Africa-Press – Lesotho. AFTER a long journey of suffering, ’Makena Setho-Letsie found a reason to help other people walking the same journey as hers. That turned out to be a successful health and beauty spa.
Setho-Letsie, who is an endometriosis survivor, says her journey with the disease has been long, painful and unbearable, and left her with two major surgeries. She says for two years, doctors could not properly diagnose her.
“Rather they misdiagnosed me with fibroids, hernia and ovarian cysts and the research I did about those conditions didn’t match my symptoms,” Setho-Letsie says.
She says it was difficult for her at work because the pain from her monthly periods would last up to three weeks. “While I was undergoing my last operation, I made an oath to the Lord.
If only He could spare my life, I would help his nation,” Setho-Letsie says. After her recovery, Setho-Letsie established Healing Hands Health and Spar Wellness Centre as a hub which sells health herbs imported from China.
“We have recently introduced Koei herbs (Bara),” Setho-Letsie says. The centre provides full body scan services, detoxing, stem cell therapy, which develops the cells from scratch, as well as tooth whitening.
The 36-year-old Setho-Letsie reckons she was inspired to establish the business by her suffering from endometriosis. “I lived with endometriosis and I lost count of the number of operations I went through.
According to a World Health Organisation (WHO) 2021 article, endometriosis is a disease characterised by the presence of tissue resembling endometrium, which is the lining of the uterus outside the uterus.
It causes a chronic inflammatory reaction that may result in the formation of scar tissue such as adhesions and fibrosis within the pelvis and other parts of the body.
Setho-Letsie says in 2017, she discovered that she had endometriosis after three years of struggling with symptoms. “I was dealing with something which was hard to crack,’’ she says, adding that the disease was discovered when it was already in stage four.
According to an article by Sharon Liason published in the WebMD website, stage four is described as severe and the most widespread. Despite several medical operations, she says the tissue continued growing.
“During my struggle I met a Chinese friend who is an Endocrinologist and she recommended some certain herbs.
She then imported the herbs for me. After using them in 2019, I never had another operation. March, 2019 I had my last operation,’’ Setho-Letsie says.
She says people around her would refer others who had the same problems as her. “I would take my herbs from my cupboard to help them for free,” she says.
Setho-Letsie says there were more referrals, which pushed her to start a business and her Chinese friend recommended several machines for use. She says she then bought machinery for body scans and also a detoxing machine that detoxes harmful acids in the body.
“I even underwent training to operate the machines. I then used the machines on myself and also helped others. I was motivated by the feedback,” she says.
Setho-Letsie says the diseases triggered massive weight gain and her friend recommended buying a fat cavitation and non-surgical liposuction machine mainly used to break down fat without undergoing medical procedures.
“I was using the machine to break down the lumps which developed due to multiple operations I had,” she says.
In 2020, the demand for herbs increased. She would then call her friend to send more. “During this time, I was not making any profit, I was helping people for free,” she says.
After she realised that the herbs seemed to work, Setho-Letsie conducted more research on the herbs through the support of her Endocrinologist friend.
During the lockdown in 2020, Setho-Letsie set aside a room to set up the machine from where she would help people. She says she then put her first order of the herbs in March.
“I imposed the charges so that I could pay for costs, including shipping fee and tax. The motive was to help people and not to profit from the business. ”
Among the people Setho-Letsie assisted in her trial were those struggling to conceive. “One of them did not mention that she had this challenge, three months down the line, she conceived,” Setho-Letsie says.
She says she was then advised to buy a cupping therapy machine, which deals with problems related to blood circulation. “The same machine is also a beauty machine for people who want to remove fat from specific parts of the body.
Before buying any machine I would take short-term courses,” she says. During 2020 and 2021, she realised that all her weekends were dedicated to helping people.
“I was at a point where I did not have my own spare time, even to go to church,” she says. In 2021, Setho-Letsie hired a qualified massage therapist.
“I realised that as much as I had experience, I wanted to engage a qualified professional,” she says.
After engaging a qualified person, she had to professionally establish it as a business. “I had to transform it into a business. That’s how the Healing Hands Health and Spar Wellness Centre was born.
” In 2022, she took a short term dentistry course on teeth whitening but since she is not a qualified dentist, Setho-Letsie hired a qualified dentist. As time went by, she then realised that she needed another person qualified in podiatry to carry out detoxing operations.
“I currently have a staff complement of four qualified experts,” Setho-Letsie says, who had to rent space due to an increased number of clients and staff.
She says the business has now grown. “I started with two packets of health tea all the way from China. Then people started coming in. ” Despite the financial and material growth, “I consider the large number of people I have assisted as the greatest achievement,” she says.
“We now have over 200 files of clients who come at least once a month. The chance I got to network with experts has instilled personal growth,” she says.
Despite the positive feedback and measurable achievements, Setho-Letsie also has to contend with many challenges. “These kinds of businesses are regarded as mushrooms,” she says.
She says since she is selling imported products “these kinds of businesses are regarded as profit making ventures instead of businesses that are positively helping people.
” She says she complies with import licence requirements, although some in the industry import medicines without complying with regulations.
“This in turn affects our pricing since the non-compliant ones can set very low prices because they don’t carry the expenses that professional businesses incur,” Setho-Letsie says.
“There is also a challenge from the side of qualified doctors who seem to be supporting foreign health businesses over Basotho businesses.
“We were expecting to see support and guidance from qualified local doctors for Basotho businesses so that we can do the right thing,” she says.
As for the Ministry of Health, “instead of forming regulations and policies over the untested production of herbs which have been of great concern, they discourage some which are tested and this promotes a black market”.
“We don’t want the government to give us money, we just need the government to create a conducive environment for businesses (to thrive),” she says.
She adds: “The government should create a platform for this sector to establish herbal clinics that will work together with qualified pharmacists and doctors.
“There are many Basotho who have skills in mixing the herbs that heal.
However, those people need support from the government and guidance from experts so that these can be tested and distributed in the international markets.”