Lockdown was a difficult period for all of us, and hugely challenging for many small businesses. Anahata was no exception. Our Clinic Directors, Deborah and Phil, have been reflecting on the impact of lockdown, how they have handled the difficulties and what impact the pandemic has had on their plans for the future.
Time for a fresh start
We began 2020 with lots of exciting plans. We were due to be launching a brand new website and booking system, which we knew would be hugely beneficial to our clients, and we were preparing to start our BeWell membership to give even more people in our community access to regular low-cost treatments. All of this involved a lot of time and a massive amount of work, but, by the middle of March, we were pretty much ready to go.
And then lockdown happened.
When lockdown was announced, we had to close Anahata. We were incredibly sad to shut our doors, as we know how many people in our community rely on our services for their health and wellbeing. However, in some ways the timing was as good as it could have been in the circumstances. The website is enormous, and the booking system was incredibly complicated, so both projects had taken far longer than we’d expected. The closure gave us space and time to ensure that the website and booking system were fully operational and any teething problems were ironed out, and to put the finishing touches to our BeWell membership. We were able to make all the necessary changes while we were closed, and were then ready to reopen with a brand new system and make a completely fresh start.
Then we just had to wait. We weren’t allowed to have patients in the clinic for some time, and our therapists, who are all self-employed, weren’t allowed to work. When eventually we were allowed to open the doors again, it wasn’t entirely straightforward. Each therapist is governed by their own individual professional associations, and each one had their own different rules about what practitioners could and could not do.
The first therapists allowed back to work by their professional association were the osteopaths, but they had incredibly stringent regulations. That was actually useful for us, because it gave us a test case to reopen with. Once we had everything in place to allow the osteopaths to follow those strict rules, it was much easier to prepare for everyone else.
We had to complete a thorough risk assessment, and ensure that every room was protected. We covered surfaces in plastic, set up hand sanitiser stations all around the clinic, supplied masks and gloves for all staff, set up a protective screen in reception and invested in enhanced cleaning equipment. We also created clear instructions for all therapists about what had to be done to keep each room safe, and added extra time to each treatment to allow therapists time for cleaning.
The new system is difficult for the therapists, as the extended times mean they now cannot see as many patients as they would normally, so they’re making less money. We are only charging them for the time that they use the room for treatment, not for the cleaning time, as we thought that would be unfair and would make things harder for them, but that means we are also getting less income. Across the board, it has been really tough.
Looking to the future
Everyone was completely taken by surprise by lockdown, and we feel incredibly lucky to have made it through when so many other businesses have gone under. We’re fortunate to own our building in Edward Street, in Kemptown, where we’ve been for 15 years. In all that time, since we first opened in 2005, we’ve been able to keep our prices down to make them accessible to our wider community. Introducing the BeWell scheme has meant that we can maintain those low prices into the future, and enable those who value our services and use them regularly to get the most out of it in an affordable way.
Our mission has always been to share the best health and wellbeing knowledge from all corners of the world to enable people to strengthen their immunity and to keep themselves well. This seems more important now than ever. We take a completely holistic approach to wellbeing, as we believe that all elements of body and mind work together. In our years of learning about different practices from around the world, we have absorbed the essence and key wisdom from a variety of different cultures to give a balanced approach to wellbeing that will give our clients the greatest benefit. There has never been a better time to appreciate the value of natural medicine and how it complements traditional Western medicine.
In our 15 years, a huge number of people have come to us absolutely desperate because they have been struggling with ongoing issues and orthodox Western medicine has not understood their problem. We have been thrilled to be able to make a real difference to these people. As many of our therapies are less well known, people often discover us after they’ve been let down by more traditional treatment routes and embarked on their own research. In many ways, we’re the best kept secret in health. When they do find us, though, they are blown away by the quality and price that we offer.
As well as providing these therapies, we aim to inform and educate our community so that they are empowered to look after their own wellbeing. We see learning and understanding new things as an innate human drive, and we want to share our passion for health knowledge as widely as possible.
In addition to the current health crisis, and all the physical and mental wellbeing issues thrown up by the existing climate, there has also been a rise in a number of health conditions such as IBS, Crohn’s disease and auto-immune issues. Our modern environment and the increased toxicity that comes with it appear to be bringing a new range of health challenges, and we want to support our community to deal with these. We have expanded our range of therapies to offer infrared and ozone saunas, lymphatic drainage and nutritional therapy, which are all fantastic for detoxing your body, strengthening your immune system and helping your system to withstand the rigours of modern life.
As the therapies we offer are becoming more important and more necessary, they are also becoming more inaccessible to many as they become more expensive. It is hard to find not only these therapies affordably, but also products like liposomal vitamin C and colloidal silver. We are therefore more determined than ever to ensure that we continue to make all of these affordable to everyone who needs them, and we are pleased to be able to do that through our BeWell membership.
Our plans for the future, then, are to keep spreading the word about these treatment pathways, and to continue to help people to find healing in every possible way.
Visit our Therapies page to find out more about the range of options offered at Anahata, or call us on 01273 698687 to learn more about what treatments might be able to help you.