“It’s a privilege to do the job I do”
Vane Tempest Hall built in 1884 became Durham’s smallpox isolation hospital in Gilesgate, it was once was a militia base but by 1916 it was used by 4th Durham Scout Group and now it’s a haven of peace and tranquility.
Across from the former parade ground and with views over the bowling green is Ann’s calm corner of the city where she runs her thriving business, Guru Holistics, in two therapy rooms packed with period features.
By stepping back in time and out of the pressures of their daily lives, the venue is ideal for helping clients clear their heads and feel the best about themselves. This weekend she is heading to Olympia in London as she’s been shortlisted for the Holistic Therapist Magazine Awards 2015.
Ann had already trained as a chef and a baker for four years and had my PGCE teaching qualification before moving from South Wales to the North-East with her husband. When she went to New College Durham to see what even classes were on offer, aromatherapy caught her eye and she also signed up for body massage.
“I thought I liked the sound of aromatherapy, herbs and spices were similar to cooking. When we started learning massage we all kept our clothes on until the last minute but by the end we were just stripping off.
“When you look at the person you are massaging you are look at them as an anatomy in physiology, nothing else” she said. Then I had my tarot cards read and I was told I would have my own training academy within six months – and I did.
“I’m a wellbeing therapist, I’m not here to fix people’s heads but I am here to fix their emotions and feel good about themselves,” ” explained Ann who as well as seeing her own clients also writes accredited training programmes and holds courses for therapists at salons and spas including Seaham Hall.
“My main treatments are massage and reflexology which are fantastic for releasing happy hormones. “A lot of people schedule me in on pay week and they destress as they come up the steps.
“People pay me for that quiet time when they can just concentrate on themselves, I recharge their batteries and they leave here ready to face the world again. It gives them clarity and the feelings afterwards can last for days even weeks.”
Along with the build-up to getting married, another life-changing event that Ann is tapping into is the growing pregnancy market with her ‘love bump baby’ sessions.
“I can take somebody through all three trimesters and prepare both the mum and the dad for labour, it’s very much them being part of a team. I think modern men very much want to be part of the experience and afterwards they can come back for baby massage and reflexology which are all wonderful ways to help the family bond.”
A holistic therapy trend Ann predicts will be huge is Thai yoga massage which involves lying and sitting fully clothed on a mat and then being put into various positions until resistance points are found.
“Clients come onto my stage so it’s all about allowing the to sink into the bed and switch off, they don’t have to entertain me,” she added. “It’s a privileged to do the job I do as people take their barriers down and you make them feel wonderful.
“If they have a little weep because they’re released a lot of emotion or fall asleep and snore then I take that as a huge compliment.”
Guru Holistics 1 Vane Tempest Hall, Maynard’s Row, Gilesgate, Durham, DH1 1QF
email: firstname.lastname@example.org website: www.guruholistics.co.uk