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TY GWYN REFLEXOLOGY, Sychdyn near Mold

Becoming a parent is a life-changing event for most people but for Stephanie Hughes, it literally changed everything.

It was the start of motherhood but also what led to her quitting her almost decade-long job as a housing officer, to starting her own reflexology business.

Reflexology is an alternative medical practice involving the application of pressure to specific points on the feet.

Stephanie, who loves exercise and trains for triathlons, explains: "I went for reflexology after my little boy was born. I was finding it really tough as a new mum.

"I came out the sessions like a different person. It was like a switch had flicked.

"I thought 'this is incredible'. And I quit my job and retrained."

Stephanie - now a busy mum to a three-year-old son and one-year-old daughter - launched T Gwyn Reflexology, based in the Flintshire village of Sychdyn, on April 12, 2021.

She aims to provide professional, personalised and client centred reflexology treatments in a relaxed and impartial environment.

Adding: "Whether it is your first or 101st appointment, it is our aim to support clients to enhance their own quality of life and promote self-healing."

Specialising in fertility, maternity, menopause and hormonal health, palliative and cancer care, NEPIP and stress relief, I ask Stephanie if there is a typical type of person through her doors.

While it can be anyone, she says: "It varies but my main demographic is women between 35 and 70.

"There's a pocket of women that have young children that just need some kind of escapism from the manicness.

"Then women going through menopause, lots of hormonal issues.

"And the older ladies, now retired but in need of some chill out time.

"Then there are sportspeople and those with lifelong limiting conditions.

"Men mainly come for pain management. My husband, who previously suffered migraines, loves it.

"I recently got my hands on a pair of size 15 feet belonging to a professional basketball player. He only just fit in my chair!"

The 34-year-old explains a little bit more about how reflexology can help people.

She said: "If you can tell the body to switch off its stress hormones, then it can get back to what it should be doing.

"It can regulate a woman's monthly cycle, help with digestion.

"If you're constantly in fight or flight mode and you're go, go go, your body 'forgets' to do lots of other things in the background.

"Reflexology takes you back down to that calmer, balanced level.

"And this is why it can help with fertility, IBS, painful periods and things like that."

Can the effects be long term? "They certainly can be. If I've got someone with a chronic condition, I would see them every week for a month, and then we do top up sessions less frequently.

"The body starts to remember how to relax, and people get more out of the treatment."

It's helping people that gives Stephanie the real job satisfaction.

She adds: "I love seeing a bit more of the sparkle in my clients' eyes return after each of my sessions.

"Having people come to me with stories about how reflexology has positively benefited them in real-life terms is incredible and why I love what I do.

"I do operate a 'ticklish feet' guarantee; I promise you won't find it tickles, and if you do I will return your fee."

And reflexology is even making an appearance as part of the Sychdyn Scarecrow Competition, with Stephanie displaying a head-turning talking point within the village.

One thing's for sure, Stephanie knows how to put her best foot forward…

• Ty Gwyn Reflexology

Stephanie Hughes CRM5 (dip) MAR PRM TGR