One2One Therapy Clinic Director and South Wales Physiotherapist, Rhian Davies, is flying high, with a successful career, a thriving wellbeing, nutrition and physiotherapy practice and travels the world with her world-class triathlete partner – but the decade didn’t start that way. Here, she shares her story.
The end of a decade got me thinking about it’s start and how life has changed dramatically both personally and professionally. I would never have predicted my life going in the direction it has 10 years ago.
This decade has been traumatic and challenging yet wonderful and empowering. I’ve learned so much about myself and about life in general. It’s made me stronger and wiser and has enabled me to find my purpose in life. The reason I am so passionate about helping people through one 2 one is because of the personal challenges I faced back in 2010.
My second pregnancy – and my personal challenges
I started 2010 pregnant with my second child. My eldest son Harri had just turned one. I was completely anxious about the birth as my only experience of childbirth was very traumatic and Harri nearly died. He had a bleed on his brain due to the forceps delivery and went into respiratory failure. Thankfully he was resuscitated and spent a few days in SCBU. This was a constant worry as only time would tell if he had sustained any long-lasting brain damage due to the lack of oxygen. As you can imagine, I was terrified about giving birth again.
The stress and anxiety only escalated in April 2010 when the larger family home I was buying with my husband at the time fell through at the last minute. We found ourselves homeless with a one-year old child and baby on the way. Thankfully our parents came to the rescue and offered us a place to stay whilst we looked for another house. In the June, my second child Rhys was born healthy and well, it was a good birth. We were still living with my parents at that time (my waters actually broke on their bed whilst watching Corrie) so it was a stressful time for everyone involved.
In the July, we finally got the keys to our new home. Moving house with a toddler and new born child wasn’t the easiest but thankfully I have a fantastic family who helped us get through it. Moving in and settling into our new family home with our new son was a great feeling. Finally the stress and anxiety started to ease, but it wasn’t for long.
In the August, my then husband announced that he didn’t want to be in the relationship anymore. This was a total shock. He left the family home in the September and I became a single mum of 2 babies. Not what I had foreseen when we said our vows and planned to have children together. My personal life was in turmoil and I was distraught. I was terrified about being in a new house on my own with 2 young children where I didn’t know any of my neighbours. I struggled to cope.
The most difficult part of the separation was having to say goodbye to my children on the weekend when their dad came to collect them. He would have them for the day and overnight every Saturday. This broke my heart. They were too young to be apart from me. Every time they left I would collapse on the floor and wail for at least an hour.
Professional challenges for the clinic
At the time this happened, my business, One 2 One Therapy, was in its 7th year based at Esporta Bridgend Health Club with only 5 members of staff including myself. I was on maternity leave trying to cope with life as a single mum and had the awful news that Esporta wanted to turn my room into a spin studio so gave me 3 months notice to vacate the premises. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. How on earth was I supposed to do that? Three months to relocate your business is no time at all but to do it whilst looking after 2 young children on your own seemed like an impossible task.
This catapulted me into a complete meltdown and I reached rock bottom. I was stressed, anxious and depressed, simple everyday tasks were a struggle. At this point I wasn’t living anymore, just surviving. I had no idea how I was going to stop the business that I grew from scratch from going under. How would I survive financially? I’d lose my business, my job and my home. What kind of life would my children have? I was broken.
It was only with the help and support of my family and friends that I got through this time and for that I am truly thankful. With this incredible support network, I managed to pull it off. One 2 One Therapy relocated to Court Road in February 2011.
With the business relocated, I then had to turn my attention onto divorce proceedings. Solicitor appointments and letters were dreadfully upsetting and Court hearings were really traumatic. Over the next few years I endured several court hearings and in the end I represented myself in court rather than wasting more money on solicitors fees.
Personal Healing Challenges
Once life settled down and the boys were out of nappies, I started to focus on myself. There was an abundance of emotions bubbling inside and it was important to find time to let them out and let go of the past. I started the healing process with counselling and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). I then went on to complete a Mindfulness course and take up yoga. I read books and listened to podcasts, anything that was going to help me heal and find happiness.
It’s amazing what you learn about yourself and the emotional baggage you carry around when you spend time exploring it. Letting go of this baggage and simply being happy and content with your life just as it is was the most important lesson.
I learned so much during that time about the relationship between our physical, mental and emotional health. Having this insight made me a better therapist. I understood how important it was to treat the whole person not just their physical symptoms which is why I made it my mission to introduce a range of therapies and services into my business. I desperately wanted to help others who were struggling just like I was.
During our time at Court Road the business grew from 5 members of staff to 8 and we started to hire out rooms for counselling and mindfulness meditation. The clinic was featured on SKY News and a BBC One Documentary, we worked with local film studios and subsequently invited to the Welsh Baftas and our clients included Elite athletes, Olympians and Paralympians. I had the privilege of working with British and Welsh Triathlon at their training camps in Portugal and it was here I met my partner Adam Bowden in 2015.
My Sports Therapy Career blossomed – and so did love!
Adam was based in Loughborough at the time and he was on a summer training camp in Rio Maior with British Triathlon. Helen Jenkins, Double ITU world Triathlon Champion recommended me to British Triathlon to be their sports physiotherapist for the camp so it’s her I have to thank for introducing us and changing both our lives for the better.
Adam relocated to Wales in October 2016 and has been an instrumental part of my life ever since both personally and professionally. Not only is he a wonderful partner, he is an incredible step dad and role model for my children. We’ve been fortunate enough to travel all over the world with Adams career…Mexico, South Africa, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Slovakia, Bahrain, Dublin, Leeds, Liverpool and London. Not the life I imagined my children would have back in 2010.
one2one Therapy relocated again – and expanded!
In 2017, the six-year rental lease for the business premises came to an end on Court Road. It was important to me to find bigger premises where several therapies could work alongside each other under one roof. I wanted several private treatment rooms for individual therapy, a gym for exercises and a studio for classes. I was lucky enough to find premises that were being completely renovated so I could design the clinic exactly as I wanted it.
In May 2017, One 2 One relocated to Red Dragon Court on Bridgend Industrial Estate and I finally had the clinic I’d always dreamed of. Encompassing all I had learned from the past few years, my mission was to provide a place where everyone could find a source of healing and repair, whether that’s for the body, mind or soul.
Chronic illness diagnosis and recovery
It was in the same year that my health deteriorated. I was diagnosed with Graves Disease, an autoimmune disease which affects your thyroid, and became very unwell. I had a rapid heartbeat, palpitations, weight loss, fatigue, sleep disturbances, sore bulging eyes and couldn’t do any forms of exercise. Going up the stairs left me out of breath. The worst symptom of all was the low mood, it was like all the joy and happiness had been sucked out of me. Even when I laughed at something funny, I felt nothing.
My GP and consultant informed me that this was a chronic illness and could only be managed with medication and surgery. After 18 months of medication, I decided to take matters into my own hands and manage my symptoms with diet and lifestyle changes instead. I knew how stress and holding onto negative emotions was detrimental to health and I’m convinced the previous traumatic years were the catalyst to my chronic illness. I also became acutely aware of the effects certain foods was having on my body and on my health. It felt good to take control of my health, start to feel well again and get back exercising.
By taking the steps I recommend to clients, I have regained my own health. In 2019, I completed my first 10k since being diagnosed in the Porthcawl 10k – and one2one Therapy won the Corporate Team Challenge in the same event, with a fantastic team of staff, customers, friends and family aged from 20 to 69.
one2one – A Labour of Love
My own personal experiences over the decade has had a massive impact on the growth and direction of One 2 One, it really has been a labour of love. All I ever wanted to create was a positive place where people could find help for whatever they were struggling with and be treated with respect, love, care and compassion.
By the end of the decade, One 2 One offered a range of services including General and sports physiotherapy, Acupuncture Treatment, Sports Massage, Strength & Conditioning, Diet & Nutrition advice, Yoga, Pilates, Counselling, CBT, Psychotherapy, CHAMPS Academy Confidence Coaching for kids, Mindfulness Meditations, Reiki and Thai massage.
I feel very proud of what One 2 One has achieved in the past decade and cannot thank my family, friends, staff and clients enough for their incredible support during this time. I am very blessed. 2030 – bring it on!