WHEN former DJ Tessa Greer decided to give up life behind the decks it wasn’t because she’d fallen out of love with the music.
For years the 43-year-old was working unsociable hours in high stress environments while bringing up children.
But just over a decade ago Tessa was diagnosed with a Pituitary Tumour causing her health to deteriorate and her energy levels to plummet.
She explained: “When I was diagnosed with the tumour I just didn’t have the energy to work the hours that DJ’ing required.
“Not many people knew I had the condition and I tried to work through it, but eventually things had to give.
“The Pituitary Gland is the often referred to as the Master Gland as it controls several of the other hormone glands, such as the adrenals and the thyroid and pituitary conditions are thought to be very rare.
“Those who are diagnosed with Pituitary Tumours can suffer a great deal from the symptoms, which also during the most severe times have negatively impacted on my mental and emotional health. I do however consider myself extremely lucky to have found a way to manage these symptoms.”
In order to manage her condition Tessa turned to complementary therapies as well as conventional medicine.
Tessa realised she needed to dedicate more time to herself and as a result gained a new lease of life.
“I managed my condition with conventional medicine and complementary therapies for many years and I still continue to do this. I realised that the two together were so important in maintaining the balance.”
Now a sound therapist with her own complementary health business although Tessa is still busy she says the change in career has had a profound effect on her health.
“I have consistently worked with sound and music in different contexts for over 20 years, as a DJ, music producer, studio owner and teacher” she said.
“I began my journey in sound therapy about 13 years ago, I always knew this was an industry I would end up working in.
“One of the complementary therapies I was drawn to during my exploration of these was Sound Therapy. This really appealed to me as I worked in the area of sound and music.
“The effects of this therapy really helped to not just bring my body and energy back into balance, but it continues to maintain this. I went on to train as a Sound Therapist myself, so that I could share this therapy and experience with others.
“With my love of sound and music combined with my interest in complementary therapies it was inevitable that I would come using sound in a therapeutic way.
“Complementary therapy has changed my life. It has kept me sane, through many trying times and I feel it has enabled me to create more space in my life to achieve the many things I always dreamed of, but with a completely different approach to my previous ways of working.
“When I was a DJ, producer and studio owner, I was very stressed and very busy, I wouldn’t say it was unfulfilling, music is has my passion but I had to move on.
“Getting involved with sound therapy and complementary therapies has changed my mental, physical and emotional health.
“It has made me more aware of the focus I must place on myself through relaxation, meditating, maintaining strength and fitness in order to be able to carry on with my work in this area.
“Of course through this approach and this new way of being, it has had a major positive impact on my emotional and mental wellbeing.
“I have utilised my DJ Skills in helping others over the years, teaching them these skills, inspiring them to DJ and make music themselves as well as continuing my own DJ’ing work in a more creative way, playing at many interesting types of events.”
Tessa now brings her sound therapy sessions to a wide range of individuals, community groups and group sessions.
“My first experience of a therapeutic treatment with sound was 13 years ago” said Tessa, adding: “It was extremely interesting and different to any other complementary therapies I had experienced, but it resonated with me so much.
“During this session I experienced the sound and vibration of the Crystal Singing Bowls and I find now that these are the instruments that when I play them for others are the ones that can have the most profound effect along with the integration of my voice.
“I work with a range of groups and individuals, introducing them to the concept of sound therapy initially through the delivery of Sound Relaxation Sessions also referred to as Sound Baths.
“When people allow themselves to relax during these sessions, they can experience so many other benefits as a result.
“Many can experience reduced stress, anxiety, improved move, clarity of mind as well as feeling refreshed and relaxed.”
But as Tessa began her journey in sound therapy not everyone was convinced.
She said: “A lot of people are skeptical, but a lot of those people of whom I have personally encountered have still tried the experience and have found a benefit from the sessions.
“It doesn’t surprise me that people are skeptical, as the set-up of my spaces, which I often to bring along to different groups, festivals and events, can perhaps look a bit crazy to those who have never heard of it before.”
And now she uses her skills to help others.
She said: “Through the Sound Therapy I have worked with clients who have a range of what are considered to be poor mental health conditions.
“The therapy provides relief for many, initially through the relaxation it provides, especially for those who find it difficult to relax.
“As I approach everything from the perspective of being vibration and energy, the therapy can help to bring the body’s own vibrations back into balance, therefore encouraging the balance and flow of energy through the body further encouraging improved wellbeing.
“I also work with many types of groups, across a range of ages ranging from young children, teenagers, through to senior citizens. Many have experienced relief not just one a mental and emotional level, but also a physical level.
“As I continue in this area of work, I also continue to receive the benefits of working with sound, when I am working with others and I now teach people how to utilise sound for their own wellbeing, through the deliver of Sound Therapy Training Courses.”
Despite the skeptics Tessa’s sessions are so popular that she’s even found the motivation to set up her own wellbeing festival.
On November 8 she will bring the TONIC Health & Wellbeing Festival to Belfast’s T13 in the Titanic Quarter.
With a range of complementary health, food and drink and craft exhibitors as well as live music, workshops and talks, Tessa is hoping to bring something different to the festival season.
She said: “Through the work I now do, it is very much focused on encouraging others to pay attention to and improve their own health and wellness.
“The work I deliver and the way in which I deliver it is very much about raising awareness around what people can do to help themselves, over and above the time the take out of their lives to come along to my sessions.
“It’s very encouraging to see people interact with what I do and understand that they have even more of a part to play than I do, in improving their own experience of life through improved wellbeing.
“Bringing the TONIC Health & Wellness Festival together allows me to pull together my personal and working experience of this industry so far, the people who contribute to this industry and my previous experience of working on and organising festivals and events. Through this offering I hope to bring a wide range of knowledge, experiences and awareness to the public around what Wellness options are available to them as individuals, their families and friends that can encourage them to consider improving their own experience of life in some way.
“During the festival we will have promotion of natural/complementary and conventional therapies, complementary therapy taster sessions, talks and workshops, yoga, dance, Tai Chi, personal training demos, healthy kids and families area, crafts, creativity and wellbeing, performances and more.”
The TONIC Health & Wellness Festival will take place on November 8 at T13 in Belfast. For more information log onto http://www.tonicwellness.co.uk. Tickets go on sale September 28 through www.ticketmaster.ie.