After being diagnosed with ME and Fibromyalgia five years ago a Gainsborough woman has now started her own business and offers therapy to other sufferers.
Viki Clarke, 44, was forced to leave her job as a support worker after her conditions of ME and Fibromyalgia worsened. Viki says both conditions are similar and can be very debilitating. ME robs a person of energy, leaving them very tired and exhausted with a cloudy mind. Fibromyalgia can also leave people feeling very tired and has a similar cloudy mind feeling commonly known as ‘Fibro Fog’.
She said: “The biggest difference between the two conditions is that Fibromyalgia is painful. There is no known reason as to why but Fibromyalgia suffers are constantly in a lot of pain. It can be all the time and all over the body. It is relentless and this can lead to suffers becoming more withdrawn from society as the pain and the lack of a normal life leads to depression.”
Viki said having to give up work was “soul destroying” and she had to spend a lot of time at home recuperating.
She said: “You become trapped, too tired to go anywhere and so I became pretty much housebound. I soon became fed up of being at home all the time but the catch 22 is that my anxiety levels grew and, as much as I wanted to escape, I was too anxious and afraid to leave the house in case I couldn’t handle it.”
Fed up with feeling ill Viki sought help from her GP, had physio and also found alternative therapies but nothing had a lasting effect.
Viki said: “I had heard of a new therapy called the Bowen technique where gentle manipulation of the connective tissues helped alleviate pain. It was first started in Australia by a Tom Bowen in the 1930s.
“I had heard that it was pretty good for helping people with my conditions. I knew I wanted to try it and so went looking for a local practitioner.
“I found a wonderful woman in Lincoln called Jackie Clark and started a course of treatment. For three weeks I went weekly for my treatments and then I dropped down to once a month.
“My pains began to ease, my Fibro fog cleared up a lot and my energy levels improved too. I was able to start painting again, something which I missed doing.
“Jackie was not only helping me regain my health and giving me my life back but she also told me about a great little craft shop in Lincoln where I could rent a shelf and sell my painted items.
“I contacted the shop With Love From Lincolnshire and they were happy to rent me space to sell my gifts.”
Intrigued to learn more about Bowen therapy Viki signed up for a training course and as well as doing that she also opened up her own shop, The Wishes, in Gainsborough.
She said: “I live in a property which has a shop attached and thought it would be great to offer local artists and crafters the same opportunity that the shop in Lincoln was giving me. Small local artists and crafters generally cannot afford to rent a whole shop for many reasons. The cost is expensive and they often cannot produce enough products to fill a shop themselves but, many crafters can fill a shop and it is a lot more affordable to rent shelf space.
“The Wishes store opened on November 5, and is home to around 20 wonderful local artists and crafters who have handmade a varied and wonderful collection of products which are perfect for those unique Christmas gifts.
“I am currently running the shop, which is open four days a week, and offering Bowen therapy from my own treatment room which is also at my home. I have a growing list of clients who are coming to me for treatment. I am pleased to say that I am getting some great feedback too and people are also reporting that the pains they were living with are easing.”
“I am happy to be able to give people the opportunity to try something that has given me my life back.”