Local resident, former social worker and mum of three Ashlene McNamee is someone putting these techniques into practice every day after launching her own holistic therapy business during lockdown through the Go For It programme in association with Mid Ulster District Council.
Ashlene set up Ashlene Rosanne Holistic, offering reflexology, reiki healing and also delivering sound meditation classes in Cookstown, Dungannon and online.
She delivers reflexology to clients in her premises outside Cookstown and also in the community for cancer patients with Care for Cancer in Omagh.
The treatment of reflexology is based on a theory that different areas of the feet are connected to different organs and body systems. Reflexology is a form of massage that involves applying varying amounts of pressure to the feet to deliver health benefits.
Ashlene only set up her business in 2020, but first developed her passion for reflexology years ago when she treated herself to a session.
She said: “I had it done years ago when I was stressed, and I loved it. I was mesmerised by it, loved it and I came home that night and slept like a baby.
“I thought it would be fun to do a course in reflexology, but I never thought I would be changing career. But it was a lightbulb moment when I walked into that course.
“After I finished the course, we had a room set up in the house and I would have had some clients coming to me to get their feet done.”
November 2020 was when the mum-of-three considered changing career in order to have more time at home with her children.
Ashlene said: “It was lockdown and the children were being home-schooled at that stage. I was having to pay somebody to come to the house to home-school them because I was out at work and my husband was working and farming.
“So I just made the decision that I would leave work and when lockdown lifted, I would give it a proper go.”
During this time when Ashlene was at home with lockdown she wrote and self-published the ‘Truth Who Am I’ ebook and audiobook, available to buy on Amazon.
Ashlene now has a good client base, and she also teaches sound meditation classes in Cookstown, Dungannon and online.
Ashlene got in touch with the Go For It programme on the advice of her sister who had previously set up her own business.
“She said to give Go For It a ring as they might have grants. Go For It didn’t have grants, but they could do a business plan and I thought I might need that wee bit of backbone,” she says.
“I never had any issue with doing the work, but I was finding it a bit scary to push myself for more work. I hoped it would give me the confidence to keep going and that was it – the business plan.”
The Go For It programme is delivered free of charge by a team of experienced business mentors through Northern Ireland’s wide network on enterprise agencies. It provides expert advice and help with developing a robust business plan to help turn ideas into a commercial enterprise.
I thought it would be fun to do a course in reflexology, but I never thought I would be changing career