I have participated in the Touchstone Positive Care Programme for the past 5 months.
This amazing course combines 1 to 1 complementary therapy (e.g. reflexology, acupuncture, shiatsu, Indian head massage, healing) group activity (e.g. tai chi, meditation, Alexander technique, breathing) and group workshops (e.g. “lifting your spirits”, “positive steps”, “being friends with your body”, “mind, body and spirit”).
I had been going regularly to the Thursday night session at the Healing Centre on Street Lane in Roundhay and had met a wonderful lady Sally Chaffer there.  It was Sally who told me of the programme and I looked into its benefits for a close friend, and was unbelievably fortunate to get a place for myself too after a conversation with Hannah.
I had been off work for 3 months with anxiety and depression following several longstanding emotional problems.  I subsequently started back to work on a phased return basis, and my GP and Occupational Health advisor recommended I attend this programme to aid my recovery.  My employer has supported me attending by giving me Thursday afternoons off, and I’ve not had a day off work sick since.
I have gained tools and techniques I can use to help myself (e.g. relaxation, stopping mind chatter, breathing, pain management) and I’ve shared these with my family and friends, particularly my mum who uses the acupressure techniques to help with pain management for arthritis.  I’ve made positive changes to my lifestyle to improve my health as a result of attending the programme by changing the food I buy and eat and continuing with regular exercise and setting time aside for relaxation.  I often refer back to the handouts and my notes.
I understand how I can help myself to manage stress and being able to experience different therapies means I know what works well for me – particularly the acupuncture, tai chi and reflexology.  Setting aside this time half a day a week to focus on yourself is a really positive and empowering experience.
The programme has boosted my confidence and self esteem and I have much more energy.  My friends and work colleagues, and fellow PCP participants have noticed that I’m happier and look healthier and glowing.  I’ve realised I am now comfortably initiating contact with friends, work colleagues and even when meeting new people, and participate in the workshop discussions more.
The organisers and therapists on the programme are all warm, friendly, kind and positive.  I love the social area, library facility and drinks/home made cakes.  There is an amazing atmosphere there.
This programme’s made an incredible difference to my life; it’s given me hope in my future, and has improved my everyday life.
It would be fantastic to be able to continue running this programme and improving the health wellbeing of so many people in the local area.
A big THANK YOU to everyone for lifting my spirits, helping my find hope and making me smile again.
July 2012