Words by Lauren Brogden
A life turned upside down proves a catalyst for change.
At the age of just 19, Tara Williams was diagnosed with a chronic illness. Her experience changed her perception and in 2019, she launched Conscious Spaces, a science-led wellbeing brand helping people transform their homes and workplaces into health-boosting sanctuaries. We talk to Tara about life in Cornwall, the long road to recovery and how to find tranquillity in a hyper digital world.
Nearing the top of Falmouth’s Old High Street, across a cobbled courtyard, sits a glass-fronted office filled with greenery. Light pours in, and a fresh sea breeze blows off the Fal Estuary below, while salvaged pendant lights hang from wooden beams and Jimi Hendrix gazes out from the wall. This serene spot is the Cornish HQ of Conscious Spaces, a wellbeing brand dedicated to creating optimal living environments. From cleaner air to purer water, infrared light therapy and protection from electromagnetic radiation, Conscious Spaces offers products and services to create health-enhancing havens.
With bright eyes, a radiant glow and bubbly energy, Conscious Spaces co-founder Tara Williams (Tara’s husband, Darren, is the second half of the founding duo) is the perfect ambassador for the benefits of clean living. And yet, not so long ago, Tara was bed-bound by chronic illness – a formative experience that changed her life forever and sparked the idea for Conscious Spaces. “For a decade, I spent about 90% of my time in bed,” explains Tara. “I was very, very ill, and in excruciating pain 24/7. The fatigue was something else – I could barely lift my head off the pillow.”
After years of turmoil, Tara was eventually diagnosed with severe endometriosis, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) and Post Viral Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). “Back then, there was very little understanding or treatment available for endometriosis,” says Tara. “I was told that a hysterectomy was probably my best option. I was only 20. I felt completely hopeless. “Then one day, it was the first time I’d left the house that week, just for half an hour. It sounds hilarious now, but it was a big deal back then.
And I was walking down the road, and I smiled at an old gentleman. And I had this realisation – a vision almost – that that smile changed his whole day, and then he smiled at other people and changed their whole days. Like a ripple effect, just from that one smile. And from that point, I was given the extra energy to keep on looking for a solution, because I didn’t feel so hopeless. Just from that smile, I thought, gosh, imagine
This shift in attitude triggered the start of Tara’s recovery. She researched and trialled alternative remedies and therapies, studying healing modalities including vibrational medicine and a three-year practitioner training in core shamanism. She qualified as a Nutritional Therapist, focusing on enhancing immune function and treating chronic illness through diet. “I looked at everything – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and slowly but surely, I started to get better,” Tara explains.
“The experience made me see that our environment is constantly shaping us. The air quality, the light, the water we drink, the food we eat, the chemicals we expose our bodies to – all of these things have a huge impact, either negative or positive, on our health.”
Taking a more holistic view led Tara to realise the critical – yet often overlooked – importance of protecting against the effects of the electromagnetic frequencies (invisible radiation waves known as EMFs) emitted by technology. Over the last century, exposure to man-made EMFs has increased with the growing demand for electricity and the recent explosion of wireless technology. It’s now common to wear internet-enabled devices, sleep beside them and allow children to play with them. But there’s a substantial body of scientific evidence to suggest this exposure has detrimental health effects.
“I knew I felt unwell around wireless tech, but didn’t know for sure if that was the cause,” says Tara. “I thought that it was just my ME making me more sensitive than the average person.”
Though born and raised in Falmouth, Tara and Darren were living in London at this point. Having grown up around the corner from each other, the pair ‘met’ again properly when Tara was 18 and Darren 21, (“She tried to set me up with her best mate…I wasn’t having any of it,” says Darren) moving to London for university shortly after. “Being in the city, we were surrounded by man-made electromagnetic frequencies. And through reading the science on the subject, I learnt that EMFs can have a similar impact on the body as other toxins, like unhealthy food or synthetic chemicals,” explains Tara. “EMF exposure can affect everything from sleep to fertility and cellular function. But I realised people weren’t pulling all these threads together. I knew we needed to find some solutions.”
Tara’s growing concern about the effects of excessive technology and polluted urban environments, as well as Darren’s yearning for the sea, meant that their home county of Cornwall was soon calling. “The sea is my passion,” says Darren. “I love sailing, and grew up training with Ben Ainslie, competing at national and international level. I wanted to get back to the water – and just the general way of life in Cornwall. It’s unique.” As the setting for so many pivotal moments in their relationship, Cornwall holds special meaning for the pair. “We had our wedding blessing on the hill in Helford and the party at the Falmouth Hotel,” recalls Darren.
For the last 11 years, an old coach house in the atmospheric Carclew Estate between Penryn and Mylor has been home. Using their expertise, Tara and Darren have transformed this historic stone building into a light, bright, uplifting sanctuary – and incorporated wellbeing-boosting products from the Conscious Spaces collection. “When we first moved in, we hired a space clearing and feng shui consultant,” explains Tara. “The space clearing was like a breath of fresh air – it just lifted the whole house and got rid of any tension or negativity. The consultant also gave us some great feng shui recommendations – things like what colours to use, what purpose each room was best suited to, and where to place the furniture for ideal flow.
“We’ve since added an incredible infrared sauna by SaunaSpace, infrared therapy lamps, EMF protection Qi devices by Waveguard, Radic8 clean air technology and water filtration – basically whatever we sell in the Conscious Spaces shop, we also use ourselves at home because it really works. Throughout the house, we’ve decorated with eco paints. They’re so natural, that even if you put your nose straight up to the walls, there’s barely any smell. We chose not to lay carpets, as they can hide dirt and mould and off-gas chemicals. Where we wanted floor mats, we put down cork boards, which are naturally antimicrobial and resistant to mildew.”
After their son was born in 2014, Tara’s drive to generate change – and help others to improve their health – intensified. In 2019, Conscious Spaces launched. “I started Conscious Spaces because I want to
create positive and health-giving environments for people to thrive,” says Tara.
“And now I have a wonderful son, I want to do absolutely everything I can to make sure he has a bright future.”
So what makes a conscious space? “It’s about bringing awareness to your indoor environment. What’s the air quality like? How pure is the water that you’re drinking? Have you dealt with damp issues or electromagnetic frequencies? How does your home make you feel – does it support your wellbeing, or does it drain your energies? At Conscious Spaces, we embrace scientific research to create interiors that inspire feelings of calm and positivity.”
With recent restrictions meaning long months stuck inside, Tara has noticed an awakening. “Through lockdown, people have discovered just how much their interiors impact their health and happiness,” she says. “Yes, technology can enable us to do amazing things, but there’s also a saturation point. From blue light to EMFs, an overload of tech can bring unwanted health effects. With the development of smart cities and the way the lockdowns have significantly upped screen time – we need to be more aware of this health impact than ever.” Conscious Spaces encourages people to take a more mindful approach. “It’s about finding a balance and introducing good habits, like keeping your phone out of the bedroom and turning your Wi-Fi router off overnight,” says Tara. “More and more people want to experience low or no-tech spaces to make their lives as peaceful as possible. With clever shielding and mitigation, plus EMF surveys, we’re helping to make that dream a reality.”
What, we wonder, is next on the horizon for this enterprising pair? “The pandemic has highlighted the need for cleaner air and better ventilation, so right now we’re focusing on the We Share Clean Air initiative, and offering our world-leading Radic8 clean air products,” explains Tara. Can our indoor environments really make us feel as good as their outdoor counterparts – a dip in the sea, or a hike through a forest?
With Conscious Spaces leading the way, we can’t wait to find out.