The Upminster Sanctuary for healing and teaching

The History of The Upminster Sanctuary

Here is a pictorial guide of The Sanctuary progress over the last 50 years.

It Began As A Wilderness!

The Sanctuary has for many years been Julia Massey’s dream.

In 1971 Julia’s Aunt gave her £500 to play with on the Stock Exchange.

She invested wisely and with the proceeds purchased the land
adjacent to Maytree Cottage.

A wilderness

September 1972

Decades of rubbish

Decades of rubbish

The pond

The pond

Julia's love and dedication have transformed a wilderness full of household rubbish, broken glass, milk bottles and general debris into a peaceful haven.

Completely overgrown

Completely overgrown

September 1973

Reclaiming the pond

Reclaiming the pond

Julia working all hours (and still does!)

Julia working all hours
Pond re-established


The pond had appeared on Ordnance Survey maps for hundreds of years
…. but first we had to find it again!

The pond re-established

The pond re-established


Digging out the footings

Digging out the footings

The foundations are dug out for a flat roof garage

Land cleared for planting

Land cleared for planting

From flat roof garage...

From flat roof garage
To garage and barn

To garage with barn


Installing window on west side of the Sanctuary

Installing window on west side of the Sanctuary

The Sanctuary completed

The Sanctuary completed
Converting the roof space

Converting the roof space

Planning permission granted!  

Building transformed into
The Upminster Sanctuary for Complementary Healing and Teaching

Which became
The Teaching Room

into a Teaching Room

September 1998

Transforming a section of the garden

Transforming a section of the garden
into a car park

Into a car park

‘Our’ Len re-establishing the grass

‘Our’ Len re-establishing the grass
All done

All done!

5th October 1998

The official Opening Day! 

The grand opening (in the rain)

The grand opening
(in the rain!)

First across the threshold

First across the threshold Julia with long time friend, Ron

Cutting the cake

Cutting the cake Julia and her mum, whose 75th birthday was the same day (with husband Roy looking on)

Julia with her working partner and friend, Ruth Dixon

Julia with her working partner and friend, Ruth Dixon


Our Doves

Welcome to The
Upminster Sanctuary!

We are open

We are open!

Myrtle, our cat, likes to keep an eye on things.

And keep an eye out for the peacocks who often pop in from a neighbouring property to share the bird’s seed with the doves.



August 2006

Rose Quartz Crystal


Rose Quartz Crystal


Jeff  Steadman donated our beautiful Rose Quartz Crystal to The Sanctuary.

Our Crystal stands pride of place in the centre of The Sanctuary garden surrounded by wild flowers dedicated to Elementals and our beloved Mother Earth.

Fairy garden

Open Day June 2007

Baby Massage Course

Baby Massage Course

Open Day

Open Day

Cutting the ribbon

We were lucky with the weather!

Indian Head Massage Class

Indian Head Massage

Learning about a treatment in the Teaching Room

Learning about a treatment in the Teaching Room
Just relaxing in the garden

Just relaxing in the garden

Yoga in the sunshine

Yoga in the sunshine

Our Len in his maintenance role

Our Len in his maintenance role
Choosing treatments

Which treatment to choose?

Even the babies were socialising

Phew long day

Phew! What a long day!

Disppointed Jack
"You only left me cake?!"

Jack and cake

Celebrating our 10th Anniversary!


The team celebrating with cake!

10th anniversary cake

In Loving Memory ~ Mum

Julia’s mother Elizabeth Joyce Cosser died on 2nd January 2010.

She had worked as a District Midwife in Upminster / Cranham for 26 years. She delivered over twelve hundred babies at home over her career. Many of her patients came to The Sanctuary for treatments.

Julia's mum

Elizabeth (known as Joyce) always shared Julia’s dream to create a healing Sanctuary. Joyce encouraged her daughter with all her projects for which Julia is truly thankful.

Julia is sure that her beloved mum still walks in the garden, enjoying the wealth of wildlife, plants and trees as she always did.

His Holiness The Dali Lama

His Holiness The Dali Lama


Julia had long wanted to meet the Dali Lama.  And he was everything she had hoped for – a loving compassionate, very special soul.

In Loving Memory ~ Ruth

Our beloved Ruth Morag Dixon died on 16th February 2011. She had dedicated 12 years caring, healing and supporting her clients at The Sanctuary as well as all of us.

We had all grown to love and respect her. She was kind, gentle and dedicated and exuded warmth and joy.

Ruth is sadly missed and we thank her so sincerely for her love and inspiration.

God Bless You Ruth.

Ruth Dixon

The Sanctuary Remodelling – 2014

In 2014, the Sanctuary was given some special treatment of it’s own, creating a bright new entrance, reception area and remodelling the treatment rooms inside.

We are convinced that Ruth Dixon guided us during this transformation.

A beautiful new logo and website were also created to complete the look.

This logo was donated by Elizabeth Kucinich, Julia’s daughter.

The Upminster Sanctuary for healing and teaching

Remodel 2014
Remodel door
Remodel finished


George happy

George, our beautiful dog, arrived outside Julia’s therapy room at The Sanctuary on 8th February 2014. He was painfully thin, covered in a host of little creatures and sported a raw neck scarred by chaffing from a rope or some such material.

Both dogs

George has proven to be an amazing dog and has made close friends with Jema. Julia & Roy’s Welsh Terrier. He has also taken over Roy’s settee!

George sofa

Strangely Julia’s aunt had greyhounds when Julia was a child and for many years Julia had mentioned to her husband Roy she would like to re-home a greyhound although her true passion were lurchers.

George was officially adopted and the vet decreed that George was a lurcher.

The Sanctuary – Next Phase


Ruth Dixon had introduced Amanda to The Sanctuary five years before and was insistent that Amanda join. When Amanda arrived Julia liked her immediately. Amanda looked around, went up to the Teaching Room and about ten minutes later came down and said “I love this place, when can I start?”.

Over the years they realised they shared the same ideals as they worked tirelessly and enthusiastically together.

They planned The Sanctuary refurbishment with help from Ruth and her friends. They found an amazing building contractor whose employees were all second to none. The refurbishment was completed in October 2014.

On Monday 2nd February 2015 Julia Massey and Amanda McGregor visited their solicitors and signed Agreements to become Joint Partners in The Upminster Sanctuary.

In April 2015, Julia and Amanda visited Oceanico Clinic in Gijon, Astorias, Spain for their first business trip together. The meetings proved very successful and both Julia and Amanda were very impressed by Oceanico’s professionalism and magnificent work with their cancer patients. From this visit they have established a strong bond with Oceanico’s Alejandro S Perez and Bozhidar Drunin.

The new Apothecary Garden is complete which was designed by Jackie Apostolides, The Sanctuary’s British Herbalist and her husband, Steve.

Apothecary Garden

The Sanctuary Team is strong and professional, boasting three yoga teachers, three Bowen therapists and many, many more amazing therapists.

It also registered as a Lymphodema Clinic with The Lymphodema Support Network Association.

Since the Partnership began a Children’s Bowen Clinic has been opened. A Palliative Care Support Group has commenced on Friday afternoons.

Remodel finished

George proved to be a wanderer and caused havoc for a while. In desperation Julia and Roy fenced Maytree Cottage garden all round with 5ft fencing materials. They now call it ‘Fort George’.

So The Sanctuary is now fully separated from Maytree Cottage thanks to George and his antics.

Julia had purchased The Sanctuary land in the  early 1970s and for a while the gardens had been integrated. Now The Sanctuary takes pride of place to continue its healing work.

The Sanctuary – Present day

In February 2020 Julia and Amanda’s contract ceased.  Amanda left to take up her new role as a Bowen Instructor on March 17th 2020.  She formed Essex Bowen Clinic and set off to build her own business in Ongar.

At that time on 23rd March 2020 a complete “lockdown” was declared by the Government due to the Covid 19 pandemic.  The Sanctuary was forced to close temporarily for 14 weeks during which time Julia maintained and improved the gardens.  Her old friend Simon Mikeli and his team painted The Sanctuary “Cooking Apple Green”.  They also refurbished and upgraded The Sanctuary to meet Covid Safety Requirements.  The teaching room was painted and the floor re-sanded and polished.

The Ken Rhodes Group installed new windows in The Sanctuary and within 14 weeks The Sanctuary was reopened.  During 2020 a skeleton staff worked due to severe working restrictions only when medically referred.  They comprised of Gursharan, Michelle, Katrina, Sam and Julia.  Sadly the rest of the Team were legally enforced to work from home.  Clare continued to hold the fort working very efficiently as Office Administration for which we are grateful.


Now in 2024 we are delighted to offer a selection of exercise classes. Denny continues with four yoga classes a week catering for all levels. Jag holds Kundalini Yoga Classes and Miles is our Qigong and Taichi Instructor.

The Sanctuary now has a strong Bowen Team consisting of Angela and Karly, with Angela specialising in Cranial and Vagus Nerve treatment.

We are also very fortunate to have two fabulous acupuncturists, Gursharan and Clare.

MONDAY TO FRIDAY: 8.00am to 10.00pm
SATURDAY: 8.30am to 8.00pm
SUNDAY & BANK HOLIDAY: 9.00am to 6.00pm

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