Peter Rixham relocated from London to Retford for family reasons in 2018. The original plan was just to stay for a year, but once he reconnected with the town, he realised that he liked the feel of it and the change of pace.

Peter set up Retford Sports Massage in May 2018. He provides sports massage, remedial massage and reiki for anyone who needs treatment.

‘I wanted to get something that fitted with my own ethos. A driving force was to be able to give access to the treatments they need to the people who most need it. I’ve been trying to remove the financial factors that can be blockers to people getting treated.’

To that end, Peter dedicates one afternoon a week to offering free treatments to patients who have finished their NHS course of treatment but could benefit from continuing. ‘Some people want to pay anyway’, he says. It’s been an unexpected challenge that patients will refuse free treatment.

As well, he volunteers at his local Bassetlaw Hospice for half a day a week. The Hospice offers end of life care, but also has residents with longer term, terminal conditions. There’s a focus on helping patients to manage day to day living, which includes encouraging the residents find ways to switch off from their physical pain.

Originally, Peter provided light touch remedial massage, but the charity administrator at the hospital asked if he could also provide reiki. This was following the recommendation from Weston Park, a specialist cancer treatment unit in Sheffield, which reported that both patients and their relatives found reiki beneficial. It works particularly for patients for whom even light massage can be too painful.

‘For some people it’s religious and spiritual’, he says, ‘but for others it’s just calming and relaxing. Some people find it very hard to switch off from the pain in the body. People can take what they want from it, for some it’s just contact and peace.’

Peter’s next step will be to launch what he calls a ‘999 service’. Essentially, this will be treatments for emergency services personnel that will either be free or for which they can pay a voluntary contribution. Peter is thinking about ways to convert any payments into donations to the Hospice.

His approach of giving back to the local community is clearly working as Retford Sports Massage was a finalist as Best New Business 2019 in the North Notts Business Awards.

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