The Women Behind Unity; Meet Andrea…

Andrea is passionate about holistic therapy and the benefits of natural cosmetics and skincare. She lives in the South West of England with her daughter, Isabel and here she touches on her experiences and background in massage and beauty therapy.

I remember when I visited a spa for the first time after I had been given a voucher for my 21st birthday. As soon as I entered I was completely blown away by the scents of bergamot, eucalyptus and the profound sense of calm that enveloped me. I received a full body massage which left me with a feeling of calm and relaxation I hadn’t experienced before. I was fascinated with the face and body products and I left that spa absolutely convinced that this was an area I wanted to work in.

I found a holistic school of body work where I could study anatomy, physiology and Swedish massage. I loved practising different techniques on my friends and family, and I learnt so much from my teacher who was passionate about the power of touch and benefits of massage therapy. After working hard and qualifying with a ‘distinction’, I went on to study beauty and then Indian Head Massage before joining a luxury cruise liner to work in the onboard spa.

For two years, I worked with some of the very best therapists from all over the world, learning from them and exploring different health concepts. I also made some amazing friends who I still keep in touch with today. Working on board cruise ships was an invaluable experience where I developed my massage practice, knowledge of skin care and also had the chance to travel; America, Mexico, Canada and Alaska.

I would perform many detoxification therapies in the spa which inspired me to change my lifestyle once I returned home. In 2007, I travelled to Thailand and checked into a detox retreat where I fasted for 10 days to cleanse my body of toxins that had accumulated over time. At that point, I decided to become vegetarian and went on to Australia where I hoped to start my new healthier life!

In Australia I spent time with my older sister, niece and nephew who live on the central coast in New South Wales. I had a job managing a skin care counter at Bondi Junction where I was able to gain even more experience helping clients of various nationalities to improve the condition of their skin.

When I returned to the UK, I suffered with back pain which meant I had to limit the amount of massage treatments I could perform. Although I now work in education, I still provide massage and beauty treatments when I can; this is still my passion and I hope I will always be able to use the skills I have.

I now live in the city where I grew up with my daughter, Isabel; Exeter is a cosmopolitan Cathedral City, full of Roman history, surrounded by coastline and farmland. In my spare time I exercise as much as I can, of course developing my own unique yoga practice to manage my back pain and stay strong. Exercise really helps me to feel in control of my health and mind.

I love travelling and always look forward to taking Isabel away in the school holidays. Isabel is a fantastic explorer and it is always a pleasure to watch her taking in different cultures and languages when we go abroad.

I am so pleased that Hanan and I will be working together on Unity to inspire others to take care of themselves. I can’t wait to share the rituals and practices I have learnt through the wellbeing workshops and Unity retreats we are planning.

In future articles I will be sharing my favourite rituals, experiences of detoxification and what it was like to become a vegetarian.

With love, Andrea

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