All About Me (Sian – pronounced Sh-arn)
So how do I find myself writing all about me for you? Although at times it seems like a bolt from the blue, and it definitely was an impulsive decision, looking back across my life I can see I have always loved to imbibe scent. Never mind scratch and sniff stickers, I can recall being told off at school for sniffing marker pens, board rubbers, chalk dust and even school dinners! Fresh-cut grass and roses are understandable but there are memories of my mum asking me what on earth I was doing as I stood breathing in scents as varied as the fumes at a petrol station or her nail varnish remover. Then there was the particular smell of my grandmother’s Nulon hand cream and Max Factor mascara. I found all scents (good or bad!) utterly fascinating, but can honestly say it never occurred to me that I could use scents to help and support people or build a career around it.
In my time I have gone from an adventuring and intrepid (and sadly poor!) archaeologist to safe and financially secure (and sadly bored!) accounts and finance analyst. I think that I must have been the only person in the room to be secretly happy when it was announced that we were being made redundant. I knew that this could give me the opportunity to find a job that I would like to do, one where I could both help others and make a living. In the end this indeed proved to be a huge turning point in my life.
A Rather Random Series of Events…
I had no Eureka moment that I wanted to be a therapist. I was randomly walking down St. Albans high street pondering possible new careers when I noticed something familiar out of the corner of my eye. I stopped. I looked back. I realized happily that it was a Neal’s Yard Remedies apron. Feeling something between a stalker and Alice in Wonderland following the White Rabbit, I turned around and followed the lady in the blue apron, all the way into the store.
I had to apologize to the somewhat perturbed assistant, but spotted that I could ask about courses. I had a training fund given as part of my redundancy settlement and fancied dabbling in complementary therapies. I was promptly shown a leaflet for the Aromatherapy Diploma course. I was a little mystified – I had a limited budget and was only interested in introductory courses. ‘Sorry’ the assistant said with a puzzled frown, ‘you just looked like an aromatherapist’.
Odd thing to think. Odd thing to say. I thought nothing of it but it was strangely prescient! I accordingly booked onto introduction courses for product making, herbal medicine and aromatherapy. A short time after I sat in my kitchen with still no idea whatsoever what to do with myself. My first thought was ‘what shall I do with my life now?’ my second was ‘well, I could always do that Aromatherapy Diploma course at Neal’s Yard Remedies’. It was as quick, simple, instantaneous, instinctive and intuitive a decision as that. I was going to be an aromatherapist and oddly at that moment, nothing seemed more natural.
Start as you mean to go on – and I opted to take the highest training possible in Aromatherapy – Neal’s Yard Remedies Level 5 Aromatherapy and Essential Oil Science Diploma. I started my career at the NYR Therapy Rooms in St. Albans, but found myself treating an increasingly wide range of medical and psychological conditions. This led me to develop more training in clinical methods and I worked in various osteopathy and physiotherapy clinics including Woodside Clinic and Emma James Physiotherapy, treating both NHS and private clients. After 3 years I had enough clients to go into fully private practice at Nature To Nurture. I have expanded my Aromatherapy into professional Consultancy for private individuals and businesses and Natural Product making. I hold qualifications in many Massage Techniques, and so it seemed natural to undertake the highest qualification in Massage Therapy as well, the Jing BTEC level 6 Professional Diploma in Advanced Clinical Massage and Sports Massage. I am a highly positive person and when the Covid pandemic meant that I could no longer treat people hands on, I joined the Jing JAMMM and transitioned my skills online!
Charity & Voluntary Work
I consider it a privilege to practice massage and aromatherapy – blending to be able to bring the incredibly beneficial power of touch to people. As such I like to take part in taster sessions for charity and fund-raising events, as well as volunteer where possible in local hospices and hospitals.
Ginkgo biloba – why it is symbolic of Nature To Nurture
I did not chose the Ginkgo biloba as my symbol, I honestly feel that it chose me.
It is a living fossil, similar to remains dating back to the Permian Age (240 million years ago) and is a unique species of tree, the only kind in its family. Its leaves are also unique amongst seeded plants for their fan-shape, so similar to the Maidenhair Fern that it is often called the Maidenhair Tree. It is the national tree of China, and the symbol of the city of Tokyo and the Urasenke ceremonial tea school in Japan.
When it came to choosing a symbol to represent me however, I had obviously first looked at plants related to essential oils and used in Aromatherapy. Still, my intuition said the Ginkgo leaf and I kept returning to it. The more I learned of the tree the more appropriate and remarkable it seemed. Although it is not a plant used in Aromatherapy, its medicinal and pharmaceutical uses are widely known and Ginkgo supplements are taken for memory and concentration with medical research into its use for forms of Dementia. The trees are also incredibly resilient and long-lived with great resistance to both insects and disease. Some trees are claimed to be as old as 2,500 years, whilst they were amongst the only livings things to survive the atomic blast of Hiroshima. Although charred, they quickly recovered and are still alive to this day: a truly extraordinary plant.