Meet Manya McMahon and her husband and business partner, Albie McMahon. Together they founded Hands-on Health in 2011. Hands-on health is an eco-friendly health clinic located in the town centre of Exmouth, Devon which offers a range of therapies including sports massage, personal fitness training and yoga.
Albie and Manya set up Hands-on Health to provide professional therapies to all, with a team approach normally only available to sportsmen and women.
Included in the range of therapies and classes is massage, acupuncture, reflexology, nutritional therapy, myofascial release, tai chi, TRX, personal fitness training, and five different kinds of yoga – Hatha, Ashtanga, Yin, Iyengar and Vinyasa Flow.
One of their key aims is to ensure that the building itself contributes to people’s well-being. They’ve used eco-friendly, ethical materials to create a healthy, restful and calming atmosphere in the clinic.
A Very Special Exmouth Health Centre
We set up the business because, after poor personal experiences in the past, we wanted to offer the kind of team approach to patient care that professional sports people receive, but ordinary people usually don’t, and to build close relationships with the local community so that people feel they belong.
The therapists and instructors are all well qualified in their fields and even the receptionists are knowledgeable. They are the public face of the clinic, and they take part in classes, or have treatment when needed, to help them promote the clinic’s treatments. Julie, pictured here, is just completing her personal fitness training qualification
The clinic’s facilities are also hired out to community groups, such as the Exe Poets.
Our group meets at Hands-On Health once a month. We love the welcoming atmosphere and the tranquillity.
It’s a safe place for us to read and discuss our poetry
A Devon Business Using Local Suppliers
From day one, Albie and Manya have looked for local people to help them build their business. They are delighted that the clinic’s eco-painted walls, bamboo floors and underfloor heating, emerged from a derelict building with the help of some of the best suppliers, builders, tradespeople Devon had to offer.
The colour schemes, branding and marketing materials were designed by the amazing Michael Greenland, of Greenland Studio. The organic cotton uniform shirts are supplied and embroidered by Clothing Works. Clothing Works is part of Devon Partnership NHS Trust Vocational Rehabilitation Service, and offers vocational rehabilitation for people recovering from mental health issues.
Actively Green, is a company in Awliscombe that rescues and recycles office furniture that would otherwise end up in landfill. They supplied the lovely reception furniture and studio chairs. Even the telephone system is recycled, thanks to The Telecom Recycling Shop.
From Hertfordshire To Devon
Manya grew up in Hertfordshire, attending a school about half a mile away from Elstree Film Studios; she recalls regularly seeing explosions and fireballs from across the playing field when the filming of action movies at Elstree was underway.
Albie and his five siblings were born into a Forces family, and he was schooled in the UK, Germany and Malaya before spending his teens in Pembrokeshire and his summers on the beach. Manya and Albie met at the University of Hertfordshire, where Manya was studying linguistics and Albie was doing engineering.
Over the years, Manya has worked in administration, kitchen/interior design, marketing, PR and publishing. In her leisure time she loves to make mosaics and she is also an enthusiastic cook and baker.
Albie has been in engineering and computer software sales, he ran a vineyard, and for some years worked as a general manager, before retraining and qualifiying as a massage therapist.
Having lived in land-locked Buckinghamshire for too many years, they made the move to Exmouth when their daughter graduated from Plymouth University and decided to stay in Devon. That was in 2002, and they have never looked back. They feel that living close to the sea, and the Devon countryside, is a happy and healthy place to be.
Exmouth Community People
As well as his work with massage therapy, Albie teaches windsurfing and TRX. He plays squash and is lead guitarist in Exmouth band Blue Arse Fly, for which his daughter Laura is the vocalist.
Albie would like to pass on his knowledge and experience through teaching others, and he hopes to run courses in the Hand On Health studio in the future. Until the workload of running her marketing business and helping Albie with Hands-on Health became too high, Manya was a member of the Exmouth Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee and worked closely with the Exmouth Town Management team.
Manya and Albie are proud to have adopted Stallcombe House, a residential community for adults with learning disabilities, as their local charity, and they help with their fundraising efforts however they can.
In particular, they are supporting Richie Evans, who is being sponsored to lose weight and get fit in aid of Stallcombe, with TRX training and healthy eating advice.
When Albie demonstrated TRX training in Exmouth’s Strand with Richie, as part of the Jubilee celebrations, a number of local rugby players were somewhat surprised to find that Richie (who, until he started with us was extremely unfit and overweight) outgunned them entirely!
When they get time, they both love coast path hiking and salsa dancing. Keeping fit and healthy, through exercise and diet, is very important to them both.
Perhaps predictably, most of the patients and clients come from Exmouth and its environs, but visitors sometimes find them through the website when looking for some TLC whilst on holiday. In addition, word-of-mouth from delighted clients has led to people seeking out Hands-on Health from further afield in Devon.
As a business that has always aimed to be part of the community, Manya and Albie want to make sure that Hands-on Health becomes a place where people like to come and join in with others, or to drop in for a chat if they’re concerned about something. They want people to feel they belong. One of their patients liked the restful colour scheme so much, that she has painted her bedroom in the same way. Manya was delighted!
Promoting The Business
Over the first year of the clinic’s life, Manya tried every kind of promotion – from Twitter and Facebook to good old-fashioned newspaper advertising, and everything else in-between! Now that she has a year’s-worth of figures to look at, she knows what works and what doesn’t, and she has streamlined her efforts. She finds that the website, with Facebook and Twitter, is very useful, and keeping it up-to-date is a very good use of her time.
But most important is word-of-mouth marketing. Their aim is to give the best possible customer service, and to see clients smiling when they leave. This is the best publicity of all.
Manya and Albie do not want dependent clients – but rather want that they feel better, come back only when required and perhaps join a class to improve their fitness. And of course, tell all their friends!
I cannot recommend Hands-on Health highly enough. I had suffered with a painful shoulder for over two years and one session has cleared the stiffness and the pain. When I left the clinic, they said they couldn't work miracles but that is exactly what they did! Thank you!
Even after just six sessions I can feel the additional flexibility and power in my swing. It’s much easier to get into the back swing and follow through, giving me greater distance.
Fun At A Wedding
Hands-on Health permeates every aspect of Manya and Albie’s life. Just recently
Our daughter got married in May, and late last year she produced a DVD wedding invitation, which incorporated tiny film clips of all the immediate wedding party, all looking like they’d forgotten about the wedding and were rushing to get there in time. Our clip was of Albie and me working out on the TRX in the clinic studio, suddenly realising we were late, and running out – in full lycra – me pulling on a fancy hat, and Albie grabbing a bottle of champagne and glasses!
And if you were wondering what that video looked like – here it is :
You can find Hands-On Health at 16 Victoria Road, Exmouth, EX8 1AS. Or visit their website at www.hands-onhealth.co.uk