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Integrative wellbeing therapist and self-care expert. Supporting others to find success in their self-care journey so that it is sustainable, consistent and helps them to thrive in this busy world.

How did it all begin?

It all started when I was unable to speak as a young child living with a debilitating stutter. My mum taught me to take care of myself in the form of massage, mindfulness techniques such as peeling a pomegranate (little did I know this was an introduction to mindfulness!) and always taking care of my heart space.

I always wanted to support others in their self-care journeys, and I have been doing this work since the age of three with my mum and the women’s circles she used to run. I decided to retrain as a talking therapist (counsellor) to support families initially that had children with additional needs. Over the years (approximately 22 years ago) I have added to my well-being offering and came to the realisation that ultimately most people need support with their nervous system. I decided to add to my well-being portfolio and have trained in several modalities so that I could offer a wide range of things to different and diverse groups.

What sets your business apart?

I am hugely proud of my heritage and use my mother’s teachings in all my work. My offering is unique in the sense that it looks at the whole mind body. As a trained talking therapist & integrative psychotherapist my robust training has laid the foundation to keep people safe and I follow a code of ethics set by the governing body that I’m a member of. In addition, I have also trained in multiple modalities because we are not just one thing and I realised over the years that most people are better suited to support their own well-being through variety.

What is the concept behind your business or the problem you’re solving?

My main offering is to support people in balancing their nervous system. This is through the concept of the sensory journey which encompasses various modalities and looks at the whole mind body connection. The idea behind this is that people might not necessarily want talking therapy and might seek the guidance of a holistic model that I provide.

My provision in schools is a unique one in that I start from as young as 7 to help with relaxation & self-care in the hope that they take their learnings and use them for the rest of their lives. My work is across the spectrum and what I am passionate about is supporting all ages with nervous system management in a sustainable way.

Where to next/What is your brand vision?

I want to be able to train and have more offerings under the sensory journey. I’d like to perhaps collaborate with other women’s chapters members because for me collaboration is the way for connection. Work more internationally and increase my offering in the workplace for wellbeing setting.

Atifa Ismailmiya-Balding

Founder of

Surrey Hills Wellness

What do you feel passionate about/what drives you?

My heritage and using my wonderful foundation of self-care to support other humans with their own self-care journey. I am passionate about inclusion, fairness, community collective care and equality. I feel strongly about supporting refugees and displaced children to feel safe and find their roots.

I work with all humans and am passionate about supporting them from all walks of life – my youngest client is 7 and my oldest is 92 – all welcome!

Share an example of early life that has shaped you?

I grew up in community, I have been supported by community and I am passionate about the collective power and strength when we are held and supported by community. I have been surrounded and loved deeply by a tribe of wonderfully supportive, powerful yet vulnerable women and this has absolutely shaped who I am today. I cannot imagine a world without collaboration and connection with others. My childhood stutter that has stayed with me is always a reminder of resilience in a human being if they are supported unconditionally by others.

Highlights of your business journey so far?

I was hugely proud to be a part of Holland & Barrett’s “ campaign” a few years ago. I’m also pleased to be able to speak about my voice journey with a diverse group of people such as schools and the corporate world. It’s a huge accomplishment for me to share about my voice and to help others with their journey of self-esteem and confidence. I’m also pleased that I’ve collaborated with other brands such as Neom Organics, Mauli Rituals, Made by Coopers and grass & co amongst others.

Key lessons you have learned along the way?

Never stop learning and always be open to learning from someone else. Never be afraid to ask for help and be patient. Be humble and treat others equally. Always help those that are in the same position as you because we all started from somewhere. And there is enough space in the world for everyone!

Best piece of advice you have received?

Slow down!

Advice to an aspiring entrepreneur or woman just starting her career?

Never be afraid to ask for help and keep the ego firmly inside i.e. don’t assume that you know everything because there is always room to learn. Don’t be afraid to pivot when you need to and always ask questions. Have a mentor and don’t enrol on every single course (as tempting as it may be!) because you have so many inner resources already.

What funding route have you chosen for your business and why?

I have supported myself my whole working career but am considering other options / collaborations.

Some of the challenges you have faced and how you overcame them?

I started in the well-being industry over 20 years ago and it is now a multimillion-pound industry. This industry has become highly competitive, and I have undertaken various trainings over the years. I think one of the challenges (which I don’t see as a challenge anymore) is the number of times I’ve had to pivot to keep up with the times! This can be quite exhausting and also being as sole business owner, I tend to do everything so I think it’s being time poor but I’m getting better at it.

Why is it important to support women-led business?

I go back to being in community and how important it is to have that connection. Human beings are designed to be with others and isolation can cause well-being challenges. Particularly with women we must now more than ever hold each other up and be each other’s cheerleaders.




Atifa Ismailmiya-Balding

My inspiration is...

My mum (the original self-care queen!).

My greatest fear is...

Not listening to the inner nudges of my intuition.

The most courageous thing I’ve ever done is...

Walk away from my first marriage with one suitcase and starting again. But I did it.

Guilty pleasure?

I don’t have one because everything is ok in moderation!

Mantra you live by?

I am more than I am not.

Female role model?

My aunt Mim (she was the strong and vulnerable warrior of my family).

Women-led brand you love?

Clementine wellness app, We Are Made of More, Made by Coopers, The Women’s Chapter!

Top productivity tool?

Small steps, set a reminder, massage your hands (they do so much for you!), drink water, ask for help, set boundaries, and always make time for self-care (that’s all the above!)

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