One breast cancer diagnosis is enough to change someone’s life.
So when Susan Hayward-Bishop received a second, she made a big change.
Bishop went back to school and studied plants and aromatherapy. She switched to a largely plant-based diet, and recently, she’s opened her own business.
Bishop Botanicals is a retail shop, spa, and health class studio in Collingwood. But it’s also her workshop.
Bishop is putting her new education to practice by creating custom products for clients from shampoos to face creams and perfumes.
“I make custom perfumes, the scents are created after consultation with the client,” said Bishop. She also creates essential oil inhalers to help clients who suffer from anxiety and depression, or those who want to quit smoking.
“I’m not a medical facility, I can’t cure people, but it does help,” said Bishop. “I’m not against Western medicine. I wouldn’t be alive today if I didn’t have radiation and chemotherapy. There’s a place for both to exist.”
In the spa room, Bishop and other practitioners offer treatments such as Reiki, aromatherapy, hand and foot care, massage, reflexology, and facials, all without harmful chemicals and with a holistic approach.
Bishop Botanicals also offers nutritional counselling, Henna, and health classes like Yoga and belly dancing.
In particular, Bishop is interested in the sympathetic and parasympathetic states of bodies and ways to get yourself back into a parasympathetic state.
“Our sympathetic state is known as the fight or flight response,” said Bishop, likening it to the days when an early human might encounter a sabre tooth tiger. They would be scared, run away, but eventually return to a state of rest, no longer stressed out by the presence of a tiger, since it wasn’t there anymore.
“We’re constantly in this state of stress and we just get so used to it,” said Bishop. “In the parasympathetic state is where we rest and digest. But there’s so much going on our bodies can’t go into parasympathetic state.”
“No wonder the rates of sickness and illness are so high now.”
After a second battle with breast cancer, Bishop has decided to not only reduce her own chemical footprint, but help others do the same.
“I’m passionate about it,” she said. “I’m committed to bringing people another way to be … If we can spend just one hour a week in that restful state, in some form or another, that has to be better for our overall health.”
Bishop continues to learn about reducing chemical intake and plans to grow her business to offer more services.
She opened her doors Aug. 27 and is located at 321 Hurontario Street.