Norwich pub’s bar has been replaced by...beds 

Staff at Treat Norwich

New treatment rooms at Treat Norwich, have opened in the former pub, The Dyers Arms. Owners Rebecca Geanty, David Jones are pictured with members of the team - Credit: Kate Wolstenholme

A newcomer to NR3, Treat Norwich has moved into the former Dyers Arms pub on Lawson Road, and its doors are now very much open, with the aim of promoting good physical and mental health. 

No longer will you find your favourite tipple on tap. Instead, acupuncture, physiotherapy, massage, and counselling are on the menu

Owner Rebecca Geanty is an experienced acupuncturist of 10 years. The business itself is six years old and was previously based at Capitol House on Heigham Street. Now, a move during the pandemic has seen this multidisciplinary practice really take off. 

“I decided to move during lockdown number two,” explains Rebecca. “I knew I had to move in order for the business to survive, but there weren’t any commercial premises on the market. Then my partner David and one of our practitioners saw the old Dyers Arms come up. When we went to view it two days before Christmas, we knew it would be OK for a clinic as long as we could get the planning permission through. 

One of the treatment rooms at Treat Norwich

One of the treatment rooms at Treat Norwich - Credit: Kate Wolstenholme

New treatment rooms at Treat Norwich, have opened in the former pub, The Dyers Arms.

Aromatherapy oils at Treat Norwich - Credit: Kate Wolstenholme

“We had to do it quickly before the sale. It was a major thing to change from a pub to a clinic and to get the locals onboard. But we were very lucky, and didn’t get any negative comments on the planning application. Plus, there are still several fantastic pubs in the area.” 

The Dyers Arms’ layout means there’s space for seven decent-sized treatment rooms inside. Rebecca loves the new NR3 location because the footfall is better. Plus, being on the corner of Lawson Road and Magdalen Road has increased visibility and given the business a great community feel. 

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“What I realised during the move was that lots of our patients were in NR3 already, and when I told them about the move they were saying, ‘I’m just around the corner’. Several of our practitioners live in the area as well, so I felt confident in making the decision about NR3 being the right place to put our new clinic.” 

The renovation was no mean feat. Rebecca and David knew they had a big project on their hands. Not only was there the challenge of converting the former drinking establishment into a clinic, but the building needed a lot of TLC and renovation work. 

“We did an 18-month refurbishment in nine months,” says Rebecca. “We had challenges along the way. It was difficult during Covid getting building materials, there was tradesmen illness - but despite all of that we managed to open without a delay. I couldn’t believe we did it!” 

New treatment rooms at Treat Norwich, have opened in the former pub, The Dyers Arms.

Treat Norwich offers a variety of treatments and services, including acupuncture, delivered by owner Rebecca - Credit: Kate Wolstenholme

The main change is, of course, that time has been called on the beers and bar snacks. Instead of ale, the former bar, the biggest of its seven rooms, now boasts a new multi-bed acupuncture area. “We’ve got four beds in the bar!” laughs Rebecca. 

"We’ve managed to salvage a piece of fireplace and that’s about it, though. The rest wasn’t in good enough condition. We’ve got the old oak barrel slide from the cellar, and we may renovate it and put it on the wall at some point, but for the rest of it, sadly, there was nothing we could keep. We did find the old landlord’s snooker cue underneath the floorboards!” 

The old smoking area and conservatory is now a private room where the podiatrist and acupuncture teams work. The conservatory roof, floor, walls and stairs were all changed in the refit. “I don’t know how the Victorians ever managed to get up the stairs,” laughs Rebecca. “They were so steep and narrow! But we’ve been able to correct that a little in line with building regulations.” 

While the majority of the interior has been re-worked, some of the original features on the exterior of the 19th century building have been retained to preserve its history, like the original Dyers Arms stone signage which was kept on after a request by Norwich City Council and after feedback left on a Facebook page for local businesses. The frontage of the former pub is soon to be painted. 

New treatment rooms at Treat Norwich, have opened in the former pub, The Dyers Arms.

New treatment rooms at Treat Norwich, have opened in former pub, The Dyers Arms. - Credit: Kate Wolstenholme

New treatment rooms at Treat Norwich, have opened in the former pub, The Dyers Arms. Pictured is a C

Chinese cupping is one of the therapies offered at Treat Norwich - Credit: Kate Wolstenholme

Treat is building on the success of its past, bringing to its new home the concept of a multi-bed acupuncture facility, which means seeing more than one person in the same room at the same time to reduce cost to the client. This use of space means Rebecca has been able to open the Dyers Arms to more practitioners from other disciplines, offering complementary therapies, cranio-sacral and hypnotherapy. Staffing-wise they’re up to 19 at the last count. 

“It’s been really great working in a multi-disciplinary team because if you haven’t got the skills to help one of your patients, you can signpost them to someone else. Sometimes we work together on a patient. If we’re working on a pain condition, a physio might give some exercises and do muscular work, and I can add to that with acupuncture.” 

To cope with the demand for mental health support, Treat has just taken on a new counsellor. 

There’s still a lot of love and nostalgia for the building from the locals. “A few weeks ago, I had a male patient lying on the acupuncture couch,” says Rebecca, “and he said, ‘My dad used to drink in this bar!’ He said it was lovely to be able to come in and have acupuncture thinking about his dad drinking in the same room. 

“We're just so grateful to be in and trading and to be part of a lovely community. There’s not a day goes by when I don’t open the doors and think how eternally grateful I am to have pulled it through and saved the business, because it was either that or closing and going back to being a sole trader acupuncturist.  

"I had spent the last six years building up Treat and desperately didn’t want it to go. In the first lockdown I realised how dear it was to me and how much I wanted to continue to help people, so it is amazing we managed to make it happen and that we can support local people in NR3 and beyond.” 

If you would like to make an appointment at Treat you can book online via the website or call reception on 01603 514195.