TWO friends are urging people across the North-East to harness their inner creativity and explore alternative therapies in a bid to beat stress.

Debbie Stokoe and Louise Madison recently opened holistic therapy centre Hands-on Holistics in Darlington and believe the services they offer could benefit those living hectic lifestyles.

Law graduate Ms Stokoe turned her back on traditional career choices after struggling to combat stress.

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Inspired by her own experiences, she gave up plans to become a solicitor and developed her skills as a masseuse, going on to set up her business with friend Ms Madison.

Now training to become a life coach and stress management trainer, Ms Stokoe said: “I am passionate about wellbeing and alternative health, having suffered from severe stress caused by traditional, high pressured careers.

“I want to help people who have been through similar issues, and inspire people to realise that they don't have to carry on doing highly stressful jobs they don't like because they feel the pressure to keep doing it.

“There are alternatives and coaching can help people to realise what their true vocation is.

"A lot of people are creative but don't get the chance to be in their daily lives, and when they start looking after themselves and giving themselves the time to be creative, their stress can subside and they can see the path ahead more clearly."

A charity taster event with a Chinese New Year theme will take place at the centre – which offers a range of holistic therapies and sells handmade jewellery and crafts - on Thursday January 31. Tickets cost £10 and include a taster treatment, a glass of wine and Chinese food.