Free aromatherapy heaven scent for stressed mothers

Angela Wells gives Louise Asperren a massage in Hope's Garden, where the less well off are being offered a free massage. Picture: Toby Williams
Angela Wells gives Louise Asperren a massage in Hope's Garden, where the less well off are being offered a free massage. Picture: Toby Williams
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CASH-STRAPPED, stressed mums struggle to find time to relax.

Now the answer to their prayers is about to arrive in the shape of a service which will see them gifted free aromatherapy massage sessions.

Aromatherapist Angela Wells said when people pop in for a relaxing rub down – they can also “lay on” a session for those less well off or needy.

Based on similar “buy one, set one up” schemes that run in trendy coffee shops, the talented 36-year-old hopes the idea will catch on.

Her Hope’s Garden business is based in the basement of the recently refurbished City of ­Edinburgh Methodist Church at Nicolson Square.

She said: “This works whereby a massage voucher can be purchased by the public for a reduced cost of £15, which is then given to the minister of the church and distributed to ­individuals who for socio-
economic reasons, could not otherwise access aromatherapy.

“It is the massage version of a suspended coffee.”

Hope’s Garden is a complementary therapy clinic offering aromatherapy massage, clinical aromatherapy and pregnancy massage.

Angela also accepts referrals from two charitable organisations, Families Outside and Amica, whose clients will receive reduced cost treatments.She added: “What is different about the business from other complementary therapy clinics is its focus on community.

“I am delighted to be working with these two agencies, I hope to make links with other agencies across the city which work with the most vulnerable members of our community.

“My motivation for starting the business came from my own struggles with emotional ill health. I have known how it is to feel alone and vulnerable on the edge of society, but with support, I am now rebuilding my life.

“I am homeless at present, and starting the business has not been easy under those circumstances, but I want to give back to others what has been given to me, and help others find a sense of wellbeing and hope in their lives.”

Already popular, it seems there are no shortage of people willing to pay £15 to brighten a stranger’s day.

City of Edinburgh Methodist Church communications co-ordinator, Gillian McKinnon, said caring-sharing business plans point to a new decency in society.

She said they are “delighted to welcome Angela’s business”.

In Nicolson Square, people described the suspended ­massage business plan as “heartening”.

One, Nikki McEvoy, 33, a nurse, said: “This is a brilliant idea. I’d like to think, if I had a wee bit of spare cash, it’s the sort of selfless thing that I’d do. Equally it would be nice to get some free pampering!”

The Methodist Church building on Nicolson Square was one of four methodist churches in the city. However, in 2009 these were amalgamated, leading to a £2.5 million refurbishment and extension project.