We love nothing more than celebrating the best of independent businesses in Harrogate.
Through our locals’ guides, covering everything from great places to eat to the best shops and much more, we’ve been championing the independent cause for a few years now. We know there are loads of great local businesses doing brilliant things here – and it’s always worth celebrating when a new one opens.
Heal Medical and Wellness Spa, which launched earlier this year, really caught our attention. It’s doing something a bit different, and its owners are keen to make sure that it’s not just a great independent business for local people, but also puts something back into the Harrogate community.
We caught up with Oliver Highland-Edmonds, who set up the business with his partner, Matthew, to find out more. We started by asking about where the idea for Heal came from.
“I worked in a hospital for almost 10 years in a variety of roles. Prior to that, I worked in high-end cosmetics. While I was at the hospital, I realised medicine is really dull and uninteresting. People waste appointments because they don’t see value and enjoyment in attending. Why not make it more enjoyable?”
Launching Heal Medical and Wellness Spa
Oliver set up Foot 1st Podiatry alongside his existing job, slowly growing the business until he was able to make it his full-time occupation five years ago. As it continued to grow, he saw the possibility of creating a more holistic brand that reflected his values.
“Now we have beauticians, nail technicians, sports therapists, masseurs, acupuncturists and reflexologists here,” he said. “That’s all on top of what we already do. We affiliate with people who have the same passion about what they do as we have.”
That passion runs through the philosophy behind Heal. Oliver’s experience not only showed him the lack of enjoyment in many medical treatments, but also the lack of minimum standards in the beauty industry.
“I wanted to make beauty more evidence-based with more protocols to safeguard care, and make medicine more enjoyable. I want people to enjoy the experience when they come to us, whatever it’s for,” he said.
“We pay a lot of attention to what we are ingesting and what our food is doing to our bodies. Why not apply that same philosophy to the products we use on our skin and hair? Some ingredients are allowed in products because they’re safe in those quantities, but in higher doses they become carcinogenic. We’re using these products all the time without really thinking about it. We want people to understand what’s in their products so they make informed decisions.”
As a result, Heal uses leading products with natural ingredients which are ethically made and environmentally friendly. Along with the lovely surroundings of their Montpellier Gardens base, it’s easy to see why so many people have already been won over by Heal since it launched earlier this year.
For customers whose own outlook ties in with Heal, there’s a unique ‘Devotee’ scheme on offer. As well as a discount on services, members get one free treatment per month, and have access to an exclusive drinks menu when they visit – along with priority booking for appointments. They are also invited to regular events (which we’re very happy to be hosting here at Baltzersen’s!) where they can hear from medical professionals on everything from living with and treating breast cancer to once-in-a-lifetime trips around the world.
Giving back to the community
As well as giving back to loyal customers, Oliver and Matthew are keen for Heal to contribute to the community. They are among the first businesses to sign up in support of the newly-created Harrogate Hub. Run jointly by local churches from a base on Oxford Street, it offers an inviting space to anyone who is feeling isolated or vulnerable, and its team signpost people to any additional support they need. Heal is also offering free foot treatments and hair care to people who are homeless as part of its work with the Harrogate Hub.
“We don’t want to be a company that just takes away from the community – we want to contribute to it,” said Oliver. “It’s that point of difference. Anybody can set up a company but we wanted to show people that we were a couple who live and buy here and want Harrogate to thrive. If it’s a good place to live, it’s good for local businesses and for local people.”
To find out more about Heal, click here.