BUSINESS partners Sophie Annett and Heather Godfrey recently launched The Cabin at Fernhill Hotel, between Lyme Regis and Charmouth, offering holistic treatments to both guests and the wider community. The pair joined forces after moving to Lyme Regis within a month of each other and discovering they shared interests. Both fully trained therapists and qualified teachers in their own right, they recognised the benefit of creating a mutualistic business relationship that enables them to support each other, the hotel, potential clients and other therapists too. Sophie grew up near Crewkerne and lived in Bristol and France before moving to Lyme with her husband and baby son. Heather’s family also originate from the local area but, with her father serving in the RAF, she moved around the country a lot as a child. She moved to Lyme last year with her family now grown up and is grandmother to 12.
HOW did you first become interested in holistic therapy?
Sophie: I can remember as a little girl always wanting to give my mum massages and finding knots in her back so I suppose since then! It has been something I have always had a huge interest in. I visited a cranio-sacral therapist a few times starting when I was around 10 or 11 and she had a huge impact on me. I couldn’t believe how it could appear she was hardly even moving her hands on me but it had such a deeply relaxing and powerful effect. I still use some of the movements she taught me in my treatments today.
Heather: I became interested in complementary medicine in the early 70s and was introduced to the concepts and philosophies of many complementary and alternative practices; acupuncture, homeopathy, osteopathy, herbalism, Ayurveda and Aromatherapy. Aromatherapy attracted me the most. The odorous, sensual, qualities of essential oils stirred something with in me and I became increasingly fascinated by their psycho-emotional qualities and the influence these qualities have on mood, emotion, memory, and also their physiological qualities, especially immunological.
TELL us a little about your career history…
Sophie: My first job was temping as a therapist in a boutique spa hotel in Surrey. Although it was a massage-factory-like environment, it was my first job doing something I was beyond passionate about and I absolutely loved it. The hotel offered me a permanent position and with that came lots of in-house training and experience before I left to move to Brighton. Here I discovered Uniquely Organic Eco Spa – a beautiful, holistic sanctuary that perfectly fitted with my ethos and what I wanted to be able to offer my clients. The four years I spent there enabled me to grow both spiritually and in terms of what I could offer as a therapist. I trained with the IAIM around this time too, to become an infant massage instructor and ran busy classes from the same space. I left when we moved away to France and took time off to be with my baby. It wasn’t until we settled in our new home in Lyme Regis that I was ready to throw my heart and soul back into doing what I love. I have since completed my training to become a hypnobirthing instructor and am building up a following with my massage again.
Heather: I worked for Robert Tisserand when he first began to develop his business in the 70s. My fascination kindled, I later completed a BSc Joint Honours Degree in counselling and complementary medicine, then Masters certificates in supervision of counselling, and mindfulness, and a PGCE. I ran a private practice for a number of years and also taught within my local community for local FE colleges, and lectured at the University of Salford. My books, which explore the historical context and therapeutic application of essential oils, are pending publication – very exciting!
WHY did you choose Fernhill Hotel to offer your treatments from?
Sophie: I started working as a freelance therapist for Fernhill Hotel when we first moved here and I always loved the ‘cabin’ space there. I have worked from so many different locations and some just feel special and as if they were made to accompany your practice. I felt it had a huge potential to be a great healing place and somewhere you could escape into and completely relax.
Heather: I relocated to Lyme Regis last year. Serendipitously, Sophie moved here a month later, just two doors along the lane from me! We discovered we shared similar interests and passions; both experienced therapists in our own right, both starting a new page, a new chapter, in a new and exciting location.
HOW would you described The Cabin?
The Cabin is a purpose-built venue nestled in the grounds of Fernhill Hotel. The location and ambiance perfectly compliments the nature of our work, and offers a valuable ‘retreat’, a moment’s peace, away from the hustle and bustle. The Cabin was originally created to enable hotel guests access to the experience of receiving relaxing complementary therapy treatments. Teaming up with Jo, the hotel proprietor, Sophie and I realised the win-win potential of extending this service to the wider community too.
WHAT treatments do you offer?
Collectively our treatments range from aromatherapy massage, hot stone and deep tissue massage, to reflexology. Our training and CPD courses and workshops include hypno-birthing, baby massage, aroma wellness ‘caring for carers’, essential oils for meditation and stress reduction, essential oil blending, and will include professional aromatherapy practitioner training from October 2017.
WHAT do you enjoy about the job?
Sophie: I find it hard to even call it a job! I don’t think many jobs could come close to the level of satisfaction that I get from doing what I do. It does so much on so many levels. I suppose the biggest enjoyments that stand out for me are, firstly, that the result is so often so visible. People walk in with all sorts of stresses, strains, aches and pains and when they leave, their whole posture and energy is completely different. It is such a privilege to be able to give that to someone and know that you’ve made a difference, however small. I love that it allows me to work on a very deep level with people and I feel extremely privileged that I can occupy that space with someone. It nourishes the need for human connection that I think can so easily be lacking in modern life.
Heather: I enjoy creating space for my clients to completely relax and find a moment’s peace. I love working with essential oils; the colours of their odours create ambiance and influence mood and emotion, they rejuvenate and refresh. They are also powerful healing agents. I love extending to clients realisation of the unselfish benefit of taking a moment to care for and nurture their essential being.