Welcome back to Galway Chamber’s Business of the Week series. This week, we spoke to Denise Christie of Health and Harmony.
I grew up in Sidcup, Kent in South East England and worked in London for 18 years as a Legal Executive before retraining in Holistic Medicine in 2001. I have one daughter who is currently in the UK undergoing a PostGrad in teaching. I live outside of Loughrea in a beautiful area called Kylebrack and have two dogs and two cats and two alpacas on the way! My mum was from Oldcastle in County Meath – we spent many idyllic summers on her family’s home farm and I guess this is why I always felt Ireland to be my spiritual home!
Tell us about Health and Harmony.
Health and Harmony is a rustic little retreat in East Galway – it’s all about offering a unique and completely private venue for total relaxation and for restoring wellbeing. It consists of a Treatment Cabin which is where most of the treatments take place, a self-contained Spa Cabin and a Training Cabin which offers a tranquil workshop space.
How did the idea for your business come about?
My transition from law to Holistic Medicine came about because of a major turning point in my life – my introduction to aromatherapy when I was going through a tough time convinced me that there was more to life than the hustle and strain of the legal world. I took redundancy and went back to college for two years to retrain. I was on the verge of setting up a practice in Kent when I saw a house for sale – in the middle of nowhere in East Galway! Two months later here I was – complete with daughter, dogs and a tortoise – halfway up a mountain in the middle of nowhere! The business evolved in a very organic way as I gradually built the cabins to house the business – the gorgeous location just lent itself to setting up a therapy centre.
What are the range of services you offer your clients?
The core part of my business is helping couples who are struggling to get pregnant. My own struggle with recurring miscarriages led me down the road of specialist training in natural fertility. I trained with those I considered to be the best in that field – in acupuncture, reflexology and massage and so far have 42 babies born and a dozen more due to be born this year. I work with the women to overcome their specific fertility issues and also with the men to resolve issues with the sperm. I believe it is important to include both men and women with the treatment protocol as it takes one healthy egg and one healthy sperm to make a baby – so no point in leaving out half the ingredients!
I have also built up a wealth of knowledge and additional training on pain management, auto immune conditions, hormone related disorders and stress reduction so I regularly see both men and women for these health issues also. I use Acupuncture, Reflexology, Nutrition, Massage, Wellness Coaching, Fertility Counselling, Reiki and Mindfulness to help my clients overcome their health issues and have put together a series of integrated programmes to work with my fertility couples.
How has being a member of Galway Chamber helped you?
Galway is such a vibrant city and county and I have always loved it’s energy and vibe! So of course it made sense to become part of that community in the business sense. The businesses within the Galway Chamber are so diverse and interesting – it’s great to be part of an organisation that offers so many perspectives and the business and networking events are always so engaging.
What is the best thing about being involved in your industry?
Number one is being instrumental in helping people take back control of their own health. And it’s not always about making massive changes – sometimes only minor tweaks are necessarily to bring about huge health benefits. I have seen major health issues overturned with only six weeks of treatment and self-care at home. Number two the people you meet. The world of holistics can be so diverse and almost everyone in the holistic medicine world has a fascinating story behind their decision to become a wellness practitioner. And this story is their strength – it’s the reason why they do what they do so well and so passionately.
What are the major changes you have seen within the health and wellness industry in recent years?
I am seeing a definite move towards people wanting to be more responsible for their own health. Combating disease and disorder with drugs and surgery has become something we are so used to in our modern society and of course it is very effective and often absolutely necessary. I believe however that true wellness comes from taking control of your own health as a form of prevention rather than experiencing a symptom and looking for a quick “cure”. The complementary medicine route may take longer, it’s results are not often immediate, but in the long term the results can be far more effective and most importantly without any side effects. I have also been delighted to see a move towards tightening up industry standards to ensure that only those who are properly trained and accredited are recognised as professionals within the complementary medicine field.
What motivates you, with regards to your profession?
Encouraging people to take control of their health is a biggie for me – making lifestyle changes to reduce stress, choose more nutritionally valuable foods and learning how to put on “your own oxygen mask” are a core part of the treatment plan I offer my clients. But my massive “why” is more babies! Being able to help couples bring about the family of their dreams – the messages I receive when they either have a confirmed pregnancy or when their much longed for baby is born – you can’t beat it with a big stick!! Seven out of ten of the couples I have worked with are either pregnant or already have their babies (one couple has four children from working with me!) It’s a success rate I am particularly proud of and looking forward to maintaining – or hopefully improving!
T: 087 9675063