I have been interested in human biology, health and disease from a young age. I was a Red Cross cadet as a teenager and went on to study Biology at Imperial College London, gaining a First class B.Sc. (Hons) degree in 1994. I then studied for a Masters degree in Infectious Diseases at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School (now part of Imperial College London) in 1995. I carried on specializing, achieving a Ph.D. in Medical Bacteriology (on Salmonella typhimurium) at Imperial College London in 2000.
Conventional versus complementary medicine
I initially focused on an academic career, carrying out Postdoctoral research at Imperial College from 2000-2005, working on E.coli 0157. At the same time I started to feel tired and run-down from all the commuting into London combined with a busy job. I had my first reflexology treatment as a gift in the run-up to my wedding in 2002. I was amazed at how much better I felt after the reflexology, I felt positive, upbeat and had a lovely feeling of well-being. There was no stopping me after that and I have had regular reflexology treatments ever since. I continued having reflexology throughout my pregnancies – subsequently going through two rather speedy and straightforward labours resulting in my two gorgeous boys.
A life-changing decision
Much as I enjoyed my academic research, I started to become aware of how narrow my field of expertise had become and how far I had moved from my original goal of helping people to live healthier, happier lives. I took a leap of faith in January 2006 and resigned from my academic job with its regular income to stay at home looking after my children, while training to be a reflexologist.
I was intrigued about the effects that reflexology can have on the emotions as well as on physical health, so I looked around for a training course that would address both. This led me to train at the respected and AoR accredited Phillip Salmon School of Reflexology, which focuses on producing well-rounded and self-confident reflexologists. I spread this one-year diploma course over 2 and half years, graduating in 2009.
Setting up my business
As soon as I qualified, I set up The Bramley Holistic Practice (now known as Happier Heathier You), operating from my dedicated treatment room in my home. I started out with clients who had been treated by me whilst I had been training and have steadily built up a loyal and lovely clientele. I feel privileged to see first hand how reflexology has helped my clients to improve their health and lives (see testimonials).
Continuous professional development (CPD)
I continue to develop my knowledge and hone my skills so that I can provide the most beneficial and up-to-date treatments to all my clients. This CPD involves continued study and reading (I have a huge library of reflexology and complementary medicine books!) I regularly attend seminars, workshops and training courses to ensure that I keep up-to-date with current techniques and developments in reflexology. I am also part of the East Berks reflexology group and regularly meet up with other local reflexologists.
Attended post-graduate courses include:
- Dec 2008: 2-day course on Foot reading with celebrity foot reader Jane Sheehan.
- May 2009: 1-day AoR Touchpoint course on treating stress using reflexology.
- March 2010: 2-day AoR accredited training course on babyreflex, taught by babyreflex founder Jenny Lee.
- July 2010: 2-day Maternity Reflexology training course (part 1) taught by Gill Thomson based on the work of Suzanne Enzer.
- Nov 2010: 2-day Maternity Reflexology Conference based at the University of Reading. This brought me up-to-date with the latest research and practices from Maternity Reflexologists and Midwife Reflexologists from around the world.
- June 2011: 2-day Maternity Reflexology training course (part 2) taught by Gill Thomson based on the work of Suzanne Enzer.
- Oct/Nov 2011: 2-day Thai Foot Massage training course at The School of Thai Yoga Massage, included 4 case studies.
- April 2012: 2-day Parent Contact Training course at CLAPA (Cleft Lip and Palate Association).
- August 2013: 1-day Ear Candling training course at Harmony Health Professionals, included 2 cases studies.
- October 2012-2013: One year Fertility Awareness Advanced Practitioner course taught by Fertility Counsellor Jane Knight (of Zita West Clinics) and Dr Cecilia Pyper (Research Fellow at University of Oxford) of Fertlity UK. This included 3 case studies.
- October 2014: 1-day study day at Fertility UK to up-date skills and knowledge in Fertility Awareness.
- March 2015: 1-day study course in Hot Stone Reflexology at Sally Earlam Reflexology.
- June 2015: 1-day AoR accredited introductory course in Reflexology and Cancer care with Peter MacKereth.
- October 2016: 2-day introductory workshop in Jin Shin Jyutsu for self-care at The Emotional Health Centre.
- January 2017: 1-day study course in Mindful Reflexology at Sally Earlam Reflexology.
- February 2017: 1-day study day at Fertility UK to up-date skills and knowledge in Fertility Awareness.
- September 2017: 5-day Jin Shin Jyutsu Practitioner course with Anita Willoughby.
- May 2018: 1-day Reflexology with crystals course with Val Winchester.
- June 2018: 2-day ‘round about the foot‘ course with Touchpoint, learning techniques to relieve foot pain.