist and continue to provide excellent service so that my client base expands. Longer term I would like to qualify to practise pregnancy massage and also train to teach infant massage to parents and carers. Ultimately I would love to combine my skills of teaching and CAM by training and mentoring therapists. Oh yes, and if I won the lottery, I would love to open a multidisciplinary clinic!