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Teachers and therapists

We work with specialised and  highly qualified teachers and therapists from a range of backgrounds who are experienced in working with and treating people who have, or are recovering from, cancer. Together we create and deliver programmes of treatments and activities designed to support you at all levels – physical, emotional, mental and at your core.

Meet the therapists and teachers who will be working with us this year.

Els Peters

I am a warm, compassionate human being with a passion for helping and caring for people. I have worked as a sports and relaxation masseuse for many years, and decided to specialise further in massage for people with or recovering from cancer and its treatment.

When giving a massage my goal is to create total relaxation, peace in mind and body, and to improve your quality of life. I have my own practice in Loon-op-Zand in the Netherlands, where I live with my husband and sons.

Claudia Manchanda

I have been a medical herbalist for 17 years and have worked extensively in urban community settings teaching healthy eating and cooking. In 2013, I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. This changed the course of my life whereby I was initiated into a new world of cancer and uncertainty. Thereafter, I have avidly studied popular anti-cancer protocols (especially those that recognise mitochondrial damage and epigenetic influences) off-label drugs, Gerson therapy, cutting edge allopathic and traditional approaches to healing and improved quality of life after a cancer diagnosis.

I am an advocate of accessible person-centred, holistic and integrative medicine, using the safest methods first wherever possible, and diet and lifestyle as the foundation to health.

As an herbalist, I use a person/constitution-centred approach to promote mental well-being, stress alleviation, a healthy diet, detoxification (including the home), immune support and symptomatic relief from daily ailments.

Here is a link to my interview on the Yes to Life Radio show:

Barbara Gallani

I specialise in yoga for people with limited mobility and disabilities, and have been working with physiotherapists and carers to provide support to chair and bed bound clients. I have trained to teach yoga to people with cancer, which I believe is a precious tool to support cancer patients through the physical and emotional challenges of treatment and recovery.

I took up yoga in 1995 and obtained a British School of Yoga Diploma in 2005. I enriched and deepened my practice at the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram in Kerala, India, and have also explored Jivamukti, Anusara and restorative yoga amongst others.

Jill Amison

I am a registered Senior Yoga Teacher & Yoga Therapist I have been teaching since 2002, and love encouraging others to realise their full potential through yoga.

Having qualified as a yoga therapist in 2005, I have also witnessed the healing benefits of yoga and am passionate about promoting vitality and wellbeing through yoga too. I have considerable experience in using yoga to assist in the healing process and pain management of a large variety of ailments and conditions. In particular, after accompanying close family members through their cancer journey I saw how some symptoms associated with cancer and its treatments were alleviated and how much relief and support yoga can offer. To deepen my knowledge I followed the ‘Yoga for Cancer Survivors’ training with Laura Kupperman, and I now run weekly classes.

Marianne Cass

I am Dutch and before moving to England with my husband and three boys in 2001, I lived in France and Saudi Arabia.
I started practicing as a Reiki healer in 1999, and went on to expand my complementary therapy expertise by training in Swedish and Aromatherapy massage, reflexology, and different healing modalities, including the 4-year Barbara Brennan School of Healing. In addition to my therapeutic skills I have also studied Psychology at the Open University from which I graduated in 2010.  I also work part-time caring for disabled children.
I have been a regular therapist at Puyssentut since 2014. During my sessions with the guests, my aim is to support and guide their healing process and have experienced great satisfaction from their positive personal experiences during their stay at the retreat.

Paula Charnley

I met Angela, Dirk Karel and the family whilst living in Amsterdam when Puyssentut was still the seed of an idea. When I’m there, Puyssentut is like an eternal springtime, I see guests arrive, often not knowing what to expect and unfurling like a new flower as they get to try yoga, meditation, therapies, and holistic food for the first time. During the week I see a revived light in their eyes as they share their experiences with the crew and other guests.

I have fifteen years of experience in the healing arts, my skills are grounded in Shiatsu, Focusing, Counselling and Yoga. My approach to treatment is led by you, the client, which is especially fitting at Puyssentut where  guests are on their personal journey and needs can change daily. A session together is an organic route to finding balance; we might explore physical aches and pains with gentle Shiatsu and acupressure points. Where appropriate ‘Focusing’ can reveal deeper meanings behind sensations and emotions that arise. Often, we find that a long-forgotten part of the body needs to be invited home by offering acceptance and reminding it to breathe. As a Counsellor I am able to hear your story and safely hold the space for whatever arises.

I look forward to meeting you at Puyssentut and being another ray of sunshine on your healing journey.

Tel: +44 7484839238

Amanda Berlyn

Being grounded in a variety of approaches to health and well-being over the past 16yrs, enables me to provide a truly holistic experience for each client. I am currently studying for an advanced qualification to teach yoga to people with cancer and have a background in Swedish, Remedial and Hydrotherm massage, Clinical Aromatherapy (with a specific focus on cancer), Reiki, and La Stone Therapy.

I worked for 8 years in the Oncology Department at London Bridge Hospital, England, where I guided patients in the use of complementary therapies to help deal with the stress of diagnosis and subsequent treatments. Along with a colleague, I developed a post-surgical scar massage technique that is beneficial on both physiological and emotional levels.

I currently work at the Life Centre in North London giving massages and Dr Hauschka facial treatments and I will shortly be running yoga classes for people affected by cancer.

Els van Wietingen-Rooijmans

I am a reflexologist and masseuse, with my own practice in Drunen, the Netherlands.

My passion is working with terminally ill people and people with cancer. Since 2014 I have worked 2 days a week in an oncology ward in a hospital. I find it very touching to see how sick people respond to a massage given with attention and love and when seen for who they really are. In this environment people relax and in that relaxation they can heal.

Before becoming a therapist I was an officer in the Army Medical Corps and I studied Health Care Management at the Erasmus University, the Netherlands. I am married with three teenage children.

Kirsty Hall

I am a Restorative Movement and Mindfulness Teacher, from Scotland. I have been using principles from my training in Pilates, Yoga, Biomechanics and other complimentary programmes over the last 10 years, to work with people who have been affected by Cancer – supporting them to build confidence, restore function and improve movement.

Having worked with my own body in recovery from breast cancer, I understand that side effects, such as neuropathy, pelvic floor disorder, kyphosis, physical or emotional holding patterns etc… are equally important; and offer guidance through Postural Analysis, Mindful awareness and Movement Re-patterning.

Sangeeta Bhandari

Having lived in Nairobi, London, Mumbai, Singapore and Hong Kong, I bring with me a global mind-set and conceptual link between Yoga and social and economic issues. In the midst of being a carer to my ailing in-laws, both of whom suffered from Cancer, Yoga brought a new direction and purpose to my life.

I have taught survivors at the Hong Kong Cancer Link Centre, the Life Centre in London, and run private sessions for individuals or groups in my home studio and other local community centers. I was the first resident yoga instructor at Puyssentut, and am always delighted to support this venture feeling very privileged for the opportunity to share my gift of yoga. My classes bring explorative yoga posses, pranayama, chanting, meditation and yoga-nidra. The aim being to nurture the mind and body to cultivate an inner peace, to deal with equanimity for whatever life brings its way.

Lorna Wilson

I am an open and empathic holistic practitioner of 16 years and a counsellor. I offer a range of therapies from Massage and Facials to Reiki. I am able to hold space for you in whichever capacity you may need and offer bespoke treatments.

I first came to Puyssentut as a guest in 2014 when I was dealing with my own experience of cancer. I gained so much from my stay that it was an honour to be invited back to join the therapeutic team.


Nikki MacKenzie

I practice Scaravelli-inspired Yoga and Bio-Dynamic Craniosacral Therapy.  I began my career as a professional contemporary dancer, a love that continues today.  I tune into and explore the rhythms of the body and am guided by these to bring about balance and peace in the body which leads to transformation and relaxation, aiding you on your journey to wellness and wholeness.



"I really adored the treatments – truly wonderful. I felt very safe with your knowledgeable and professional therapists." -Zoe

"The food was divine, it made me feel great. I will continue with it." -Tulin

"My experiences at Puyssentut have been much needed fuel for my soul." -Shannon

"You  have a very special place with the perfect ambience for helping people heal and find themselves again." -Sangeeta, Yoga Teacher

"I believe this whole week has worked in perfect harmony. Each part adding to the whole. It has been like a wonderful kaleidoscope of different elements making up a wonderful, complete healing experience for me." -Rosie

"Puyssentut is a magical place with incredible energy. As one of the retreat chefs, I can honestly say that cooking for people who are going through a healing process is a wonderful and rewarding experience." -Rebecca

"I really enjoyed the yoga. Each day built on what we learnt the day before and I will be able to incorporate what I learned into my daily life." -Nasiv

"Go do it - submerge yourself in the wonders of Puyssentut." -Lorna

"Puyssentut is the most caring and supportive environment I've ever experienced. It provides the optimum conditions for self healing." -Lizzie

"These are not 'detox retreats' or 'cancer cures'. This is something more profound and earthy. What people with a cancer diagnosis often need most is a calming space where they can relax, be nourished and reconnect with themselves. Puyssentut provides just that." -Kirsten (Nutrition therapist)

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