Natural healing business keeps growing
When Karen Simons first went into holistic healing, she wasn’t sure how things would go.
Was there enough interest in Bermuda in alternative therapies like cupping, acupuncture and transpersonal psychotherapy?
“I had enough money saved, so that I could support myself for a couple of years while I tried to work on educating the public,” she said.
But in the 16 years since then, interest in natural healing has only grown in Bermuda.
After working with Sankofa on Chancery Lane for several years, she set up her own practice, Dr Karen, five years ago. She now works out of the offices of My Sereni-Tea in the Bermudiana Arcade in Hamilton.
“I’m pretty busy,” she said.
She’s doing well enough not to have to worry much about competition.
“I think Bermuda’s population and the amount of problems people have allows us all to have the clientele that we need,” she said. “I don’t really see other people in the same field as competition. I just know that there are other practitioners out there, and thank goodness because there is no way I could do it all.”
But she has been careful to stay on top of her game.
“I had to learn how to market myself,” she said.
She’s on Facebook all the time and makes sure her website is always updated.
In the beginning, her clients were mainly guest workers, but with the expat exodus in recent years, that has changed.
“All of the sudden more locals started to come, which was excellent because expats were on their way out of Bermuda,” she said. “By then I had so many local people. They had a good experience and they spread the word. Because we are a small community, it was very helpful.”
But she feels there is still a long way to go in educating Bermuda about natural health.
One of the myths she wanted to address was whether she tells people to go off their medications.
“That is a real no, no,” she said. “There are clients who choose to go off their medication, but I always advise them to go back to their doctor and have that conversation. I tell them to please be open with the doctor that they are receiving this kind of treatment with me.”
As a child she was always attracted to eastern practices. She started martial arts at 14, and loved reading her father’s books on Zen and Daoism.
She went into special education, but used her breaks to study natural health. She has doctorates in metaphysical healing and transpersonal psychotherapy from Delphi University in McCaysville, Georgia. She studied Chinese medicine at a clinic in Toronto and had an apprenticeship under a Chinese doctor out of Boston.
“I specialised in advanced cupping two years ago,” she said. “Cupping massage has become popular with me, where you use a soft cup, glide it and pull the tissues in different ways and really work with the lymphatic system, which is very helpful for people who have had breast cancer or accidents, or people who have swellings.”
Some of the people who see her have back issues while others are athletes.
“Then there is cosmetic cupping for the face, or they get cupping on their legs for cellulite,” she said. “It doesn’t leave bruises, but it can leave marks. The more toxins you have the darker your marks will be. I probably do more cupping than acupuncture.”
Wearing her psychotherapy hat, she will be holding a workshop “Take Your Mask Off&Live”, with British natural healer Helen Stott, on October 26 and 27. The workshop will be an interactive experience exploring the topic of “wearing masks” to cope with life. The event will be held at Spirit House, Middle Road, Devonshire from 10am to 4.30pm. Tickets are $265 — all payments cash.
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