The Alma Vale Centre in Clifton offers a unique approach to complementary health care in Bristol, as we find out from clinical director Jill Glover
This month, Jill Glover was interviewed for an article in Bristol Life – here are some of the issues she talked about when explaining about the approach to health care provided by the Alma Vale Centre.
What does the Alma Vale Centre offer, in a nutshell?
We offer a variety of complementary health therapies to support health and wellbeing for all. But we also specialise in supporting women’s health, from early menstruation through to menopause and beyond.
Is there anything that makes what you do unique in the city?
Being a centre for expertise for women’s health conditions makes us unique in Bristol. We also have two of the most experienced acupuncturists and Chinese herbalists in Bristol, both of whom have specialised in women’s health for more than 30 years. Our four acupuncturists work together as a team, so we can offer seamless support for clients, which is particularly important for pre-birth and fertility treatments.
How did you come to have a career in health and wellbeing?
I began my training in acupuncture in 1982, following a career as a radiographer, so health and wellbeing have always been a focus for me. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine create profound positive changes in people’s health and wellbeing, and I’m very happy to have such a fulfilling career. As well as practising acupuncture, Chinese herbs, I also provide coaching.
Can you give us an example that illustrates your special interest in women’s health?
A young woman I saw 15 years ago for irregular and painful periods came back to see me recently at the end of her pregnancy to have acupuncture to help induce labour. So women are coming here for treatments at all stages of their life, from early menstruation, through to fertility treatment, and then to receive support with going through the menopause, and onwards.
What can you offer women with fertility difficulties, and also those looking for ways to achieve a more natural and easier pregnancy?
We have a range of treatments available that may improve fertility in men and women, including acupuncture, reflexology, massage and Chinese herbs. Given 48% of women are now having to go for medical induction, having pre-birth acupuncture will help avoid this so that labour can happen naturally, and smoothly. As another example, fertility massagesaim to increase circulation to the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes, to correct misalignment of the uterus, and to help prepare the womb for pregnancy. We also offer a range of other types of massage treatment, which are good for deep relaxation.
Does offering therapies that include both mental and physical health give you an advantage, and are there any crossover treatments, or any that complement each other?
All treatments offered at the Alma Vale Centre are holistic, so encompass body and mind. So, for example, anxiety and insomnia may cause digestive upsets or headaches. Because all of our therapists work closely together, we are able to cross-refer clients to colleagues to provide the most appropriate package of care for each individual. So, for example, I may refer an acupuncture client to our massage practitioners, reflexologists or hypnotherapists.
How many practitioners and therapists are employed at the centre, and on what basis?
We have around 20 practitioners working here, some of whom work full-time, others part-time. Between them they offer a full range of complementary therapies: from acupuncture to reflexology; from hypnotherapy to counselling and psychotherapy; from all types of massage treatments through to Shiatsu, as just a few examples. We also have regular classes and workshops going on at the centre, such as hypnobirthing, Qi Gong, and Hormone Yoga Therapy.
We see you also offer room hire – has this allowed you to expand the number and style of treatments that Alma Vale can offer?
With our variety of room layouts we offer space for groups, or rooms that provide more intimate settings for massage, counselling and hypnotherapy treatments. We are always interested in hearing from new practitioners looking to work with us.
We see that all the practitioners are women – how does that affect the feel of the practice, do you think?
As well as achieving high standards of care, the therapists who work here all have a warm, caring, and compassionate approach. The safe, relaxing and welcoming environment that together we provide at the Alma Vale Centre, helps to ensure clients can gain the most from the treatments they are receiving.
How do you market the practice?
Most clients come to us from personal recommendation – they love what we do for them and as a result go on to tell their friends and family.
Do you have any special offers or events coming up?
We have a menopause retreat day coming up later this year – keep an eye on our website for more information. Our therapists also regularly provide offers – these are advertised on our website, as well as via our social media feeds.
What are your plans for the future?
We look forward to welcoming new patients, and continuing to provide first-class therapies for existing clients. We are also always excited about new practitioners joining us, giving us the opportunity to offer a new range of treatments to complement the clinic’s existing approach. To find out what we offer now, and learn more about the benefits our different treatments can bring, see the therapies section of our website.
For more information or to book an appointment, please call us on: 0117 3771186.