February 20, 2018

Holly Turner

Following an unexpected stress-induced seizure in a supermarket, I began to receive regular complementary therapies as part of my recovery. This sparked my interest in complementary therapy and stress management. By some weird co-incidence, I discovered that there was a BSc in Complementary Healthcare offered at Cardiff Met and decided to take the plunge, leaving my full-time job in Marketing for a career change as a Complementary Therapist.
My experience here on this programme has been totally life-changing. There are very few degree programmes in the UK quite like this one – a BSc degree in which you are trained to the highest standards in the UK in Holistic Massage, Reflexology and Aromatherapy. By the end of the first year (providing you pass all your exams and assignments of course!) you’re ready to go as a self-employed Holistic massage therapist, and by the second year, you’re a fully qualified Aromatherapist and Reflexologist.
You can earn whilst you learn, how cool is that!?
So let’s fast forward four years since the seizure. I am now in my third year of studies. I work as a self-employed mobile Reflexologist, have founded the Women’s Wellbeing group (more on that in a second!), had the pleasure of working as a Complementary Therapist at Marie Cure Hospice and I’m currently conducting a scientific experiment exploring the effects of Reflexology on stress in adults as my research project taking Human Tissue samples (salivary cortisol) – the first student to ever do so on the programme.
Having studied pathophysiology of disease, anatomy and physiology and the biological, psychological and social factors that influence our health, I’ve learnt how stress can lead to disease and poor health. It was this, alongside my newly-found passion as a Complementary Therapist to help others, that led me to founding Women’s Wellbeing back in May 2017. I started the group because I wanted the opportunity to help other women who have ever felt as stressed, low or lonely as I once was.

Holly in clinic

I can honestly say this course has been life changing for me.

We meet every fortnight in the local village hall, and I teach the members ways in which they can be happier and healthier. We come together to learn something new, forget about our worries, relax, meditate and unwind. I started the group with just 11 members, and now there’s twenty-five of us (and growing), that are running out of space in the hall when we get our yoga mats out!
Before Christmas, I was given an 8-week placement at Marie Curie Hospice in Penarth, to work as a Complementary Therapist.
I had the opportunity to work in the day-service department with a range of different patients and the in-patient unit, on the wards, resulting in two totally unique yet positive experiences. I was able to deliver all my therapies, seeing first-hand the benefits that complementary therapies can bring to the terminally ill and their families within palliative end-of-life care.
Working as a complementary therapist at Marie Curie was a humbling, life-changing experience that I will be eternally grateful for. This experience on placement at Marie Curie hospice validated how meaningful and rewarding a career as a complementary therapist is, and I am very much looking forward to volunteering there and being back with the fabulous team after my dissertation has been handed in.
For me, this degree programme has been the best decision I’ve ever made and I can honestly tell you that I have never been happier. I now wake up every day and love working. There’s no better job for me than to help others feel better, manage their pain or disease-related symptoms; bringing them peace and relaxation.
Looking for more on how Cardiff Met students learn on the job? Check out our Work Placement blog posts.