The Skin Collaborative

Pictured: Emma Holly front right; Vanessa Jane Davies back row, fourth from the right

Two FHT members have joined forces in business to offer their clients a full package of options to support their skin complications.

Para-medical skin camouflage consultant, Vanessa Jane Davies, and ScarWork expert Emma Holly, had hoped to begin working together in February 2020 but due to COVID-19, launched their collaboration a few months later than anticipated.

Vanessa runs five clinics in five locations across the country, including her flagship clinic at 10 Harley Street. She was inspired by Emma’s feature on ScarWork (published in International Therapist, Issue 125), and decided to attend Emma’s four day course on the therapy to discover the benefits first-hand.

Following the course, Vanessa approached Emma to ask if she would be interested in working together in her Harley Street Clinic as she was unable to signpost her clients to scar work therapist in her area.

Emma said, ‘It is easy to get used to working alone and to be cautious about letting someone into a business you have spent years building. I think it’s important to find someone who you can be completely honest with, as freedom to speak easily and frankly without fear of upsetting them is essential.

‘What was different about Vanessa over other opportunities for collaboration, was that her commitment and ambition matched mine.’

Vanessa said, ‘Despite taking very different careers paths, it is clear from our stories that Emma and I are both motivated by the same goal – to improve the lives and confidence of people living with skin differences.

‘We believe this collaboration will offer a unique and highly professional para-medical service to those affected by scarring. Professional standards are incredibly important to us, which is why being members of FHT is key in ensuring that our clients are protected from those who fall short with their professional education and training standards.’

Read the full feature as published in International Therapist Summer 2020, issue 133.

*Information correct at the time of publishing (July 2020)

International Therapist Autumn 2020

As a member of the FHT, your Autumn issue of International Therapist will be arriving soon!

In this issue, you will find:

A special feature on equality and diversity within the therapy industry and how to make sure your therapy practice is as inclusive as it can be. In this feature we look at results from our 2020 FHT Equality and Diversity survey and share case studies from FHT members.

  • Members Sarah Catlow and Dr Lance Doggart explain how exercise-based interventions can prevent injury in the elderly population 
  • A look at the digital systems can make ‘doing business’ easier, post-COVID-19  
  • Kate Mulliss, MFHT, looks at how qualified reflexologists and aromatherapists can support clients with irritable bowel syndrome 
  • A step-by-step guide to creating a canvas for your treatment room wall  
  • Rachael Watson, MFHT, looks at the psychology behind pain 
  • Gill Morris and Janet Turner from Sterex write about how advanced electrolysis can help to address unwanted blemishes 

Plus an essential oil profile on lavender, the latest FHT local group news; a day in the life of Vanessa Jane Davies, MFHT skin camouflage expert; the latest research; expert advice; medical A-Z; and a guest column by Dr Michael Dixon on how to keep your immune system healthy during the winter months.

And don’t miss the opportunity to win seven Highland Wax Company massage waxes and a reflexology balm, worth £100, and two runners up will win a starter pack worth £40 each. Fill out our online form to enter our competition for this issue.

Landing on your doorstep from Friday 16 October. You can also log in to read this issue (from Friday 23 October) and past issues online at fht.org.uk/members-area.

FHT Vice President Maria Mason shares her salon cancellation policy

In a recent Professional Beauty webinar, FHT Vice President Maria Mason, discussed how she prevents last-minute cancellations at her award-winning salon Beauty Time.  

Maria begins by outlining the approach she takes to all clients. Maria says, ‘I treat everyone the same, whether they have been a client with me for years or are a new client. I explain our two-tier cancellation policy and outline that “as a professional therapist, I am also selling my time”‘  

‘If a client cancels within 24-hours of their appointment for the first time, I will touch base with them to let them know that I have recorded their cancellation and that I will charge them if it happens again. I tend to say, “I hate doing this, but I need 24-hours’ notice, please respect that we are trying to run a business.”‘  

Mobile therapists 

‘For mobile therapists I would advise to still keep a record, perhaps in your appointment diary.  Mobile therapists are often more friendly but you are still running a business, you still require respect and need to take yourself seriously as a professional therapist.’  

View Maria’s cancellation policy at Beauty Time here.  

How to keep your immune system healthy

In his latest podcast, Dr Chatterjee speaks to researcher and lecturer Dr Jenna Macciochi about how to keep your immune system healthy.

Jenna begins by explaining that despite common belief, keeping your immune system healthy is about a lot more than just what you eat. Jenna said, ‘I actually put the food chapter at the end of my book because I was sick of seeing food pushed in the media as the most important thing for our immune system. I wanted to emphasise that it’s not that simple and wanted people to look at the other aspects of lifestyle first.’

Jenna tells a story about a time when she developed pneumonia. She first contracted a normal cold but at the time was working late and not sleeping well. Despite eating well, Jenna fell very ill. She said, ‘it is evidence that despite eating all the right things, other things can erode away at your immune system and leave you open to infection. Stress is probably the one thing that we don’t take seriously, we think of it as being phycological, and the causes can be phycological, but they’re always biological because stress chemistry is real.’

Of course food can play a huge role in supporting our immune system, antioxidant rich foods such as blueberries, as well as omega 3 in oily fish and fibre to support our gut, are just a few of the foods discussed in this podcast.

In International Therapist Autumn 2020 (Issue 134), our guest columnist Dr Michael Dixon looks at how to keep the immune system healthy over the winter months. He writes, ‘Avoiding COVID-19 is a case of mitigating reasonable risk. Diet and lifestyle – quite apart from physical isolation – must have a role and it is surprising to me how silent the scientific community has been on this.’

The Autumn issue of International Therapist lands on Friday 16 October.

Results of the BBC Radio 4’s Touch Test

In International Therapist Summer 2020 (issue 133), we shared a news item about a new study on touch called The Touch Test.

Commissioned by the Wellcome Collection and BBC Radio 4, the study which was launched in January 2020, looked to explore people’s attitudes towards the physical experience of touch.

Almost 40,000 people took the Touch Test which was run across 112 different countries. Results showed that the majority of respondents (72%) viewed touch positively and nearly half of us (43%) said society doesn’t enable us to touch enough.

Other interesting findings include that 63% of respondents disliked being touched by a stranger and 61% said a hug from their partner before bed had a positive effect on their sleep.

The three most common words used to describe touch were comforting, warm and love.

Read the full results of The Touch Test.

Action for Happiness Calendar – Optimistic October

Every month, Action for Happiness produces a calendar packed with daily actions we can take to increase our own happiness and that of others around us.

This October, the ‘Optimistic October’ calendar focuses on daily activities to help you focus on what really matters.

Below are a few things to consider when writing down three things you appreciate about yourself on day 29.

  • Be kind to yourself.
  • What things do you do that make your days brighter?
  • Consider the things about yourself that others appreciate.

The calendar is free to download as a PDF or image file (JPEG) in 16 different languages. You can also download the actions straight to your calendar using a Google Calendar or iCalendar file.

Download the October 2020 Action for Happiness calendar 

Backcare Awareness Week 2020

Backcare Awareness Week runs from the 5 – 9 October and this year is focused on the prevention of back injuries in nurses.

With 65% of FHT members supporting clients with low back pain (FHT Member Survey, 2020), we wanted to communicate the benefits of therapies on backcare.

In our Medical A-Z regular in International Therapist (IT) magazine (issue 98), we explored how complementary therapies can support back pain. In a more recent issue of IT magazine, we also shared a study on how reflexology can reduce back pain following coronary angiography.  

The NICE guidance for chronic low back pain recognises soft tissue techniques and mind-body approaches as non-invasive treatment options. Section 1.2.7 states, ‘Consider manual therapy (spinal manipulation, mobilisation or soft tissue techniques such as massage) for managing low back pain with or without sciatica, but only as part of a treatment package including exercise, with or without psychological therapy.’ Disappointingly, the NICE guidance still recommends against acupuncture.

Find out how you can get involved with promoting Backcare Awareness Week.

FHT contributes to the October issue of Natural Health magazine

We are delighted to have contributed an article to Natural Health magazine’s October issue, to promote the FHT, our members and the therapies they practice.

In the article, we outline ten reasons to embrace complementary therapies. Just a few of these include, that they treat the underlying cause of a symptom, that they are natural and that they help us take a more active role in our self-care.

When introducing readers complementary therapies at the beginning of the article, FHT Vice President, Mary Dalgleish, says, ‘Complementary therapies are very much focused on the person ‘as a whole’, with the therapist taking into account all aspects of your general health and wellbeing, so that
they can choose and adapt a treatment to suit your individual needs.’

‘As well as helping to restore balance to the body and mind, complementary therapies can often help to address problems that modern medicine struggles to treat effectively, from lower back pain and chronic fatigue, to a raft of stress-related complaints.”

We also highlight some key safety points and direct natural health readers to FHT’s directory to find a professional therapist.

Read the full article here.

Adele Appleton, MFHT, shares how she supports a male client with stress using Indian head massage

In our Summer issue of International Therapist magazine (Issue 133), we published ‘Man Kind’, a feature looking at the benefits of physical therapies on supporting male mental health.

Adele Appleton, MFHT, contributed a case study to this feature. ‘Jamie was 35 when he first came to see me for Indian head massage and reflexology in August 2013, writes Adele.

‘He had been visiting another therapist until then who had recently stopped practising, so was looking to find someone who he felt comfortable with. 

‘He has always been open and honest at his visits. In the initial consultation he stated that he suffered with anxiety and depression, he also said he experienced tension headaches and often felt tired. He did not want to take medication for his anxiety, preferring to manage it himself through therapies, a tool he found particularly helpful.   

‘Jamie has been coming to me now for over six years and during this time we have built a strong but professional relationship. I found a pattern developed; if life was going well for Jamie, I would see him monthly but if he was experiencing stress, the sessions would be weekly. Jamie gets affected by seasonable affective disorder over the darker months, so sessions also tend to be more regular in winter. 

‘At the start of each, visit, Jamie and I have a brief discussion about how he is feeling and what he is looking for from the session. This can vary from deep massage on the shoulders and neck, to a much gentler, nurturing massage with relaxing oils and some reflexology. All sessions include a 10-minute head massage as Jamie finds this particularly relaxing. Sometimes he will chat and other times he falls silent; I’m always guided by him as to whether to feed the conversation. As a trained ‘Heal Your Life’ coach, I believe many people lack self-love, so I do encourage this when I feel it’s appropriate. Jamie can arrive to some sessions in a tense and anxious state, but always walks out calm, relaxed and in a more positive frame of mind. 

‘Over the years I have talked to Jamie about other ways he can support his mental health. As a nutritional therapist I’ve recommended eating more oily fish, fruit and vegetables and reducing sugar and alcohol intake. During a particularly anxious time for Jamie I also recommended gratitude journaling, which he responded positively to and still uses as a tool.  

‘Jamie himself says that his anxiety and depression are much better controlled since finding holistic therapies. His body feels a lot more relaxed after a session and when his body is relaxed, he feels better able to control his mood.  

‘I believe that mental and physical health are connected. The mind has a huge impact on the body (consider the placebo effect, for example) and science shows the majority of serotonin is produced in the gut, so gut health is hugely important for people with mental health issues. 

‘Despite social improvements, I think men feel pressure to hide their feelings so I think it’s crucial for a therapist to develop a strong bond of trust with their client and create an environment which allows them to feel safe enough to open up.  

‘The tips I would give on spotting when a client is feeling low are: 

  • A change in behaviour, for example if they’re usually chatty but suddenly quiet, or vice versa. 
  • Increased muscle tension 
  • Mention of a stressful event during conversation 

‘I try to use open language to give them the opportunity to talk about how they are feeling if they want to.’

Adele Appleton, MFHT, specialises in nutrition, massage, reflexology and reiki. Adele runs her own therapy practice, Poynton Holistic Clinic, based in Poynton, Cheshire.

FHT members can access the full Man Kind feature at fht.org.uk/international-therapist-archive

Complementary therapy techniques to support motor neurone disease (MND)

In our Summer issue of International Therapist magazine (Issue 133), we published ‘Man Kind’, a feature looking at the benefits of physical therapies on supporting male mental health.

Catherine Wood, MFHT, contributed a case study to this feature. ‘Will is a gentleman in his 70s who was referred to the local hospice complementary therapy outpatient clinic by the motor neurone disease (MND) specialist nurse, says Catherine.

‘He was referred to me at the local hospice with a view of providing an opportunity for him to relax, to learn coping strategies, to help him come to terms with his recent diagnosis and perhaps to ease his symptoms.  

‘Will was diagnosed with MND only six months ago. At the initial assessment he presented with good upper body function but described rapidly deteriorating lower body function, resulting in increasingly reduced mobility and difficulty performing simple tasks such as dressing. Will has bilateral foot and ankle oedema, consistent with his decreasing lower limb mobility. 

‘Will spoke of the shock of his diagnosis for himself and his family, as well as the practical implications of his rapidly changing physical abilities. Perhaps even more sadly, he spoke about how his expectations and aspirations in life were suddenly taken away. Will also had to instigate the selling of his business and re-locating to be closer to family members. He described how he now spent his days sitting and that he needed constant distraction to cope. He said he thought a course of reflexology sessions would help as it would give him something to look forward to. 

‘Gradually, through our course of sessions Will spoke about his frustration at being unable to perform the practical tasks that were an important part of his personal and business life. At other times he would simply say ‘I’m fine thank you’ before climbing straight onto the therapy couch. Tears were a regular release as he became more physically and emotionally relaxed. Normalisation and reassurance were given as the slower strokes of aromatherapy foot massage and reflexology continued, interchanged with foot holding, then followed with suggestions of relaxing breathing techniques and self-guided imagery. In such situations I find it best to allow disclosure to happen naturally, enabling the patient to talk when they feel that trust and familiarity have been developed. 

‘Despite weekly deterioration we agreed that it was important for Will’s sense of independence that he continued to transfer himself from scooter to couch, so I made sure that sufficient time was given for him to safely perform these tasks. 

‘In our fifth and final session, Will admitted that he had been able to fully relax and partially visualise a relaxing image. He said that the sessions had indeed given him something to look forward to during this overwhelming time.’

Catherine Wood, MFHT, has been a complementary therapist since 1994. Catherine has worked in hospice palliative care for 26 years, initially as a volunteer and working in her own private practice before becoming the Complementary Therapies Coordinator at Dove House Hospice in Hull, East Yorkshire in 2004.

FHT members can access the full Man Kind feature at fht.org.uk/international-therapist-archive