From Retail To Reflexology

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Can a spontaneous cup of coffee and an evening course change your life? Find out how Cathy Bebbington went from retail to reflexology with a little help from The Isbourne…

How would you describe yourself and what you do?
I’m a holistic therapist and I’m trained in Reflexology, Aromatherapy, Swedish Massage and Reiki. What I’m hoping to do is to bring all these modalities together to create a holistic treatment for the benefit of mind, body and soul. If someone calls me and asks for reflexology, that’s what they will get, but if someone says they’re feeling low and they don’t know what to do, we’ll talk our way through it during the consultation, and if one thing doesn’t work we’ll try another – it can be a very fluid process.Cathy Bebbington 2

How long have you been practising at The Isbourne?
I’m a newbie! I’ve just qualified this year and so I’m setting up my own practice and have just started working here. It’s all new and exciting!

Congratulations on winning the Reflexologist of the Year award
Thank you very much! The tutors on my Reflexology course at Gloucestershire College voted for me – it was a real shock actually. I was studying under Emma Long and Harriet Jeffries – wonderful tutors. I moved from trying to find a particular point on the foot to actually feeling that point – and that’s when the magic happened. I’ve found something that really works and that I love doing. I don’t know why it took me so long to discover reflexology! I wish I had learnt it years ago, but life gets in the way.

You took part in The Isbourne’s Introduction to Holistic Living course…
I was working in retail, doing quite a stressful job in the back office. Something particularly stressful happened and I was off with anxiety and depression for about a year. It was awful, and I was trying to work out what I was going to do with the rest of my life. One day I was driving home after shopping on a Sunday afternoon and I saw a sign about the Mind Body Soul Weekend at Pittville Pump Room. I went in and met Kathryn and Sarah at The Isbourne stand and we just talked about the course. It was just a bit too much to take on board as I was rather shut down, but Sarah invited me to pop in any time for a coffee. A couple of months later I took up her offer and just bumbled in, not planning anything – and you know when you walk in somewhere and think ‘I just want to be part of this place – I want to spend more time here’. That’s what it was like. I also came to an Open Evening and decided to do the course.

I felt so much better on the course, and started to make positive changes in my life. I bought a dog – I’d never had the courage to buy one before, and she’s beautiful. I got on particularly well with Lois Hastings, one of the course tutors – she’s the bee’s knees! I think the main thing about the course that resonated with me was about the Ego – how it performs, how it’s there to protect you and how it can get just a little bit out of whack. When people say ‘you’ve just got to love yourself’ – I couldn’t understand that. Or when they say ‘let it go’ – well, I couldn’t! But the tutors talked about these things in such a gentle, common-sense way – I just thought – oh my goodness, yes! The course was life-changing, really.

Why have you chosen to be a healer?
I’ve always wanted to be of use to people. All the jobs I’ve had have been around people. People are pretty fantastic – they’re so interesting, and if I can help then I want to. I want to be part of this group that can actually bring change to people and that can help them make their own changes. I love being a therapist – it’s just a joy.

What inspires you?
Lots of things – but mainly people, like the ones here at The Isbourne. They have their own truth and they don’t mind expressing it, saying it, living it and having the strength to walk away – with love – if others don’t agree with them. There is power and there is joy in that.

What are your favourite holistic treatments/practices?
I love receiving the treatments I’ve trained in. I also love crystals – I have some but I need to know more about them. I always have some crystals on me – they’re like little friends! Which makes me sound really weird, I know – but, hey, what can I say!

I also love Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), which we explored on the Introduction to Holistic Living course – I did another course afterwards with Isbourne tutor Wendy Beresford. EFT is extraordinary. I was such a non-believer – I said ‘come on then’ – like a challenge. It was tremendous how accessible it was. In the fullness of time I’d like to train in it and pass it on to my clients, because anxiety is massive at the moment and it’s only going to get worse.

How do you relax?
I’m trying ever so hard to be really good at meditation and trying very hard to do all those things that a spiritually aware person should do, and I fail most days, but at least it’s forward movement! I love my dog, Lola, a half Border Collie, half Labrador. It’s sort of relaxing when we mooch around together! And I have my children, who are both with me at the moment. My son has just qualified as a speech and language therapist, and my daughter wants to study psychology at University. I’m very proud of them.

What’s next for you?
I’d like to introduce EFT to my clients, and I’ll soon be taking a regular space at Pittville Leisure Centre, and maybe helping people there to know about The Isbourne. The Isbourne is such a special little place – it’s been fantastic for me. I know it’s been going for years and years but I had never walked in through the door, and I’m so glad I did.

You can find Cathy at and The Isbourne at