Retreat v. 'to withdraw to a quiet or secluded place' 

In its simplest form ‘retreat’, means ‘to withdraw, to drawback.’ Throughout the ages certain traditions have understood retreat to be an important part of spiritual formation.  That is, time consciously set aside for themselves, a change of focus, a deliberate act of stepping outside of normal routine by withdrawing (not running away) from the noise and pressures in order to be in a quiet place where all our senses are open and ready to listen and receive.

In partnership with Learning to Listen and supported by Myogi Yoga our second retreat was a 'roaring' success combining holistic therapy with equine therapy, yoga, meditation and fireside rituals.  It lived up to all expectations providing our guests the opportunity to withdraw from the daily grind of life.

I attended the recent retreat at East Hall Farmhouse on Wednesday this week which was a most enjoyable day. The time passed so quickly and it was a relaxed, well organised occasion with treatments that made one feel so much better within myself. It has helped me to feel more relaxed and in control. The sitting around the fire experience was unique and I think we all gained so much from it. The lunch was delicious and being in the fresh air and sunshine for most of the day was so invigorating. I would like to commend the team on their friendly and helpful approach to myself and fellow participants. Well done to you all. Best wishes.
— Rosanne, Kent

Connection & Intention Setting

The day began with an intention setting session where the guests were given space to connect with their true self and begin to understand what they wanted to achieve from the day and to set their intentions accordingly.  "We put our guests totally at the heart of what we are doing and make it all about them" said Sarah Tomlin, a Haelan therapist who hosted lunch and a nutritional talk.  She continued "our retreats create a safe space for our guests to bring their hearts and voice their feelings".

Each guest received a personalised plan which included a one-to-one yoga session, an equine facilitated coaching session and a holistic treatment.   Teresa, a guest on the day said of her experience "For me it's the "little things" that are important that make experiences like this what they are.  From the added reiki healing on my dodgy knee during my massage, the unlimited supply of herbal teas / coconut water and lovingly homemade energy balls and treats...the aromatic oil smells and blankets during yoga and the added bonus of the fire pit made this day which went above and beyond my expectations and provided a very special unique retreat experience full of genuine support and love and one that I would highly recommend to anyone who wants to take a day out to invest in themselves."

Fireside Ritual

The highlight of the day however was the fireside ritual.  Led by therapist Karenanne, the guests were given the opportunity to take their space to release old patterns of behaviours and beliefs into the fire and heal at a soul level.  They each used the Reiki drum to represent their rhythm of life and presented offerings to the fire of kindling, chocolate and tobacco.  Kindling keeps the fire burning, chocolate represents harmony and the sweetness of life and tobacco enables peace and the end of hostilities.

The fireside ritual created a sense of kinship, blurring the lines between guests and facilitators and enabled us in that moment to be at one. 
— Sarah Tomlin, Haelan Therapist

Unique offerings

Our retreats are truly unique and non more so because we combine holistic therapies and yoga with Equine Facilitated Coaching sessions.  Through our partnership with Learning to Listen we are able to offer guests the opportunity to gain insights and wisdom from the horses about where they are now in their lives and where they want to be.  After their one-to-one session the guests were given the opportunity to consider what had come up for them and journal any ideas, thoughts or understanding that might help them move through a particular block in their life.

I had a profound experience and learnt so much from Jo using equine facilitated therapy. It became a catalyst for me to be able to find the words to verbalise what has been going on internally. At first I was shocked as when Jo asked me questions about my feelings and current emotional space I couldn’t find any words and was really struggling and stumbling my speech. In such a short space of time with Jo’s compassionate and supportive help and questionning and the healing of Boo a beautiful pony with the softest coat in the world....I was able to tease out the emotions that needed healing and find the words to verbalise them, which amazed me.
— Teresa, Wigan
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Our Mind, Body and Soul retreats will return in 2018 and will be themed by the changing seasons.  The investment is £250 per person and we offer payment plans to spread the cost. 

18th May (Spring)

9th July (Summer)

17th Sept (Autumn)

23rd November (Winter)

To book your place or for more information please contact us HERE

Peace begins with a smile

Today is International Day of Peace. Peace on earth. It's the one thing we all want, right? But how can we possibly achieve a such a monumental thing without first making peace with ourselves? Whom amongst us can say they are truly in touch with their inner peace? What even is inner peace?

Peace begins with a smile
— Mother Theresa

Thousands of years ago, life was much simpler. As a species, humans have evolved to think. And think. And think. Why did I say that at dinner last night?.. I shouldn't have snapped at my child just then... I've got so much work to do... I should have phoned my Mum. The train of thought is endless, often useless and very distracting.

How often are we paying attention to what we are doing right now? 

All too easily our thoughts stray to the past or the future, neither of which are real. The only thing that's real is now; this moment, right now. Often reflection on the past brings us sadness and future projections breed anxiety. Yet it's impossible to feel these things if we are really present. 

But how do we get anything done? 

Of course thinking has its place or else we'd all be fired and there would be no food in the house! But it's important to allocate time for our thoughts rather than allowing a relentless stream of unnecessary mental noise to penetrate our every moment.

So how do we do it?

Firstly we need to consciously choose to take our attention away from thought and place it firmly in the present moment. Easier said than done you may think. Well you can banish that thought for a start! 

Close your eyes and feel the sensation in your fingertips. Do they feel tingly? Do they feel warm? Ask yourself if you are still breathing and notice how your attention immediately turns to your breath. 

Being with nature is an ideal place to start when trying focus our attention on the now. Take a flower. Look at it. Notice the way the petals overlap one another at the edges; the various hues from the centre to the tips. How does it smell? What does it feel like? 

How about listening to a guided meditation? These are freely accessible on YouTube.


I've recently started to exercise this practice of being aware of the present moment a whole lot more. I can honestly say it has changed not only my mood but my very being, bringing a genuine feeling of deep joy.

Plus, I'm being very productive! I find myself picking things up off the floor and quickly delivering them to their rightful places rather than walking over them because now I actually notice the debris of the day. I find myself walking upstairs and actually remembering why I'm there rather than frowning, spinning on my heels and limbering downstairs, disgruntled, only then to remember why I ventured upstairs in the first place! Purely because my mind isn't pontificating on whether it's more economical to buy a pack of two medium avocados or one large one. Best of all, I find myself really engaging with my kids because they are here with me right now and frankly, one day in the not too distant future (which, incidentally, I am not thinking about) they, as sure as the earth is round, won't want to be! From now on I am claiming these precious moments for myself.

With practice and repetition, remaining truly conscious, maintaining calm and just 'being' becomes easier. Eventually we will be able to stay peaceful all of the time, nurturing a purer sense of happiness even in the most difficult of circumstances.

Stepping out of our everyday lives and into one of our therapy rooms creates the perfect environment to practice stillness and being your true self. To find out how our Holistic Massage delivers much more than physical indulgence book today. After all, there’s no time like the present! 😉


Sarah x


Too much Monday...not enough coffee!

Too much Monday...not enough coffee.  Sound familiar?  Coffee is the most popular drink worldwide with around two billion cups consumed every day.  In fact in the UK, we drink approximately 55 million cups of coffee per day and it is the one drink that Briton's turn to at work when the chips are down and the deadlines are looming...


What is it about coffee, then?

There are many benefits to drinking coffee and none more so than the opportunity to sit and hang out with friends or colleagues over your favourite Skinny Latte.  The coffee machine is often the go-to for a quick 5 minute break from your computer as well as the place to meet and catch up on the gossip and goings on in the office.  We also see coffee as that quick fix stimulant...the one thing that will keep us going no matter how tired we are.  Another cup of coffee will always make things feel better...right?

But will it really though?  Conversely, too much coffee can lead to insomnia, nervousness and restlessness.  You think it's the stress from work that is causing you to have sleepless nights...but in reality that extra cup of coffee you thought would 'pick you up' during the day might just be the straw that broke the camel's back.  It can also upset your stomach causing nausea and vomiting.  Increased heart and breathing rates are also side effects of consuming large amounts of coffee as well as headaches, anxiety, agitation and ringing in your ears.

Coffee vs Reflexology

Reaching for that extra coffee cup can actually accentuate stress and anxiety rather than alleviate it.  This week is World Reflexology Week and the theme is Reflexology in the Workplace.  Here at Haelan Therapy we thought we would take the opportunity to explore how taking time out from work for a reflexology session can help reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety and that general feeling of being overwhelmed, and enable you to come from a place of clarity, strength and vitality when making decisions in your professional (and personal) life.


Reflexology is a non-invasive treatment which gently massages and manipulates the reflexes on your feet.   It offers an opportunity to interrupt the stress signals in the body and reset homeostasis - the body's equilibrium.  It delivers all the benefits of a cup of coffee in terms of time out, a chance to put your feet up, rest, relax and enjoy something you love...but it is also much more than a cup of coffee.  It works at a deep healing level both emotionally and physically. It can aid you in seeing your life through a different and more relaxed lens.  After an hour's treatment in your lunch break you can head back to work and make decisions from a more authentic place and with the stressors that were there previously, removed.

Reflexology in your lunch break?  Yes please!

Whether you work from home, from an office in Hitchin or are a regular commuter, taking time out for a Reflexology session with Haelan will be just the ticket.  We are conveniently located in the town centre to just drop in during your lunch break or if you fancy a more rural setting, we have a treatment room based in St Paul's Walden too.   

Hitchin, Hertfordshire

Hitchin, Hertfordshire


During World Reflexology Week (18th - 23rd September 2017) we are offering you the opportunity to buy a course of 5 treatments and receive a 6th one FREE.  Contact us HERE to register your interest, to find out more about reflexology or to book your sessions.

We look forward to meeting you soon.


Karenanne x

Transformational Therapy: Sit up and take Note!

When Rebecca asked me to write a guest blog about my experience of her transformational treatments, sitting down at my laptop was a chance to reflect on my journey, of which writing has been key, and one which Rebecca guided me through to help me achieve my dream of becoming a novelist.


I’m a writer by trade, working for magazines, newspapers and websites. Along the way I started writing a book, a boy-meets-girl tale about following your heart and taking a chance on a dream, based on my own experience of falling in love at first sight with a stranger on a train. In 2014 I got an agent, so I gave up my job to finish writing the novel. My eldest son was starting school, and although it seemed like a gamble to be dropping a salary, it felt like a risk worth taking. After all, the book itself is about taking a chance to follow your heart.

A year later, as I was about to submit my novel to my agent, I had a bombshell – she was too busy to keep me on – another of her authors was going stellar (hello other Girl On The Train). So I was in literary limbo: submitting my novel to new agents, but getting the door slammed in my face. I wondered if I should give it all up and find another desk job.

I had been seeing Rebecca for Transformational Massages since she helped me get through some tricky London Marathon training (I might even owe my PB to her!), so from our pre-massage chats I already knew how her empathetic, understanding eyes and unbelievable wisdom could help clients who are at a crossroads. So I embarked on a combination of Transformational Coaching, Equine Facilitated Coaching and Massage facilitated by her.

My first coaching experience came in the form of a horse!  At first I felt a bit strange, standing in a field under an inky November sky, wondering if a horse could really help me unlock my true potential. But I was amazed. Bow, a beautiful Dale’s mare, stood close to my side as I talked. Horses are reactionary, sentient animals with a great ability to mirror what you’re feeling, so Bow’s body language helped guide Rebecca to ask me the right questions. If I said, “I’m fine, everything’s OK,” about a certain issue when it wasn’t, Rebecca could see from a subtle flick of a tail or the way the horse dropped its eyelids that I wasn’t, and was able to suggest otherwise and make me re-evaluate things: the way I work, the things that stop me fulfilling my potential… During our sessions I was able to unlock what was holding me back, which were my self-limiting beliefs: of course I couldn’t get another agent or a book deal, I wasn’t good enough. Or so I had thought.

Equine Facilitated Coaching with the gorgeous Bow

Equine Facilitated Coaching with the gorgeous Bow


After three sessions of equine facilitated coaching, alongside my regular monthly massage, I came out with a new sense of purpose and direction: I’d taken the decision to leave my job and focus on the book, and now I had the confidence to see it through.  

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that two months later I got a new – brilliant – agent. And a year after that I was offered a three-book deal. My debut novel, The Note, comes out 1st October 2017, and I’m so proud of everything I’ve achieved – and grateful to Rebecca for helping me jump the hurdles along the way.

Zoë x


New Term – New You

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Summer is nearly out and the new term upon us.  I remember this time of the year very clearly as a young girl, waiting excitedly to get back to school.  It was a time to get out my old pencil case and dust down my uniform…actually...hang on…scratch that…what am I thinking?!  A new term was always about a *new* shiny pencil case where the pencils were sharpened, the plastic shatter proof ruler was clear and free from scratches and the new exercise books proudly covered with sticky backed plastic!  It was a great feeling wasn’t it...knowing you'd be starting off the term with everything new...a fresh start of sorts.  A feeling not too dissimilar to shrugging off old worn out beliefs and replacing them with nice shiny new ones perhaps; ones that you can go forth and grow and shape your life with.   Our internal belief system is the comfort zone within which we operate, but it can often be limiting if we allow false beliefs to rule our thinking.

Transform your life: Replace the old with the new!


Change your old pencil case thoughts and beliefs with Haelan Therapy’s Transformational Coaching and start your new term as you mean to go on.  Transformational Coaching is a facilitated process which gives you the opportunity to unlock self-limiting beliefs and view your personal and professional worlds through a different set of filters.  ‘Self-limiting beliefs’ are beliefs about ourselves (typically modelled to us by others or experienced by us in our early years) that inhibit our potential and limit the choices we make in our personal and professional lives.  This concept is central to our work here at Haelan as we believe by exposing these beliefs it allows you to think differently, to see yourself differently and ultimately raise your awareness about who you truly are or have the potential to be in both your personal and professional lives. Transformational Coaching aims to create a profound and lasting change in an individual, giving you greater access to your own creativity, inspiration and to recognise your inner wisdom.

“ I recently completed a transformational therapy course with Rebecca over 6 months and found the experience invaluable. It gave me huge insight and helped me understand why things happen and understand myself better. My approach to life has changed from seeing her. 100% recommend.” Rob Martin, Hitchin


Contact us to organise a FREE consultation to discuss where you are now, where you want to be and how we can help you.