About Cheryl Bristow

Powerful bodywork for horses and humans, and pet sheep too

Calling on not one, not two, but three effective types of bodywork; Zero Balancing, CranioSacral Therapy and Bowen, I work on humans and horses, dogs, and the occasional pet sheep around the Canterbury region.  

I’m different in my approach to treatment: I let you and your body, or your horse and his body language, tell me how to treat you. Then I use whichever bodywork therapy is going to really benefit the most.

One treatment can make a difference

Through listening and looking, I achieve improvements you’ll not only feel, but see, too. I’ve had countless responses of “my horse has changed shape in a day!’ and “wow, he’s got a bum now!’ after just one treatment.

Imagine waking up in the morning feeling fresher than you have done, since, well, you can’t remember when. Brushing your hair and putting your socks on feels different somehow, you just can’t put your finger on it.

You’re rushing your toast and lukewarm tea down later and it hits you. You’re not aching this morning! You can move with more ease instead of gingerly creeping – what’s different?

You head to the yard and get your horse ready. He’s not face-pulling and doesn’t even seem ticklish when you do his girth up.

“Lulling me into a false sense of security”, you think to yourself as you climb aboard.

But, no! He’s soft, he’s straight, he seems genuinely happy, and he does all the moves comfortably. His stride is long and his jump is free. Why?

You both had bodywork yesterday.

More than a massage

While massage is reliably thought of as relaxing and beneficial, my bodywork treatment is far more powerful than a massage.

Massage works on the muscles and tissue but my bodywork treatment goes deeper than that.

Physically and mentally.

And while it’s deep, it’s amazingly gentle and doesn’t activate that ‘fight or flight’ level we all have, where we grit our teeth against the uncomfortable pain.

Our horses are not so restrained. When they’ve had enough, they show it in quick, angry, often dangerous actions.

My gentle, hands-on bodywork treats and improves a whole heap of complaints, with no pain and little to no downtime needed. For you or your horse.

Shocked into action

My experience with bodywork began many years ago, when I had a Zero Balancing session done on my horse, to help with some niggley problems he had.

The physical and mental change in him after that one session made me rebook immediately, plus add on a session for me, too.

While I loved the treatment and raved about it to anyone who asked (or didn’t!) I wouldn’t have entertained the idea of doing it for a career, if it wasn’t for a slight near-death incident.

No, not me, but my beloved partner, bless him. He always goes to extreme lengths to help me and he could see I was stressed and frustrated in my day job working in a big international freight company, so he took dramatic action!

It involved a drive through the countryside, his heart, me doing CPR, strangers doing CPR, electric shocks, being clinically dead on the side of the road, plus a lengthy spell in hospital. When he got out, he was fitted with a pacemaker and I lost my hair from the stress of it all.

That was when I decided to follow a completely different, worthwhile path in life and so, as a ‘mature’ student, back to school I went.

It was, even more so than the first time around, a huge learning curve and, at times, an exhausting struggle, but it’s amazing: add some emotion and fervour to your studies, and BOOM! I was all over it.

My biggest joy is helping my clients

I love being able to help people and help people help their horses, so continuing education and personal development are important to me.

Fast forward several years to today, and I treat horses, their riders, and other lucky animals, too.

I have wonderful clients who make sure they’re booked in my schedule months in advance, and whose greatest fear is I’m going to move away from the area!

They often tell me they don’t like to share me, as well as other amazing success stories, like Claire, below:

“It is not an understatement to say that Cheryl is the ONE thing that keeps me functioning. My GP describes me as having “complex medical conditions”. That is a kind way of saying a variety of autoimmune diseases, nerve damage from cancer surgery, and horse injuries that sometimes make everyday life pretty challenging and are even more complex to treat.

I am a regular client. Simply because it works (it really does), it’s non-invasive (I have dealt with a lot of pain and inflammation so don’t need to be pushed, pulled, and yanked), and also means I do not need to take the horrendous variety of prescribed drugs that would normally allow me to get through the day but created a whole other level of side effects.

Both of my autoimmune diseases are in remission, I have regained feeling in nerve-damaged areas, I have increased movement and flexibility and best of all I have managed to get off the nasty steroids that were keeping me going but not allowing me to thrive. I will forever be grateful to a friend for recommending Cheryl to me. She has given me back the quality of life I thought was lost. She is a gift.

She also treats my horse, who, like me, is a very complex animal. He is a TB off the track, slow to warm to people and a rather suspicious and explosive horse who often needed to be sedated for any kind of work – including teeth, farrier etc. After the first treatment, he virtually comes running when he recognises her. The difference in him is visible in his muscle development and movement, and he is a much happier horse to have around.

I can’t recommend Cheryl highly enough.”

Claire Aldhamland

If you’d like to see more about the treatments I use, head to my Services and get to know more.

When you’re ready to experience it for yourself, you can get in touch through my Contact page and we can get you booked in – or your horse, or dog, or pet sheep.