The FHT members supporting clients from home during the COVID-19 lockdown

Grace Harrop

Grace, MFHT, is a sports and holistic massage therapist who also volunteers once a week at a hospice.

Grace said, ‘I wanted to provide something for my clients to do at home which would recreate the feeling they get after a massage, while taking in to consideration what I am qualified in and what I feel comfortable sharing online. I have been very careful to not advise anything that could cause pain or discomfort to my clients while I am not there in person to watch how they are moving their bodies. 

 

‘I have been sharing short videos and hosting small group classes to guide my clients through gentle exercises and stretches, targeting different areas of the body. I have also been taking requests and am often asked direct advice for rehabilitation on injury. In one case, a client who broke a metatarsal bone before lockdown and has been unable to attend physiotherapy appointments. I was able to guide them through so easy stretches to relieve the pain, help reduce the scar tissue and stretch the tendons.’

 

‘I have also been having one to one consultations via video call, to talk through any physical issues with clients. Together we have worked on some self massage and stretching plans for them to do at home.’

 

Wendy Gardner

NOR_3707Wendy, MFHT, offers aromatherapy, massage and facials at  Glow Skincare. Many of Wendy’s clients are going through perimenopause.

Wendy said, ‘I’m offering my clients video tutorials so they can practice self care at home, for instance how they can use different products to carry out a gentle and calming facial massage. Not only are they helping their skin, the physical touch is extremely comforting and even more so now that we are practicing social distancing.

‘There is something intensely reassuring when we can give ourselves some TLC. Of course it’s not as wonderful as being pampered and cared for by a massage therapist, but it is something positive in these unsettling times.’

Lisa Hopper

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Lisa, MFHT, is a Bowen therapist from East Sussex. At Lisa’s clinic, she offers Bowen therapy, bach flower remedy consultations, reiki treatments and Indian head massage.
Lisa said, ‘Now finding myself at home unable to see clients anymore, I suddenly realised that I could still offer two things to my clients. One is phoning my regulars to stay in touch and make sure they are OK for supplies from their family and friends as well just have a chat, when loneliness is going to become a major problem for many.

 

‘The other was to offer bach flower consultations over the phone instead of face-to-face. I contacted my most recent clients that I had to cancel for Bowen therapy who were in booked for various things from anxiety to back pain, low mood, low energy and stress. I suggested I could support them with BFR’s and they were delighted! Consultations last approximately 40 mins and then I take another hour to sort out the right flower remedies, bottle and package them before popping them in the post. The remedies will last them 4-6 weeks.’

 

20200408_205435Jacqueline Bailey

 

At Jacqueline’s salon and training centre in Leicestershire, Coppice Therapies, she practices and teaches a range of therapies including dowsing, holistic, massage, beauty and spa.

 

‘On a Monday’s I share a general 30 minute video with my clients and students. This Monday we were looking at body brushing, Wednesday’s I have been running a 30 minute online meditation (as I usually run a weekly meditation class), and Friday’s is a 30 minute reiki share and healing circle.

 

‘Everything I have been doing is for free and I am continuing to support as many as I can. A lot of clients and students are texting and emailing , and I have had to learn Skype and Zoom very quickly!’

 

Have you been supporting clients remotely during the coronavirus outbreak? We would love to hear more, email Leanne at lsheill@fht.org.uk.

Celebrate kindness this Mental Health Awareness Week

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Despite the suffering and hardship COVID-19 has brought to so many, we have witnessed an extraordinary level of human kindness as individuals, communities and countries have joined forces to support one another at this time. We have seen retired medical professionals return to the frontline, people volunteering their time and money to support vulnerable members of their community, whole streets paying respect to the NHS and keyworkers and, of course, the lovely Captain Tom Moore raising more than £30 million for NHS Charities Together.

Since its first Mental Health Awareness campaign in 2001, the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) has helped to raise awareness of topics such as body image, stress and relationships. This May, their focus is on kindness and Mark Rowland, chief executive of MHF, explains the reasons why on the charity’s website. ‘We have chosen kindness because of its singular ability to unlock our shared humanity. Kindness strengthens relationships, develops community and deepens solidarity. It is a cornerstone of our individual and collective mental health. Wisdom from every culture across history recognises that kindness is something that all human beings need to experience and practise to be fully alive.’

And as positive psychology expert from Action for Happiness, Vanessa King, recently highlighted in an article for FHT’s membership magazine, International Therapist, it’s good for our health and wellbeing too. ‘When we give to others, without expecting anything in return, not only is it nice for the person on the receiving end, it releases endorphins and activates the reward centres in our brain, as if we are getting a gift or reward of some kind.’

Find out more about Mental Health Awareness Week

Read Vanessa King’s article on health and happiness in International Therapist magazine

Win an FHT candle of your choice and room spray, worth £20

candles and room spray

Enjoy the relaxing aromas of our 20cl natural plant wax candle, handmade in the UK for FHT.

Candles are made with a soya and rapeseed vegetable oil blend from raw and sustainable sources, naturally coloured and subtly scented with essential oils.

  • Our Relax blend includes: geranium, lavender, sweet orange and ylang ylang.
  • Our Meditate blend includes: bergamot, clary sage, ho wood oil and ylang ylang.
  • Our Inspire blend includes: lavender, mandarin, neroli and rosemary.

No paraffin, animal or beeswax-based products are used and FHT’s candles are packaged in recycled glass and cardboard gift box.

Room spray

Our vegan therapy room spray has a natural vegetable base and is also handmade in the UK for FHT’s shop.

Our Relax blend comes in 100ml glass bottles and includes geranium, sweet orange, lavender, lavandin and ylang ylang essential oils.

The spray is Alcohol and VOC free, non-flammable and packaged in a cardboard gift box.

To view these products online and see our full range of FHT products, made with our members in mind, visit shop.fht.org.uk

To enter, please answer the following question:

What two main ingredients are our candles made with? 

  1. Coconut oil and paraffin 
  2. Beeswax and soya 
  3. Soya and rapeseed vegetable oil 

Visit fht.org.uk/competitions to enter, the closing date is Saturday 29 May 2020.

For full terms and conditions, visit fht.org.uk/competitions

FHT’s new Green Therapy Business of the Year award is now open for entry

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Have you ditched single-use products in your salon/clinic?

Maybe you’ve developed a ‘green‘ product for professional therapists and their clients to enjoy, such as a plant-based candle with essential oils, or organic skincare range or massage medium?

Perhaps you have embraced the principles of sustainability and zero-waste, applying green solutions to every single aspect of your business…

From reducing, reusing and recycling to switching to green energy providers, sourcing eco-friendly therapy supplies to introducing air-purifying houseplants, we’d love to hear from you.

In these challenging times, it’s never been more important to showcase your work and show the many ways professional therapists can make a real difference.

The winner of each category will receive a certificate, trophy, logo for marketing materials and PR support to help spread the word in their local area, and nationally.

This is your year – enter now. 

Tips for getting a good night’s sleep

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Since lockdown many people have reported struggling with their sleep. This isn’t surprising when we have a natural sleep rhythm tuned to our normal routines. We all know dealing with change can cause stress and anxiety, and in the current climate this may well be another roadblock to a good night’s sleep.

Without sleep our bodies don’t function as efficiently, a lack of sleep can make us more prone to injury when we exercise, lowers productivity and can lead to overeating.

If counting sheep isn’t doing the job, we’ve put together a helpful list of tips to sleeping well.

Stick to a routine

Waking up and going to bed at the same time each day helps improve sleep. Perhaps set an alarm at the same time each morning or try being strict with yourself about when to get your head down.

Spend time outside in the morning

Exposure to natural light can do our sleeping patterns a world of good, why not make a point of enjoying your morning tea outside in the sun?

Only drink caffeine in the morning

Switching that afternoon coffee to a tea might not give you the afternoon pick-me-up you need right now, but after a few nights of good sleep you might find yourself not needing to reach for that afternoon caffeine or sugar fix.

Meditate

Take half an hour out of your day to zone out from the world around you. In our recent blog post we share some free meditation practices to try at home.

Exercise

Doing just 30 minutes of exercise a day can help get rid of some excess energy and prevent your brain from whirring before bed.

Eat before it gets dark

Eating early has a positive impact on our circadian rhythm (body clock). Eating before 6pm and avoiding those evening snacks can help your body to understand that you’re preparing to sleep.

Avoid alcohol

Some people see alcohol as an relaxant but in truth, the sugar in alcohol has a negative effect on sleep. Swap that evening glass of wine for a water and you might just notice a big difference.

Have a bath

Winding down with a warm bubble bath relaxes the muscles and can provide a space to zone out from the world around you (device-free!).

Write in a journal before bed

Whether you want to focus on the good and write down five things you’re grateful for, or use it as a space to vent, writing in a journal can help your brain to switch off before going to sleep.

Limit the amount of blue light before bed

Blue light can trick the body’s circadian rhythm into thinking its too early for bed, try switching off your devices and reading a book instead.

Did you know that natural therapies can also be used to improve sleep? Read an article FHT contributed Sleep Well magazine about the sleep benefits of natural therapies.

The UK’s lockdown spending shifts to health and beauty products and equipment

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Demand for health and beauty products has soared since lockdown, according to research company RedBrain.

Equipment such as hair scissors have had a rise in demand over 3000%, as well as a rise in demand for hair curlers, manicure glue and false nails.

As the COVID-19 crisis continues and we begin to deal with a ‘new normal’, RedBrain data shows online shopping trends in the UK have shifted from the early weeks of panic buying foods, exercise equipment and entertainment to wanting to look and feel fantastic.

Other beauty products in the UKs top 50 in demand products include hair pins, cuticle creams and oils, facial pore strips and waxing kits.

Alastair Campbell, Chief Growth Officer for RedBrain said, ‘We’ve seen a huge impact on all our lives recently from COVID-19 with fundamental shifts in online shopping patterns as we try to navigate the ‘new normal’.

‘It’s easy to think the world has stopped and life is put on hold but our data tells a different story. We are all going through similar experiences and buying lots of the same things, at the same times.’

Despite it being a positive sign that health and beauty are at the forefront of consumers’ minds, the sooner the public can get back to seeing a professional therapist the better as DIY health and beauty treatments can be a safety issue. It is important consumers buy from reputable suppliers, carry out patch tests (esp. for hair dyes, henna, tints, glues, etc), and take the time to use equipment properly (anything exercise related).

FHT Vice President Mary Dalgleish shares a self-care ritual for the hands

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Every day our hands do amazing things without us giving them a second thought. As a bodywork therapist, my hands are the tools of my trade and it wasn’t until I had an accident that left me without the use of one of my hands, that I realised how much I depend on them.

A regular self-care ritual for the hands is a wonderful way to thank them for all they do for us. My favourite includes an exfoliating scrub followed by an Ayurvedic massage working on the marma points of the hands.

Hands can often get dry, rough and in need of some intense moisture and exfoliation, so start off with a homemade sugar scrub. Simply mix a teaspoon of sugar with a tablespoon of oil and massage it gently all over the hands for one minute. Rinse with soap and warm water and dry. In choosing soap, I opt for products without harsh foaming agents such as sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) as these can strip the natural oils from the skin if used excessively. You can make up a larger amount of the sugar scrub and store it in an airtight jar to use at a later date.

The next step is to apply some oil to the hands and arms, massaging it gently all over, up to the elbows. If you are seated, you may want to place a towel on your lap to catch any drips.

Then begin the Ayurvedic marma massage, using your opposite thumb or fingers, to work on each of the marma points listed below, using a circular motion, five times in each direction.

MARMA POINTS

There are a total of 107 marma points on the body with seven on each upper limb as follows:

Screen Shot 2020-05-07 at 12.08.57KSHIPRA (meaning ‘quick’; referring to its immediate effect): Situated between the thumb and index finger and located bilaterally on the dorsal and palmar surfaces. This is a good marma for acupressure to promote circulation, aid the respiratory system, increase energy flow and get the prana moving throughout the body as a whole. It can be massaged firmly using a strong circular motion (in both directions) for around 5 minutes.

KURCHA (meaning a knot or bundle – of muscles at the base of the thumb): The main point is situated at the base of the thumb joint (metacarpo-phalangeal joint) but the entire marma covers a larger area around that. It is beneficial for the eyesight and all the senses and for stimulating the mind.

TALAHRIDAYA (meaning ‘heart or centre of the palm’): Situated in the centre of the palm facing the root of the middle finger. This is an important point for the respiratory system, heart, energy circulation of the entire body and helpful for all around health and balance. Therapists who use their hands can also massage this point before a treatment to enhance the flow of vital energy or prana to the palms.

KURCHASHIRA (meaning ‘the head of kurcha’): Situated at the root of the thumb, just above the wrist. It is beneficial for eyesight and ‘agni’ – the digestion of food. It also calms the mind and nervous system.

MANIBANDA (meaning ‘bracelet’): Located all around the wrist (like a bracelet) with one main point lateral to the centre of the wrist, opposite the second finger. The site opposite on the back of the wrist can be worked on at the same time. Acupressure is beneficial for the skeletal system, movement of the hands, lubrication of the joints and peripheral circulation.

INDRA BASTI (‘Indra’ refers to the God of war and rainfall and ‘basti’ has several meanings including ‘arrow’ ‘cleanse’ and ‘bladder): Located at the centre of the anterior forearm, half way between the wrist and the elbow. This point benefits the digestive system, particularly the small intestine, which is involved in absorption of nutrients from food.

Finish off with some gentle stroking all over your hands and arms. Then join your hands together at your heart and say ‘thank you’ to your wonderful hands for all they do for you. 

If you want to read more about Ayurveda or marma massage, a useful reference book is “Ayurveda & Marma Therapy – Energy Points in Yogic Healing” by Dr. David Frawley.

Watch Mary’s full video where she demonstrates her self-care ritual for the hands.