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On this episode of The Truth about Massage Therapy Podcast, Krzys interview Sophie Fagan at www.sophiefagan.com
BHP009 – Injury – a journey of trust and acceptance
Sophie is passionate about holistic massage, especially as a means of combating stress. She graduates at the Bristol College of Massage and Bodywork (BCMB), qualified with a Diploma in Holistic Massage. She is registered with the Massage Training Institute (MTI). Shes also a Tai Chi and Chi Kung instructor. She is a member of the teaching team for BCMB, introducing students to the course she undertook in 2010.
“a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
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Links mentioned in this episode:
BCMB Advance courses check here
KRZYS: Welcome Sophie and thank you for joining us here at Busy Hive Podcast.
SOPHIE: Oh, thank you Krzys. It’s a pleasure to be here.
KRZYS: So here at Busy Hive we like to start the show with our guests’ favourite quote. It’s our kind of way to get everybody motivated and excited for the rest of the show. So could you tell us what’s your favourite quote and why?
SOPHIE: Sure! I, I had some trouble deciding on what quotes and then I realized that actually I have a quote that has hung on my wall for over fifteen years and that quote is “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” And that’s from Lao Tzu, a Chinese philosopher and it speaks very loudly to me because seeing those words every morning has just enabled me to begin whatever it is I feel I need to. So whatever the world is throwing at you whether it’s emotional turmoil or an uphill struggle financially, or whatever kind of difficulty, yeah, it gave me this sense of it’s okay, just take one step and the rest will follow. Yeah.
KRZYS: That’s really, really good quote! I really like it. So thank you for sharing that. So here at Busy Hive we really focus at the beginning of the journey. So why, can you tell us, when did, where, when did you start it and how that get you to the point where you are today?
SOPHIE: Sure! So before the wonderful world of massage, I worked as a manager in lots of different settings but I was actually an Operations Manager for a company in Bristol for many years. So I was in charge of a lot of staff, I was in charge of a lot of logistics, a lot of responsibilities and a lot of stress actually and in one particular year I got signed off with stress by the doctor. So I was experiencing a lot of stress and anxiety. I was having panic attacks. I wasn’t sleeping and yeah it was quite a difficult time and I knew that there was something else you know, there was something other than just working and being stressed and at that time, a wonderful colleague of mine, a girl called Lena who was working for me in the office, she was doing the Holistic Massage Diploma at the Bristol College of Massage and Body Work and she said to me “you have to do this course!” And at that time, I was running free Qigong lessons on Queen’s Square in Bristol. So Qigong is like very similar to Tai Chi and it’s moving meditation so I was very much in the mode of wanting to promote well-being and I thought Lena saw that and she saw the link with the massage. So, I just made the call and had the interview and I can remember this magic moment in the interview where Tim Bartlett who was interviewing me, he was talking about connection and that massage was a meeting place and he took my hand in this cafe in front of these people (laughter) and he just started massaging me and suddenly I felt this amazing feeling of connection and I just knew. I just didn’t know where it was going to lead but I knew I had to go there and that was it. I started the Diploma Course and then half way through the course, we get to go on a residential weekend and it was during this weekend that I had this realization and it was, that you know, I felt so relaxed doing this job, though it’s massaging. (Yes) You know, and I was like “oh my God I could get paid to relax!”
KRZYS: And you don’t have to be stressed anymore!
SOPHIE: (Laughter) exactly and also I could get paid to help other people relax and I think because of what I’ve been through with my own stress, it just became like the only option.
SOPHIE: So at the end of the retreat, I came back, I handed in my notice, I had nothing lined up but I just trusted that it would fall into place and it did.
KRZYS: And it did!
SOPHIE: Yeah! I started working, you know, just kind of put the word out to try and work in any kind of well-being setting. So I worked in a Spa, I worked at a little Health Centre and as reception until I qualified as a Massage Therapist and then after that I did lots of festivals so I was out in a variety of interesting settings meeting a wonderful world of different people and eventually I took the leave and became self-employed in Bristol. Yeah and then after that I got the dream job of becoming an Assistant Tutor at the Bristol College of Massage and Body Work and…
KRZYS: So how that started?
SOPHIE: Yeah! That well, yeah I was very lucky I you know, I managed to get the job even though at that time, I had a broken arm (laughter) and they still wanted me and yeah, it was really amazing and it continues to be amazing. I feel incredibly blessed and honoured to see people blossom into the Massage Therapists that they are able to be. Yeah!
KRZYS: So in your mind can you share with us one of the challenges as a new therapist, when did you, you know, how, when did you start it?
SOPHIE: Yeah! I’ve, I’ve been thinking about this and I mean there a lots of different challenges that we can face but one thing that I remember, was once I took that leap to be self-employed, was I felt like I had to be available all the time and for everybody. And I think there’s a real balance of looking after your own time and your own energy and also being available to the majority of people that you want to be able to work with. So when I started I had a space which I could use on an adhoc basis which was great! So it was available most of the time, I only paid rent when I was seeing people but what it meant was when I first started out, if someone said “great, when can I book a massage?” I, my response would be like, “oh, when suits you?” (Laughter)
SOPHIE: And so and with that you know, I kind of felt like I need to be available all the time and I couldn’t dare say I didn’t work on Tuesdays cause of the fear I had of, of not being able to say yes all the time but what I learned was, you know, at that time I found myself really stretched and I was sometimes cycling between different venues in the same day just to try and see different people. And what I realized actually was that clients really like structure and so, very often for me to be able to say “you can see me on these days, at these times,” I really noticed the change in the way that the clients responded to me. And it suddenly became something real, something that they could see in their diaries and in their lives. You know like if some ongoing relationships, oh great, every Tuesday at six o’clock I can look in and see Sophie at this place and I think that was interesting cause I had to just trust that, that actually that a scheduled that suited me, you know, suited me on an energetic point of view. Like when I was at my best, when I wanted to work, what other things I had going on in my life, you know, when I needed to rest. Yeah, just trusting that a schedule that suited me would suit my clients.
KRZYS: And that, you know, I’ve been there like in the beginning the same, I just opened up for everyone, work whenever I could, you know, even I said “I’m not going to work Sundays,” someone said ” I can only do Sundays.” So I, okay I’m going to do Sunday and it was just all over the place and actually, yeah, just starting, having, you know what, it was, it was, and you know, it was really hard to say I only work from this to this and on that day. (Yeah) Because like oh my God, what if I can’t and it actually and this is exactly as you, as you quote, “this is the first step!” And when you do it you will see everything starts following. Clients actually, clients like to be told what they need to, you’re experts. Expert in your knowledge, expert in your clinic, what’s you know, what they need to do and how you know, to help them with the body and their issues but as well in the business side. You’re an expert! Expert in where you work, how you work, how much you charge and so on and you are the expert and they need to know that, they need to be told what’s you know, exactly those things and sin…, when you start getting the days right and you know the I just do Monday to Thursday or from this to this. It’s, it might seem like oh no, but it, it’s going to start to work as you said. You’ll have more time, more energy to being at your own best and work with your own, you know wherever you and I, because I had you know, small family. I need to rather than change things to suit you know, my family first which was really hard but I did it and it was, it started getting much better, much better and instead of having the schedule spread out like you know, let’s say from Monday to Saturday, and client here, client there, client there, actually I had just three days fully booked.
SOPHIE: Yeah! Yeah, great and I think there is something about feeling more professional yourself. So if you’re able to say these are my working hours and also knowing what your maximum is in terms of how many clients you want to see in a day, I think it’s really worth spending time visualizing or just sitting with what your ideal working situation is and working towards that. I spent a lot of time being reactionary and responding like you said, someone that says “oh, I only can, I can only do Sundays and then, and then that thinking of I need to make this work somehow and I think that’s just part of the process of working, working at what’s best for you and, and gaining the confidence in your business. But I really recommend that, that anyone whose starting out to, to really give yourself some space to think about what is my ideal working situation and just yeah, aim to go with that one step at a time.
KRZYS: One step at a time and bringing, you know, don’t change everything at once, just start with one. Choose your, choose your days (yeah) then choose your times and just you know, and every time, you know, we manage our schedule as we go along. You know, you know this apart from you set up first schedule when you started out, you know by now you changed so many times because of your, your life changes, your stuff and that’s fine! That’s fine, you need to adapt things.
SOPHIE: Absolutely! Yeah!
KRZYS: Sophie thank you for sharing with that. That’s really, really a lot and I really appreciate, appreciate that. So now we have reached my favourite part of the show when we enter the part where we choose the pod topic of the conversation which is really, really, relates to the work of our guests or not only work but life to our guest and today is a big one because what we choose with Sophie, it happened to Sophie, it can happen to anyone and we take this and so is what happened is the injury and the journey of acceptance and that’s how, how Sophie wrote amazing blog about that. You know we, we don’t pay attention to how much we leave and how much we live on luck most of the times. And thinking you know, there are things happening and that’s not going to happen to me but sometimes life takes different way and strike us, you know and sweep us from our feet and in Sophie’s case it (laughter) was sweep her from her wrist. (Laughter) And that wrist, hands are very important tool for Massage Therapist especially you know, when you’re starting out. So can you tell us your story of your injury? What happened?
SOPHIE: Yeah! Sure! So I’m going to talk about yeah when I came off my bike in January 2015. I was cycling down a hill in Bristol, Satnav Road. You know it? And it was a really gusty day, one of those days where all the fences were blowing down and yeah, this, this gust of wind seemed to come out of nowhere and I braked awkwardly on my push bike and the next thing I knew, I was on the floor and yeah, I went to A and E and they told me that I had broken parts of my radius, parts of my carpal, it was quite a messy, complicated break.
KRZYS: I see the x-rays, I see the x-rays. (Laughter) It was complicated.
SOPHIE: It was complicated, yeah! So this meant that, I yeah, that I had to have surgery and so I had surgery where I had a titanium plate, which the titanium plate is kind of a, a nice kind of T shaped and has about six screws in there and I’d actually been through a similar journey a few years before but that time I broke the other arm and it was a clean break. It was a clean break in the radius and so yeah, the journey of healing was very different. So the key thing I wanted to mention was when I when I went back to take my cast off after I broke the complicated wrist, I went back and they cut the cast off and I was under the impression that I would be signed physio pretty quick and because of what happened with my previous break, I was doing physio as soon as I came out of surgery and I was back seeing clients in six weeks. This time they took the cast off and I was like “great! When can I start physio?” and the doctor literally laughed and said, “You are joking! Like your bones may be in the right place now, but the healing is just beginning. You’ve got least four weeks before you can do anything!” And I just remembered that feeling of anger, of disbelief, of resentment, I just, I was literally growling on the bus on the way home. My dear brother who came with me to that appointment, you know, took the brunt of it. I was, I was so angry with life but eventually I came to a place of acceptance with it and actually, later that evening I was lying in bed, letting things sink in and that’s when I reached for this book that I’d carried around with me for six months and it was a book called “ Mark Williams and it’s The Mindfulness Book, A Practical Guide of Finding Peace in a Frantic World” and something in me made me reach for that book at the time and the first page, it was like it was written for me! (Laughter) It was like “do you remember a time when life wasn’t going as you expected it?” (Laughter) And life felt like it was spiraling out of control and I was nodding like ‘uh-huh!” (Laughter) And that really began my journey with mindfulness and so from that evening, I read through this book which was like an eight week mindfulness course and luckily I had all this time because I needed to be resting and so it was great because it gave me an opportunity to focus my energy, to really work on things like being present, not worrying about all the things ahead of time. I had to let go of all the plans that I thought I was going to (Inaudible 18:29) how it’s going to be and I just had to focus on the now and learn to accept and yeah, be kind to myself. And actually I’m incredibly thankful for that time, how strange it might sound because it led me to a mindfulness practice which has served me ever since that day, so.
KRZYS: It’s not strange because that’s the thing, you know when things happening right now, there very important, makes you, you know give you some different emotions. There is happiness, anger, different ways but it’s happening now! But you see, every, things happen in the past, now let’s say three months, year and everything. We laugh at them and you know, the problems we had years back, it’s like “oh my God, why did I even care?” (Laughter) You know, but at the point now, they quite important they big, they life changing but many times exactly those things life changings, opening a door, getting you know, resetting, changing our mindset to the point where we can actually we can either focus and notice other things or completely close. You know, because it can go both ways. Sometimes you can unable to deal with it and unable to actually accept that which is you know and it’s really hard you know and it’s not easy to actually accept something that you know, that big, life changing cause you have to change everything (yeah) which is really amazing and cause it does you know, physically, physically but mentally I think that’s the most bigger you know, challenging fight you have to take with.
SOPHIE: Absolutely! Yeah!
KRZYS: So how long was the physical recovery from the, you know from when it happened to the…
SOPHIE: Yeah! So actually I was out of work for four months in the end. yeah and it was a gradual coming back and yeah, I had to lean very heavily on friends and people came out of the woodwork I haven’t seen in a long time, giving me lifts to the hospital, giving me lifts to appointments and my clients were incredibly supportive and yeah!
KRZYS: So can you, can you tell us, yeah, injury happens and now, oh my God, you have five clients tomorrow, (laughter)(yes) six clients next day, there’s four clients that, you know it’s like let’s say, you know another five weeks, you know, they’re fully booked. So what’s, what did you do? So what was the next step?
SOPHIE: Yeah! So I guess once the injury happened, I would, I just wrote to everybody. I mean I keep it because I write the blog and I’m in kind of close contact with my clients on an ongoing basis so I let them know that I was, that I had this injury, I didn’t know how long it would take at, to be back. But what I did was I put in place some Locum Therapists so some colleagues of mine that I had treatments with so I know how it works. I had a sense of what clients would suit who, so I created an arrangement that for the next couple of months, I could send my clients there details and they would kind of look after my clients if you like, until I was back. And actually one of key moments to returning to work was one of the things that the Physio had said to me was “actually the best rehab for you is to massage but to massage in a way which is about you, not about your client!” And so, what she suggested was that I did short kind of ten minutes massages with friends just to see how things felt and just because of, it was in my wrist, it was a lot more about certain positions. Like I found holding someone’s head when they were seeing clients when they were lying on their back, I found that really difficult just a certain kind of movement and so it was, yeah, a journey of mapping out and to something that I took to massage supervision actually and which I continue to do so yeah! It sort of facilitated space to try things out, was mapping out what position is going to suit me at this time of recovery with before entering a treatment. So it maybe that okay well I would normally use my left hand for this, but actually I’m just going to use my right hand or can I move my body slightly differently to take a bit of pressure off. Yeah, and so once I got to a place of I’m ready to see clients again, it was airing on the side of caution and so just booking a couple of clients in a day and actually having a long period of rest in between each session. So I allowed I think half an hour and then I had to be really strict to myself that I didn’t do anything so it’s very good to say “yeah, great you’re not massaging,” but don’t go picking up an heavy kettle or holding (laughter) out a door or you know it’s like remembering, and actually, I just remembered, I drew a star on my right, on my left, on the left hand to remind me cause I would often reach for the door with that hand and I would use it a lot and so that was like a little reminder to say “no!” (Laughter)
KRZYS: That’s a, that’s a good way, yes!
SOPHIE: It’s, yeah, because it’s amazing how unconsciously (you forgot, yeah) it become, yeah! Yeah!
KRZYS: So how did you, because you star…, okay you, because you stop completely for four months, how did you deal with the, you know the income you didn’t have?
SOPHIE: Hmmm! Well I was able to claim Employment Support Allowance I think it was called so I got a bit of money from the government for not being able to work and actually I was very lucky, I relied on the kindness of friends and my community actually and so I was able to, you know I had lots of friends come and cook me dinner, I had Therapists and people in my life who are treating me for free, my parents helped me out a bit but obviously, it was a real challenge and actually it meant that you know, my plan to move countries later in that year and to start a new kind of journey, I had to be completely let go of because the finances, you know, being out of work for four months just meant that that wasn’t possible! So it was a real, I think one of the biggest things was being able to ask for help and the bigger thing was being able to accept the help because everyone wants to help and somebody, a colleague actually said to me really early on, she said “people are going to want to help you and it’s your job to say yes and you know, I had, I had boyfriends that I hadn’t seen in a long time giving me lifts to my Osteopath appointments and I had, you know, it was and actually it was a wonderful way to connect and allow myself to be looked after and very interesting when your used to looking after other people (yeah) (laughter) but what a wonderful learning experience. Yeah!
KRZYS: So when you recover from the injury, how long did it take you to come back to the same number of clients? And did you, did you lose any?
SOPHIE: Yeah! Actually I didn’t lose any. everyone came back and I guess it probably took me about a month I think of being quite restrictive in terms of just seeing a couple of clients a day or maybe just, maybe seeing four clients over a day but having those long gaps, that was really key, having the rest in between for me. So yeah, I think it was probably a couple of months. It was probably from the moment of break and to getting back to where I was. It was probably around six, seven months I think.
KRZYS: And it’s really, really good that you mentioned cause we’re always afraid, oh my God, I can’t be sick cause we look at the client , oh, I can’t just do this because you know, I can lose clients or I have some stuff I need to do at home but I need to work cause I, you know, clients, the clients are people, they understand (yeah) (Inaudible 27:35) The most important for me or what I learnt especially as a foreigner in this country is communication. Just talk to people, just make sure you let them know and why and people are not, people are understanding, as you said, we think we are going to lose clients and you think, no, even, well some of them probably yes but you know, the people who actually stick with you because they like you. They’ll they, they have the nurturing touch, the help from you give them, they’re going to stay they are going to wait for you.
SOPHIE: Yeah, but that’s definitely been my experience and actually I think you know, through the blog like through writing about it and sharing it, it actually deepened my connection with my clients and I think there is a lot of, you know, whether it’s physical injury, whether it’s an emotionally challenging time and think a lot of people can relate to that journey of you know, having to accept difficult situations and yeah, take one step at a time. So in a funny way, I think it actually deepened my connections with my clients and they end up opening up to me about stuff that they’ve been through and it was another kind of place of connection I guess. Yeah!
KRZYS: So what was the lesson, you know I ask because you have been self-employed. As a self-employed Therapist, what would you say, when something like that happened what would have been the first steps to do or?
SOPHIE: Woo! That’s really a hard one. I think, I think surrendering really. I think, you know as self-employed people we are in control, we’re seeking control all the time of our marketing, our schedule you know, how we work, all this stuff and we’re, it’s a balancing act all the time and then when something like that happens whether it’s an injury, or something out of your control, which like you said you know, sweeps the ground beneath your feet. Yeah I think the sooner you’re able to let go and surrender to what’s happening, the sooner you can start that new path of acceptance and recovery. Yeah, I think you know, don’t get me wrong, I definitely went through a tantrum stage! (Laughter) You know, I, I was not happy about the situation and I’m not going to lie about that!
KRZYS: Exactly, cause it’s all, it’s all calm and everything (Laughter) and it was sad, I went down the pass, I growl, but I accept it. 3(laughter) No! Actually not, I came home and I did (Laughter) (I would say) broke some glasses.
SOPHIE: Yeah, yeah! I was really and that’s part of it, isn’t it that’s the part and allowing you, that was the key thing, allowing myself to feel however I felt.
KRZYS: Get out those emotions!
SOPHIE: Yeah, exactly, cause that’s part of it. I felt angry, I felt resentful, I felt like it’s just wasn’t fair and I had to feel those things for me to get to the next phase which was, you know, a much kinder, much more accepting, much more one step at a time. So I guess enabling yourself to have the space to feel whatever you need to feel. Yeah!
KRZYS: So the fear, the fear and confidence to comeback to start massaging again, do you think you are more confident to do that now, or you know after the first injury and now second?
SOPHIE: Yeah, I mean, what, what, what I did actually, for a long time, I hung my two x-rays up in my window and it showed one was you know, the break and one was the metal titanium implant and it was, I hung that up in my window for a long time and it reminded me of just the incredible healing ability of the body and the strength that comes from yeah, being able to recover from something like that and so I think confidence wise, it was, it was difficult because there was a bit of fear. There was a lot of pain for a long time and pain can be a scary thing. So it was a challenge in that way because experiencing pain in my body and working with my body for a job!
KRZYS: Listening to your body!
SOPHIE: Exactly, exactly and, and that actually is a lesson I have taken away from, from this kind of journey recovery from injury is to listen to my body and a lot earlier (laughter) so not just think oh I wish I hadn’t push myself a little bit too hard in that treatment cause now I’m aching. It’s much more about noticing things in that moment. Okay this isn’t, this position is causing a little bit of discomfort. How can I do something differently, which was so key to my coming back to massage after surgery and actually I’ve kept that with me just working day to day at the couch. So, yeah.
KRZYS: And I think its process of learning because I remember working as a mobile Massage Therapist and I work in places you know being sometimes I need to really improvise and adapt and I did put out. You know, I just ignored sometimes aches and pains you know, I say all right I could manage but I, I, later on I could feel all of it and now I’m more clever. As soon as I notice something I readjust. (Right) I just stop and readjust. So it’s yeah, it’s quite very, really good lesson and actually as a new Therapist, is to learn, to start to learn to no, to notice that because the same of the pain in the body. You know, we, we, we hold, hold lots of tension which we don’t, didn’t notice and you know body give us sometimes the the tip of you know, give us real pain or ache but we tend to ignore it because we have to because we have to carry on with life and we just carry on and then build up the tension and so on and so on but you know, might cause, you know the injury. But if we notice that before we can do something about it and I think it’s just the first thing just to start noticing. (Yeah) Our, when, start noticing when our body is uncomfortable, we can change that.
SOPHIE: Yeah, absolutely I completely agree. Yeah!
KRZYS: Which is amazing and easy, but it’s not (laughter)
SOPHIE: (Laughter) Yeah!
KRZYS: And it’s all in during the first step and you know and just learning just learning it and everything you know will follow, you know, the big journey of the thousand steps. So, you know, now after all this injury, have you thought about insurance or have you insured yourself? How, what’s your thought about that?
SOPHIE: Yeah, well I guess I realized when I looked into my insurance, cause I was just under a kind of basic you know what you get suggested when you join the, you know, Massage Training Institute or another governing body, I never really looked into it. So for me that, with the insurance that I had meant that if I need to get anything, I would have had to have lost a limb or yeah. So insurance wise it didn’t do anything for me at that time and I must admit I hadn’t really thought about it. I haven’t thought about upping my insurance or anything like that but that’s you know, that’s just where I’m at with it. I mean I think it would be a good thing to look into. There are probably lots of different options out there and it’s a scary thing, you know. It’s very lucky to have the support I did around me and to be able to so lean heavily on, on my community. I couldn’t have survived without it and so you know, I feel very lucky to have been able to do that. So yeah, it’s probably a good idea to do a bit more research I think. Yeah!
KRZYS: And we are going to try to get, well, well I’m thinking I’m getting few people from the insurance world to get, to get our interview so that we can get some more ideas about what’s, what’s out there and what do, you know what we can we do. So Busy Hive tune in (Laughter) So tell me the feeling after you first got back after incident and were massaging, what’s, what’s happening in your mind?
SOPHIE: Oh my God! I just, I just remembered, hearing you say that I can remember the first time I put my hands on somebody having been out of touch with massage for such a long time and I just started crying (laughter) It was, It was one of those like with the ten minutes massage with a friend as part of my recovery and it was like this feeling of going home and this feeling of like, this is where I’m meant to be and oh it makes me feel much torn up. Yeah, it was amazing and it was a wonderful thing to experience that in my body, in that moment because not once did I think, oh gosh I can’t do this anymore or you know, my body, you know, I’d broken two arms, I’ve been through the process of not being able to work and then you know, my clients, bless them, my loyal clients had seen me break two arms (laughter) and they still came back! (Laughter) and …
KRZYS: She’s always come back, whatever! (Laughter)
SOPHIE: (Inaudible 38:02) the running joke really, but yeah at no point did I feel like, okay this is, this is the universe telling me I shouldn’t being doing this. I felt just more and more like, yeah like grateful to have it in my life and to use the learnings from that recovery in my work, yeah!
KRZYS: Sophie, thank you for sharing that! That’s really, really deep and really, really inspirational and yeah, thank you for that.
SOPHIE: (Inaudible 38:34)
KRZYS: So the next question I have for you is because a lot of our listeners are either starting up or maybe they have been in the business for a while but is all struggling at building their own business sites. So the next question is, “If you woke up tomorrow morning and you still possess all of the experience and knowledge that you currently have, but your business had completely disappeared forcing you to start from scratch. What would you do?
SOPHIE: Hmmm! Well great question!
KRZYS: Thank you! (Laughter)
SOPHIE: Yeah! Well actually I’ve had to do this and because I had moved from Bristol where my client base was, where my business was, where my job as a Teaching Assistant was, and I’ve moved to Amsterdam and I’ve done that because I’ve felt like, like on it’s, you know, things were going a bit too well, so I had, you know, rock the boat. (Laughter)
KRZYS: I like that!
SOPHIE: Oh yeah? It’s a lot of growth that comes from being out of your comfort zone and that’s what felt right to me. And so I found myself in a situation where, you know, I’m in a completely different country, there’s a different, there’s a whole different market in terms of massage, no one knows who Sophie Fagan is and you know, and so, yeah, I’ve had to start again. And one thing I’ve done this time which I perhaps I didn’t do when I qualified in Bristol, was I’ve really reached out to the community in terms of Therapist, in terms of well-being events and in terms of people that, just surrounded me with people that I resonate with in terms of how I work. So, Holistic Therapists and yeah and, and I’ve ended up doing, getting involved in events and so for me, I love taking massage to the community and reaching out and touching as many people as I can because you know.
KRZYS: What sort of events?
SOPHIE: So I, I did an event called, Wellness Festival, back in February which was a hot tub, sauna, like healing music kind of festival and I taught a Tai Chi Workshop on this beach in the freezing cold in February to people who were pretty much naked because they had come out of hot tubs and saunas (laughter) and were like wearing, they were kind of wearing robes but they were just up for it and it was amazing. And from those events, and I also did some massage there as well but it’s from these events that I made connections which led to other opportunities and it boosted my confidence because I was massaging, people were seeing me work, people coming up to me and saying, “wow, I love what you’re doing, when can I book in with you? So for me getting out there, because I, I think also it can be quite lonely when you’re starting out, you know like you could end up just seeing your clients and not having a sense of whether you’re doing it right, or whether things are going in the right direction, a lot of self-doubt creep in. So for me, there is so much strength in community so not only for promoting yourself because obviously massage is, is something we experience in our bodies. So for someone to get a sense of what a massage with you is like, the best way for them to get a sense of that is to experience it. So what I do a lot of is, is Taster Days, where I offer short massages for a donation and then if they want to book in for a longer session, I give the massage discount if they book then and there. And actually, that’s something I did in Bristol and the people who came to those first ever Taster Days are the still with me today; so that’s like seven years on and yeah, that’s something that’s worked for me in terms of building up a client base and, and also I think you know, getting involved in these kind of events and finding your community, that is how you support yourself going forward. So arranging exchanges, I’m looking forward to doing some collaborations with other people, doing my own events and yeah. I find that inspiring and motivating and incredibly supportive, so yeah!
KRZYS: A few really good things so yeah of course, the visibility, the visibility, and people see you and see work. A lot of things s you mentioned, people coming and actually saying “wow, amazing, that looks amazing” which boost your confidence and actually acknowledgement from other people, actually, yeah, I’ve done something right! You know and like I love, I love the messages sometimes your clients send you next day. Oh my God, my legs feel like new. Amazing! I was like “yes!” (Laughter) Cause as you know, not, not often clients, you know, clients feel better. Clients do not, not very often you have this actual acknowledgement of that, which is you know, doing that kind of events which is great and yeah meeting people around. Collaboration, that’s really, really good, really important. So the, the next part is all about you! So here we have a moment to get promotion of our guest; the courses, book, practice, anything that they would like to share. So we will give you a little bit of the freestyle time. Here you go!
SOPHIE: Oh, thank you! Well as I said, I’m now primarily based in Amsterdam and I’ve actually got a Massage Taster Day coming up on Saturday the 17th of June. So what I’ll be doing is I will be offering twenty minute massages on a pay as you feel basis. So people just come and they have their massage with me and they pay whatever feels right to them and I’ll be offering that from ten in the morning until about four o’clock and I’ll be taking books and beforehand. So I have a Facebook event which I can share and people can call me and book in. I’ve done one before and I’ve got some regular clients from it and yeah, it’s a lovely way to connect with people and also you know, massage can also be expensive for a lot of people and this is my way of saying, come and experience a bit of it and pay whatever feels right to you. You know I just really love to, to make it accessible to people. So yeah, that’s Saturday, the seventeenth, and then something which is bubbling away which I wanted to share, is that next year I will be running a Tai Chi for the Massage Therapist Workshop in Bristol and maybe Amsterdam. And so this is a workshop which really focuses on using the principles of Tai Chi and to enable us to move in a way which is strain free at the couch to enable us to deepen that connection with our energy center (Inaudible 46.25) So we are efficiently using our energies, we’re not using too much but we’ll also do things like Qigong, which is a moving meditation which can really help kind of stock up our energy levels.
KRZYS: I need that! (Laughter)
SOPHIE: You know what’s great you know, they are short, they’re easy, they’re you know and it’s something that I do in between clients. So you’ve got a fifteen minute gap just to do a little bit of this exercise and it’s amazing how it can get your energy flowing .
KRZYS: So give us an idea, what’s Tai Chi and yeah, Qigong you mentioned already? So what, what is it? It just… yeah!
SOPHIE: So, so Tai Chi, both of them are an ancient form of Chinese exercise which dates back hundreds of years and the idea is, is that the belief is that we all have life force energy which flows into our body, known as Chi. And just like if you go for acupuncture or Shiatsu, they’re all very similar in the idea that we are at our optimum, we are you know, full of energy, we are feeling good emotionally, we are feeling strong in our body when our Chi is flowing; and so our Chi, our sort of life force energy can become blocked for lots of different reasons. And it can be physical, it can be emotional, all sorts of things and it can be stress related, big thing. And so for me, Tai Chi has always been a place of letting go of stress, of, of learning, I think one of the most amazing things it’s taught me is to move in a way which is just enough in terms of energy. So we live in a society where it can often be about pushing harder, stretching further, you know, keep going, keep going, and Tai Chi for me and Qigong is flow, which is like the moving meditation side of things and it’s a really beautiful way to experience in your body that you don’t have to beyond your capacity to be at your optimum and yeah, and it’s a wonderful thing. I mean, it’s one of those things that, that sounds great but you need to really need to experience it in your body to really (of course) understand it. Yeah! (So) So that’s what I’m hoping to offer, yeah!
KRZYS: So, when, next year, so there is no date, anything yet?
SOPHIE: Other than, yeah.
KRZYS: When, where will we be able to find out about that?
SOPHIE: So the best thing I think would be to contact The Bristol College of Massage and Body Work. I’ve got, we’re arranging a date together for next year. They’re just putting the calendar together, so once we come to a date which works for both us, then that would be on there, yeah.
KRZYS: Will there be anything on your website?
SOPHIE: Yeah, I’ll put it on my website too. Yeah!
KRZYS: Awesome! So the next part is our game which we tag a guest. So, us, would you like to do, we would like to ask you to, you know, “who do you admire and why? And can you help us get, get the person to come for an interview with me?
SOPHIE: Sure! Yeah, I would like to tag Bernard Porter. Now I met Bern like a lot of wonderful people in my life in a field, in The Healing Field of Green Man Festival a few years ago and we’ve become good friends since then. So he is a Massage Therapist, his company is Equipoise Massage Therapy and he is based in Bristol now and, but we’ve been peers and we’ve kind of been in parallel in terms of our journey of becoming self-employed and established in our practice and yeah, Bern works in quite a different way to me. He has more of a sports remedial background, a lot of structural, postural assessment stuff but he lives and breathes this work and recently he came out to visit me in Amsterdam and you know we spend hours talking about massage and gave each other a bit of an exchange. And I’ve experienced a lot of massage in my life but I found that he had the most sensitive listening hands that I’ve ever experienced. It felt like my body was talking to him and asking him “oh I think I need this,” and he was responding and you know, probably about twenty minutes of receiving a massage from him and I felt a huge change. I think he brings real awareness in terms of how we exist in our bodies and it’s, he has a way of really empowering people and so I think he’d be a great person to talk to.
KRZYS: Amazing! Thank you! So this is all great and thank you for joining me here today. You have given us a lot of great advice and rally pure inspiration so thank you.
So let’s finish the show with the last piece of advice for Busy Hive listeners and let’s say goodbye. Okay! If you had just one thing for our listeners to take out of this episode, what would it be?
SOPHIE: I think it would be finding strength in community. I think what you guys are doing at Busy Hive is fantastic and you know, I talked a lot about community, about having to lean on people and things didn’t go right, about reaching out to the community and inspiration when I’m starting out and I think, remembering that you don’t have to do it on your own and I think that what you guys are doing here in terms of creating a hub of inspiration and different stories and I think it’s fantastic and I just encourage people to, yeah to invest more into that. So whether it’s tuning into you guys, whether it’s looking broadly about your healing community around you, going to supervisions so you’re with your peers, I think that’s really, really important and it’s something that I wish I’d done a lot earlier in my journey because I probably would have found it a lot easier going forward.
KRZYS: And say yes to acceptance all the help, to accept all the help.
KRZYS: Amazing! So how can we connect with you online?
SOPHIE: Sure, so you can find me on my website which is, sophiefagan.com and my email on there is, firstname.lastname@example.org. I also have two different Facebook pages, one for my Bristol based clients and Massage Practice and one for my Amsterdam. So if you’re in Bristol and you fancy a trip to Amsterdam, you could come and see me, you wouldn’t be the first! (Laughter) I’ve had clients come over and see me in Amsterdam which has been wonderful.
KRZYS: Do you have clients coming to see you in Amsterdam? (Laughter) Amazing!
SOPHIE: Yeah! Some, some very loyal clients have always fancied the trip to Amsterdam. So they booked in with me when they were in town and how wonderful to share that next step of my journey with them, you know. Yeah!
KRZYS: Amazing! Thank you! So thank you for joining me here at Busy Hive Podcast and if you listeners are interested in learning a little bit more about Sophie, you can go to our busyhive.co.uk/community/podcast and you will have all the information in our show notes.
So Sophie it’s a pleasure to have you on the show today and hopefully we will chat again soon. Bye for now!
SOPHIE: Thank you!