Q: How were you inspired to start your business?
I found Amatsu Therapy when a friend recommended me to go for a treatment when I injured my neck in 1998. I went for some treatments and yes, the pain in my neck improved. But at one of my treatment appointments, I took along my 6 year old son who was off school that week. To give a little background, my son had an immune deficiency and was prone to getting severe infections. He also had asthma so regularly had chest infections. We spent a lot of time at hospitals and the GP and he was usually on antibiotic for one infection or another, as well as oral and inhaled steroids for asthma. He was a small, thin, poorly looking boy, so my practitioner asked me if I wanted to let my son be examined and treated too. Of course, I agreed. The Amatsu practitioner found that my son’s body was rather “squished” on one side, which corresponded with his birth, and he proceeded to balance the muscles involved in creating this wonky shape. At the time, it just looked like my son was having his arms and legs waved about with a bit of massage here and there. Well, as we left the Amatsu clinic, my rather hyperactive and angry little boy had turned into a happy chappy who sang to himself in the car. His face had relaxed and he was calm. He continued to have about a dozen Amatsu treatments, and had the occasional one when he was having a growth spurt.
From that first appointment in 1998, he quite simply hasn’t been ill enough to require hospitalization and has only had antibiotics twice! I was blown away how such a poorly little boy could completely change into a happy and healthy lad. At that time, my job was as a biomedical scientist, specializing in Haematology and Blood Transfusion. My scientific brain was intrigued with Amatsu Therapy and signed up for a 2 year training course as I, quite simply, HAD to know how Amatsu worked. Early in my training, I recognized I wanted to do Amatsu Therapy as a career, and since I had previously done a fair bit of training others in the laboratory, I knew I would want to teach Amatsu.
I became apprenticed to an Amatsu teacher, and in 2001 I was qualified to teach. I taught alongside my mentor until 2005 when I set up my own school, The Amatsu Training School Ltd in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire.
Q: How much do you love what you do?
My greatest love is to see the lights come on in students’ eyes. And I love to turn a doubt and fear into confidence. My biggest thrill is to see how my students go out into their clinics, set up their business and people recommend their friends to come to them. What a joy that is!
I love to teach creatively, using toys, props, games, and yes I have even dressed up in a muscle onesy so students could see the muscles they were studying. I do think that most people learn best when they are having fun, so we encourage plenty of fun and laughter in the classroom. Its definitely not a stifling and strict space. It’s a safe place where it is ok to make mistakes or to ask that really daft question that has been bugging you, because you can bet that there are other students who want to ask that question too – or who possibly don’t understand the subject sufficiently to begin to realise they need to know that piece of information, so can’t articulate their need.
When I teach, I love to make complicated things appear simple. The topic could be on an anatomical subject, say, or on an Amatsu concept of assessment or treatment of the body. By deconstructing the subject being taught, one can pull it apart to its component parts and put them together in such a way that the students build the topic themselves, with guidance to make sure they put the pieces together properly. I find that when teaching in this way, students retain the information as they have discovered it themselves and students gain confidence in their ability to learn and to practice Amatsu Therapy.
I truly appreciate the team I work with. Without them, The Amatsu Training School would not be the award-winning complementary training school that it is.
So, how much do I love what I do? I love it with every fibre of my being!
Q: If you could go back to a point in your life when you were facing a challenge, what inspirational advice would you give yourself?
Wow, that is a good question. I have learned that challenges are there for a reason. They either help me recognize where I am going wrong or they make me work towards a goal perhaps that I didn’t know I wanted or needed, often being reached by ways I didn’t know I could go!
So if I were to talk to my younger self, I would say that the challenge being faced is there for a reason, even if that reason isn’t obvious. Be open minded and seek counsel from wise colleagues. Always be honest with yourself. And look to walk towards solutions in carefully considered baby-steps. Sometimes the direction of those baby-steps needs to be a bit convoluted, and sometimes the end-point moves or changes, but those little baby-steps mean that action is being taken, little by little. Sitting and doing nothing doesn’t work.
Q: Tell us how your business inspires your clients!
I know that The Amatsu Training School inspires its students to become amazing Amatsu Practitioners. Our reviews and testimonials tell us that students love the safe space in the training room. Others tell us they had no idea they could learn so much in such a short time, and give credit to our teaching skills. Nearly everyone mentions the fun they have in the classroom, and how this helps them feel secure in what could be a vulnerable and scary place.
Amatsu Therapy uses small movements of the soft tissue of the body to match lesion patterns or injury patterns of the client. Amatsu Practitioners are trained to assess the body thoroughly to ascertain where these patterns may be. Knowledge is power, and this is backed by our thorough anatomy and physiology training. Practitioners can then safely treat these injury patterns by the natural movement of the practitioner (called taijutsu) and also soft tissue techniques such as massage. Their customers and clients are blown away by the results! Clients usually feel lighter, freer, in less pain and have more movement. Since Amatsu Therapy is little known, we do tend to be a treatment of last resort – clients have had numerous other therapies before coming to us, so when Amatsu Therapy works, well they are totally inspired. For many people, they are inspired enough to want to learn Amatsu Therapy, like I was.
Q: Knowing you aren’t alone in something and that there is light at the end of the tunnel means a lot when you are feeling low. What is a typical problem someone you work with might be facing and how do you guide them back into the light?
The duration of our Amatsu Therapy courses are two years. In that time frame, “stuff” happens. It happens to nearly every single one of our students, and staff come to that! However, The Amatsu Training School recognizes that things happen, illnesses and bereavements occur, so supports students one to one, often without the knowledge of the other students on the course. We offer individual learning plans and schedules for homework and case studies that are tailored to fit the student and their needs. Usually, students just need someone experienced to help them see that a few weeks following a different timetable will be enough to get them back on track again. As a last resort, students can defer to the following year, but we know that most want to remain with their study buddies, so we help them to achieve that. Many of our students have not had an easy ride through their previous education. The Amatsu Training School supports each student carefully. We use a set text-book that I co-authored together with Earle Abrahamson called “Making Sense of Learning Human Anatomy and Physiology” as a way of guiding students to find the most suitable way of learning for them. Everyone is different in how they learn and how they process information. We guide them to learn in creative and fun ways, so you can learn with a smile on your face and a sense of satisfaction of a job well done.
Q: As people we are always evolving and learning things on our life journey. Where do you find inspiration?
I am probably described by many people as a “studyoholic” and will never stop learning. I enjoy the constant revision and new learning about anatomy and physiology and how it applies to soft tissue therapy and look to my colleague Earle Abrahamson to help me on this journey. Other major players in the fascia and soft tissue industry keep my curiosity sharpened, so I attend symposia and conferences where I can, and I represent Amatsu Therapy on the Council for Soft Tissue Therapies. My inspiration comes from enjoying and observing nature; from looking at how patterns re-occur across species and across the body, how tiny movements can cause ripples which extend across the body. I take time to watch grass grow and to listen to the world around me.
Q: Businesses are always evolving too… what are you inspired to do next?
I would love to scale up The Amatsu Training School so we teach in other centres around the UK and Ireland or even beyond. As more people qualify to teach Amatsu Therapy, we will be well placed to create some satellite schools around the country.
I am already writing my next book with Earle Abrahamson and Handspring Publishing. It will cover the use of muscle testing which are used in Amatsu Therapy, and Sports Therapy amongst others. It will be fabulous to see this go to print, hopefully in 2019.