Ali Wilson is one of the Senior Massage therapists here at Phoenix Health and Wellbeing. I interviewed her recently to find out what makes her tick and how she came to be here!
Q: How would you describe yourself?
“I’m a massage and Reiki practitioner. I’m obsessed with crosswords and Pokémon. I am a massive softie and a warrior at the same time”
Q: Why massage?
“ A couple of things. My mum used to massage my legs when I was a little kid as they used to ache – it made me feel really good. Then my friend Stuart massaged me when I was 15 and I thought it was the best thing ever. It made me feel relaxed. I was a very tense teenager. I had chronic anxiety. It wasn’t diagnosed with it but it lead to me being bulimic and I actually tried to end my life. The massage from Stuart was a turning point for me.”
Q: So your own mental health was a trigger to massage – was there anything else?
“Yes! My Mum was in a car accident and she was badly injured, she nearly died. I massaged her during her recovery and it helped immensely. I wasn’t taught but did it intuitively.”
Q: So where and when did you study?
“In 2012 I did a massage course at Wakefield Skills Exchange. I was working at Sainsbury’s at the time, doing nightshifts and restocking shelves. I knew I wanted to work as a massage therapist, I was drawn to helping other people. So I set up my spare room to practice massage from but work took all of my energy and I couldn’t focus on my massage business.
Q: It must be hard to work two jobs. What did you do?
“I took the brave decision to ditch my job and I left Sainsbury’s. I lived on savings for a while, ended up in a bit of a mess and lost my home. Then I went back to my Mum’s but I still felt determined to be a massage therapist.
Q: What next?
I regained confidence by going through a mentorship with the Chamber of Commerce. A lady called Veronica Baldwin really helped me. She was really inspiring. She taught me how to speak positively about myself and how to create a peaceful space.
I set up my own massage practice, Clear Stream Massage and Holistic Therapies, and haven’t looked back since.
Q: So when did your association with Phoenix start?
I got involved with Phoenix in 2017. I met another massage therapist at a vegan dinner party who told me that Phoenix were looking for massage therapists who were qualified to Diploma level and fully insured. Here I am 19 months later and Phoenix is my main place of work.
Q: So what now?
I don’t really see my massage practice as work anymore because I love it. I work with people who are referred to Phoenix by healthcare and medical professionals. They have chronic health issues and it is a privilege to work with them to try to make them feel better. The therapies that I give help to improve people’s quality or life and make them more comfortable.
I love working at Phoenix – the peer support is great. The Director is very inspiring. But most if all I love the clients. The look on their faces when they have relaxed is humbling. It is just such a privilege to enable a person’s relaxation.
I am passionate about what I am doing. I wake up and I want to come in to Phoenix. Monday is my favourite day – how many people can say that?
Q: So what next?
I am looking forward to moving to new premises in September with Phoenix Health and Wellbeing. I have some ideas about expanding. I’d love to start a vegan catering business and a retreat!
Q: Somehow Ali Wilson I think you will!
Ali is currently fund raising for Phoenix. She is doing a 50 mile bike ride at the end of September. Please sponsor her using this link SPONSOR ALI
Phoenix Health & Wellbeing is a Charity. When you come to us for a treatment you will be helping us to support people who have chronic health issue and low income. We use the proceeds of your treatment to subsidise those who would not otherwise be able to access our therapies. Roughly £3 to every £10 spent with us will go to help others.
Phoenix Health and Wellbeing offers excellent massage therapies in Leeds City Centre with therapists who are fully qualified, insured and members of relevant professional bodies. Click here to find out more
Monday to Thursday: 10:00 to 20:00
Friday and Saturday: 11:00 to 16:00