Resident Profile: Rebecca Brown

Rebecca Brown is a reflexologist and the latest small business owner to join the Mansion. Becky specialises in Maternity Reflexology and Functional Reflex Therapy; a way of performing reflexology on people with autism and special educational needs; and she also sits on the board of the British Reflexology Association.

Her Reflexology Den is located in the Mansion basement. She sees up to 6 clients a day, by appointment only. We talk to her about her work.

Tell us your story. How did you get into reflexology?

I have been practising reflexology since 2013 and juggle this with being a mum to three small children. My interest in reflexology began in my late teens when a friend bought me a treatment. After that, I was hooked! I’ve received reflexology regularly ever since and it’s helped me with a range of conditions from back pain, to PND which I suffered after my first child, and hormonal imbalances. I received reflexology throughout all of my pregnancies and found it to be an extra special, relaxing treat, at what can be a very emotional time.

My previous career was as a primary school teacher and when I left teaching I knew that I wanted to do 'something' - I just wasn't sure what that something was. It had been staring me in the face all along though and, when the idea came to me to study reflexology, I couldn't believe I hadn't thought of it sooner. A few days later I received the news that I had a small inheritance from my beloved nan, who had passed away the year before - and the money was just the right amount to cover the cost of the training course. So I took it as the universe sending me a message I was on the right track - or, who knows, maybe my nan herself; depending on what you believe! I have been practising ever since the birth of my daughter in 2013.

I feel incredibly passionate about the power of complementary medicine to assist with healing the body, and the link between mind, body and spirit. Every client presents a unique story and a new pair of feet to explore, and I feel honoured to be able to be a part of their journey; whether it be assisting with a particular condition or for relaxation in general, which is of course just as important in modern life.

In 2016 I completed my maternity specialism and I went on to complete Advanced Maternity training in early 2019. I now have experience of treating clients who are trying to conceive and those who are pregnant. Pregnancy is a very special time, but can also present with a number of ailments, which can be assisted by reflexology.

I have also trained in Functional Reflex Therapy, which is a specific way of performing reflexology on people with autism, learning difficulties and special educational needs. This is something very close to my heart and I have an interest in this on both a personal and professional level. My further professional development includes hot stone reflexology, mindful reflexology and Aroma-Reflex (a combination of aromatherapy & reflexology). In 2017, I became a member of the board of the British Reflexology Association; a body which oversees & regulates reflexologists in the UK. I have responsibility for organising & co-ordinating lecture days.

I also try very hard to stay nourished in my home life. As the saying goes, ‘you can't pour from an empty cup’, and when I have spare time I practice yoga and I am going on two retreats this year. I don't always manage this though and often end up as flustered as the next person. with the demands of everyday life!

What inspires you professionally?

Authenticity. I am lucky enough to have met many inspirational people in my line of work and those who are living life in a way true to themselves are the ones who I have learnt the most from. I always bear this in mind in my own work and make sure I am being as authentic as possible in my words and actions, even if sometimes my ways do seem a little off the wall. I figure you can’t go wrong that way.

Highlights of my career have always been when clients have felt benefit from having reflexology above & beyond what is expected. Reflexology does not claim to cure or heal, but rather stimulates the body’s own healing forces, in order to bring all systems of the body into equilibrium.

I cannot claim that reflexology is necessarily responsible for this, but I have worked with clients who have conceived when they have been told this is an impossibility; also those who have chronic degenerative conditions who have seen improvements and respite from their condition whilst having sessions.

It is incredibly rewarding when people gain benefit from treatment and I feel very privileged to work with them.

What are your ambitions/hopes for the future?

I would like to see reflexology and all complementary therapies become more mainstream. With all the stress and conflict in the world, I believe so much of it could be helped through the incorporation of complementary medicine into our lives.
I have a pipe dream of setting up some kind of system of making reflexology available to those who might not otherwise be able to access it, especially the more vulnerable members of our society.

What drives you? What’s your life philosophy and where did it come from?

It sounds very cliché but I am driven by helping people, which reflexology lends itself to perfectly. I believe we have to all look out for each other in this world, as otherwise what is the point of it all? I find in general yogic philosophy very much resonates with me, particularly the concept of ‘ahimsa’ which means, ‘non-harm’.

This can be applied and translated to so many aspects of life – always taking the path that involves the least harm to anyone and is of course very relevant to reflexology. I also use yoga as a way of building up my own prana (life-force energy) in order to be able to use this to help my clients.

How do you use the Mansion? What do you do here?

I walk my dogs in the grounds of the Mansion a few times a week and treat myself to a coffee in the café. My daughter also attends sewing classes in Know How You, and we have attended Yogabright’s kids’ yoga sessions in Studio Kooks.

Why did you choose the Mansion for your business and what do you like about it?

I first discovered the Mansion a couple of years ago and I fell in love with it instantly. I love the relaxed atmosphere and the whole place has a very positive energy to it. I felt an instant affinity as if I had been there before, even though I never had. I felt the quirky, relaxed atmosphere matched my own energy and would be the perfect spot for me to work.

I started out sub-letting Know How You studio and have recently been lucky enough to take on my own room; The Reflexology Den in the basement. I feel the peaceful idyllic location of the Mansion gives the perfect complementary backdrop to the relaxation experienced during a reflexology session.

What does your typical day look like?

A typical day can really vary, depending on whether I am seeing clients or having an admin day. I much prefer the days I am working directly with my clients. I typically see up to 6 clients a day. but I also make sure that I set aside days for writing up my notes, updating my website and organising my paperwork.

I especially look forward to professional development courses, of which we have to do a certain number of hours each year. In January I completed training in Advanced Maternity Reflexology and am still working on my coursework for that before I book myself onto anything else.

What are your hopes for the Mansion’s future?

I very much hope that it continues as it is. Every week something new seems to pop up here, and it really is a unique space in the local area. I love its quirky vibe and how it caters to non-mainstream activities.

Find out more about Reflexology on Rebecca's website and Social Media (Twitter, Instagram).

Resident profile: Studio Kooks

Studio Kooks is our resident yoga and pilates studio, open 7 days a week. We caught up with the founders to find out more.

Tell us a little about your back story

Studio Kooks came into being through the friendship of Jean Hall, Alison Henning and Kathy King. We share a deep appreciation and enjoyment of body-mind practices, as well as many years experience of yoga and Pilates teaching. Having taught extensively in numerous environments in London and abroad, we have first-hand understanding of what makes for a wonderful space… and Studio Kooks is just that!

What does a typical Studio Kooks day look like?

Yoga and Pilates classes run everyday taught by the best of the local teachers. At weekends we also hold workshops and half day retreats.

From pregnancy yoga, to Seniors’ Pilates, via baby massage, kids yoga and family Capoeira; from strong, dynamic practices to gentle and restorative forms of yoga, we hope we can provide a class that suits everyone.

Why did you choose the Mansion?

The Mansion offers the ideal environment for body-mind practices that is completely supportive to nurturing health and well being. As well as the spacious and stunning character of the Georgian building itself, the surrounding park and woodlands encourages people to step out of urban ‘busy-ness’ and into the nurturing space of nature.

Being a part of the lively creative community within the Mansion is also very special.

How does the Mansion’s setting affect your work?

We take every day inspiration from the beautiful setting of Beckenham Place Park, and one of our teachers, Gillian Evans, offers a silent walk through the park and woodlands in a circular hike. Weather permitting, this also includes pausing in a beautiful spot for a guided fifteen-minute meditation. Afterwards everyone can enjoy a good chat, along with a fresh brew of tea and a spot of cake in the Mansion’s cafe!

What inspires you?

Seeing people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds come together in this lovely, unique space. Seeing these people enjoy movement practices that positively impacts their health and enhances their lives.

We also have the rewarding experience of hosting workshops and day-long retreats, which allows extra time for students to go deeper into these life-affirming practices. It offers the opportunity for profound learning and growth for all who attend.

Tell us a bit more about the creative hub within the Mansion.

We’ve welcomed many of the Mansion’s other residents to our classes and have struck up great personal and professional relationships. Daniela Fleckenstein worked with us on a photoshoot to produce some beautiful images of our studio in use and Alex Crawford, a most talented chef working in the Cafe, has produced wonderful vegan feasts for our retreat days.

What are your hopes for the Mansion’s future?

We love being part of the vibrant Mansion community and hope it continues to grow; attracting not just the local residents, but also those further afield who can enjoy this unique venue and all the amazing, diverse and fun activities and events on offer.

For Studio Kooks, we intend to continue to build and and expand our timetable of events, classes and workshops for everyone.