They treat you, soothe you, calm you, counsel you and generally improve our lives in one way or another. The Practitioners are an important part of the family here at The Relaxation Centre, so let’s get to know them.
Every month, we meet different practitioner…
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Mel.
“Massage is the only time in adult life that we’re cared for through touch and all you have to do, is relax.”
Years at The Relaxation Centre: 8
Treatments offered: Holistic Massage, Holistic Face Massage, Reflexology, Hot Stone Massage, Aromatherapy, Couples Massage Workshops
Most Highly Recommended Treatment: Hot Stone Massage
Hobbies: Yoga, meditation, cycling and playing the violin
First Album ever Purchased: “Thriller” by Michael Jackson
Ultimate Pet Peeve: Badly parked cars!
What would your ‘Last Supper’ be?: Passion fruit tart with cream. No need for a main course!
Mel’s top relaxation tip:
“Use yoga and massage to strengthen the body. Don’t underestimate the power of muscle weight and muscle tone, to heal and relax you”
What is your favourite thing about The Relaxation Centre?
The dynamism and diversity of the community here. We’re all from such a variety of backgrounds and therefore learn so much from each other. It is a proper family and anyone that visits the Centre is treated as one of us.
You’d recommend the Hot Stone Massage above the others. Why?
This was a hard decision, they are all wonderful, of course.
The Hot Stone Massage however, is the most comforting of the treatments, I believe. You’re wrapped up in towels, you can feel the heat from the stones, the weight of the stones on your body – it’s extremely physically and emotionally deep. It’s also the most ‘even’ of treatments; time is spent on all parts of your body, equally.
Reflexology is another important one though, one that is great for anxiety. For really anxious people I have incorporated creative visualizations into the reflexology treatments, for a more rounded, cognitive experience.
So, let’s learn more about you! Where are you from?
I’m originally from Leamington Spa but moved to Bristol 25 years ago with a friend. We decided to move on a whim and it was either Brighton or Bristol. We chose Bristol and never left!
How did you get into massage and holistic therapy?
I was an art student and really loved life drawing. I became fascinated in how our bodies have almost a precognitive sense with our coordination; we don’t think about eating and breathing at the same time for example, it just happens.
To understand this and the human body more, and to improve my life drawing skills, I decided to train in massage. I instantly loved it and realised I was good at it, so continued to train in other disciplines, including reflexology.
And how did you come to be at The Relaxation Centre?
I didn’t intend to work as a massage therapist initially, until I was contacted by Aardman and asked to be an in-house masseuse for all the office workers in Aztec West. It became a full-time position and I was there for a couple of years until I fell pregnant with my first child.
I left a full-time role to have my two sons, Dylan and Leon, still working occasionally at Aardman until eventually the demand waned and I left completely.
I then felt I needed a break from massage but didn’t want to leave that environment completely, so took a job as Duty Manager and Receptionist at The Relaxation Centre in 2005. After a while, I started as a practitioner at the Centre whilst still working on the operational side and now, 8 years on, I manage the practitioners and still do a Friday on Reception.
So you still enjoy doing both Reception and Practitioner work?
Yes, the reception work is important to me to get an overall sense of the business. I enjoy meeting people, dealing with people face to face and I feel it gives my work life a nice balance with the practitioner work.
What inspires you?
My son suffers from an auto-immune condition that meant he was very poorly for a long stretch of time. Then there was a breakthrough with his treatment that meant he got significantly better, and became a gymnast!
The doctor’s couldn’t believe it, but I’m a great believer in muscle weight and muscle tone being a strong contender in your overall strength and survival and this is what helped my son. This is why I truly believe in the benefits of yoga and massage.
So, tell us why is massage so important?
I think massage is the only time in adult life we receive a safe touch from another person. The only time where you’re being cared for, emotionally and physically and all you have to do as the recipient, is relax.
I find it staggering that we’re made up of the same ‘structure’ but each and every person has different needs, expectations and hopes out of massage. We have to be so intuitive to a person’s body and in that way it is completely bespoke and very personal.
Some people are very nervous about massage and our job is to get people to relax and feel emotionally safe in order to give them an appropriate physical space, and you can tell the people that have a regular massage: they respond differently, sometimes in incredible ways. They’re more aware of their bodies and hold themselves better.
What do you need to become a massage therapist, other than the necessary qualifications?
The most important thing for me is, you have to be able to hold yourself before you can hold other people. In understanding yourself, your body, your emotions, you can then more easily relate to others.
Massage IS a therapy and having had various therapies myself over the years, I’m well equipped to do the job. Without having worked on myself, how can I be expected to work on others?
Massage is an art form. As I said, everybody is completely different and you need to be creative and attuned to that.
Thanks Mel, what an inspiration.
For Mel’s full online profile, please click here.
To book Mel for your treatment, do call us on 0117 970 6616 or email [email protected].