Hanna Byrne is the owner of Sands of Siwa, a holistic massage and beauty therapy business and she has a five-year-old son, Kareem.
Hanna has over 12 years’ experience as a massage and skincare therapist, and has worked with athletes, footballers and celebrities from all over the world.
Originally from Egypt, where beauty is ingrained in their culture from a young age, Hanna is truly passionate about her work and helping others.
Describe a typical day for you?
I always wake up early around 6am. My morning drink is usually a delicious fruit smoothie but sometimes, when I need a little extra help to wake up, it’s a coffee.
After I shower, I always follow my ten-minute skincare routine. This really helps to wake me up and gets me in the right mindset for the day ahead.
I eat breakfast with my son, Kareem, and we say goodbye to my husband, Ewan, when he leaves for work. I get Kareem ready for school and we walk to school together.
If I’m not working, I love to go the gym. It’s so important to look after your health and fitness. If I have clients that day, I’ll head to the gym after my last appointment. I always like to make time to exercise, even if it’s only a super quick workout.
Busy work days are the best. I really enjoy spending time with my clients. Helping them to feel better mentally and physically is what I love most about my work.
After I collect my son from school, I make sure we play/do some fun activities together. My husband and I eat together later in the evening. I love to cook. It’s really important to me to make sure that my family enjoys healthy, tasty food.
My husband puts my son to bed, which is great as this gives me some much needed me-time so I can relax. Sometimes I read or listen to music. I always set aside at least ten minutes to enjoy my night-time skincare routine too.
Ewan and I spend quality time together before bed, talking about how our day has been. We always try to end the day on a positive note, and I try to be asleep by 11pm most nights.
What do you feel are your biggest achievements?
The highlight of my career so far was working with the US Marines as a massage therapist and helping them to recover from their injuries.
One of my clients was a US Marine who had been injured really badly in the war. He had to endure an 11-hour operation on his back. After 6 months he was assigned office work in Sudan (where we were living at the time) as he couldn’t walk. Understandably he was devastated and very depressed.
I worked with him intensely and within three months, he started walking. Within six months, he was going to the gym and eventually returned to his regular job. He could probably do 85% of the work he used to do prior to his injury, which was a fantastic result.
He and his wife even renewed their vows, just so that they could walk together down the aisle. It was a beautiful moment. I felt so privileged to play such a significant part in his recovery.
What’s in your handbag/ satchel?
Hand sanitiser (I use this a lot!), TEMPLE SPA hand cream, little toys and snacks for Kareem, my purse, sunglasses, keys, phone, and wipes – you always need wipes!
What are your ambitions in life?
One day, I would love to own a world-renowned massage school, teaching my own individual style of massage and using amazing natural products and remedies. I want to teach people who love massage as much as I do, who really have a deep passion for it.
To be an exceptional massage therapist, you of course need to know the disciplines and techniques inside and out. But you also need to be able to really understand your clients’ needs, coupled with a strong desire to help people. These are the kinds of therapists I would like to teach.
What do you wish you’d known at the start of your career you now know?
I wish that I’d understood the importance of having an online and digital presence right from the start.
It is only recently that I’ve discovered the power of blogging and sharing knowledge in the digital space. I’m now using my blog to help educate people about looking after their skin and their bodies.
What do you wish you’d known about motherhood before having kids?
No mother is perfect. It’s okay to feel sad – lots of people do, especially in the beginning. It’s okay to ask for help. You’re not alone.
Honestly, a copy of MUMBOSS would have been really useful back then! At least it can help many more new mums now (thank you Vicki!).
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
I would love to develop a stunning Sands of Siwa hotel and spa retreat in Siwa Oasis in Egypt.
Siwa Oasis is the inspiration for my business, which is why it’s the perfect location for my first spa. My vision is a beautiful, calming retreat with a strong focus on nature and using natural healing remedies.
What advice would you give a massage therapist?
The most important thing is to love your work. Listen to your client, and learn how to give without needing anything in return.
Always give a bespoke massage, never ‘one-size-fits-all’. Everyone is unique.
Keep learning and continually update your skills and knowledge.
Customer service is key. Make your client comfortable, and always be respectful. They trust you to look after them, so make sure you do.
Oh and always smile from the inside, not just from your face! This is so important!
Finally, happiness is…
With work, I feel happy when my client tells me that they feel so much better after a massage with me and you can visibly see the change in them. The treatment I’ve given them has released their pain and really helped to improve their quality of life.
On a personal note, happiness for me is a happy family. It’s that simple really. A smile from Kareem. My husband enjoying his work and his hard work being recognised. And of course my Mum. I want her to be happy and healthy. We’re very close and we speak every day. If she is happy, then so am I.