Laughter yoga featured on This Morning


Laughter yoga was recently featured on ITV’s This Morning, as hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield took part in a demonstration led by Louise Claire Gates.

Louise introduced them to the therapy, explaining its origins and health benefits, saying that belly laughter can produce similar benefits to running and other exercises. She explained that when pretending to laugh, the body doesn’t really know the difference, so the pretend laughter will very soon become real laughter.

Holly and Phillip were then introduced to a number of exercises that could be practised as part of a yoga therapy session.

Watch the clip here

Read an article about the benefits of laughter by Lotte Mikkelsen (first published in International Therapist issue 124

The importance of touch

Dr Chatterjee1GP, Author and TV presenter, Dr Rangan Chatterjee talks about the importance of human touch in his latest Feel Better, Live More podcast.

Rangan speaks to leading researcher, Professor Francis McGlone, who explains why touch is essential to the healthy brain development of humans and other mammals, and what the consequences are when we don’t receive it.

Francis says that there are now fewer opportunities for children to experience social touch and physical play than there were 30 to 50 years ago. There is less physical activity and more desk-based IT work, where children often spend more time on a smart phone or tablet than interacting with each other. He believes that children who lack social touch could become less resilient in the future.


He also says that nurturing touch in early years from the mother or caregiver is crucial for brain development and a lack of touch can lead to social exclusion. Research has shown that ‘rats whose mothers lick them regularly as they grow up are better able to cope with stress than those whose mothers don’t lick them at all’. The rats who weren’t licked became hypersensitive to stress and anxiety.

Listen to the podcast here

Read an interview with Dr Chatterjee in the Winter 2018 issue of International Therapist

International Therapist Issue 127 (Winter 2019)

01 cover_IT WINTER 2019_International Therapist

This issue includes articles on the following:

  • Deactivating trigger points with soft tissue release, by Jane Johnson;
  • An interview with leading academic, Professor Sarah Stewart-Brown;
  • Developing the first NHS approved complementary therapy school, by Gwyn Featonby;
  • Skin peels and the importance of best practice, by Dermalogica’s Candice Gardner;
  • How massage techniques can help clients with fibromyalgia, by Jing’s Rachel Fairweather;
  • An introduction to runner’s knee and techniques that can help, by Dawn Morse; and
  • Patient-reported outcome measures relevant to therapies, by Nicola Brough and Professor Sarah Stewart-Brown.

Plus a look at the 2018 FHT Conference and Excellence Awards; an essential oil profile on cypress; the latest FHT local support group news; a day in the life of Sheree Phelps, a sports massage therapist and 2017 FHT Excellence Award winner; Maureen Bonner, MFHT, reflects on meeting a US-based oncology massage expert; the latest research; medical A-Z; an interview with Angie Buxton-King, award winning healer and founder of the Sam Buxton Sunflower Healing Trust; a preview of the 2019 FHT Training Congress; a chance to win an Absolute Aromas Aroma-Mist Diffuser and Breatheasy Essential Blend, and lots more…

Don’t miss the opportunity to win a year’s free membership and a £100 John Lewis & Partners gift card by completing our 2019 Member Survey, on page 49.

Landing from Thursday 24 January. You can also login to read this issue (from Thursday 24 January) and past issues online at

FHT award winner profile: Gwyn Featonby

Gwyn Featonby PR

Complementary therapist and training provider at an NHS approved school, Gwyn Featonby, won the title of 2018 FHT Tutor of the Year at our annual Excellence Awards, held towards the end of last year.

The award was presented to Gwyn at the 2018 FHT Conference: Supporting the Integrated Healthcare Agenda, held at The King’s Fund, London, on 29 November. Organised by the FHT, the Excellence Awards aim to bring much deserved recognition to high-calibre practitioners, students and tutors working in the fields of complementary, sports and holistic beauty therapy.

A qualified nurse, Gwyn has been practicing complementary therapies for over 30 years. Much of her work has been within hospitals and hospices, where she used therapies to help adults and children manage symptoms related to cancer and other long-term or life-threatening conditions. Today she is education lead at an NHS approved school, which she helped to develop as part of a dedicated team.

The NHS Natural Health School is dedicated to training the next generation of expert therapists, and is part of a self-sustaining model that provides free treatments to patients at a Macmillan cancer centre based in the same hospital. It’s at this school that Gwyn delivers a unique NHS Certificate in Complementary Therapies – a competency-based programme that provides Level 3 students with the skills and experience necessary to practice in an NHS setting and ensure they meet the needs of patients with complex health needs.

In the words of someone who provided a supporting testimonial for Gwyn’s award entry, ‘she is very modest in her achievements but I, and a lot of others in the complementary therapy field, know that she is an amazing practitioner, an informative, knowledgeable and approachable teacher and a pioneer in the complementary therapy field.’

Speaking about her win, Gwyn says: ‘I am delighted to have won the award for FHT Tutor of the year. It is a privilege to be part of a learner’s journey, whether it’s someone new to the industry, or a practitioner wanting to gain more specialist knowledge.

‘Highly skilled and enthusiastic practitioners are key to the provision of quality assured and effective complementary therapy. To be recognised as having a small part in enabling the development of such practitioners is a great honour, not just for me, but for the whole team at the NHS Natural Health School. We are so proud of our learners and graduates, and never forget that they choose to study with us. We strive to help them achieve the very best that they can, but success is only possible with their own enthusiasm and hard work.’

High-fibre diets linked with lower heart disease risk


Eating plenty of fibre reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer, according to a landmark review commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO).

As reported in The Guardian, the study will inform forthcoming WHO guidance and was led by a team at the University of Otago in New Zealand, whose last major review paved the way for sugar taxes across the world.

The review based its findings on data from 185 prospective studies and 58 clinical trials, involving more than 4500 participants. People on high fibre diets were found to be between 15-30% less likely to experience heart disease and early death than those who don’t eat much fibre.

The researchers recommend a daily minimum intake of 25g of fibre, which is similar to the 2015 UK Government guidelines of consuming around 30g each day to form part of a healthy diet.

Fibre is found in a variety of foods, such as wholegrain bread and oats, wholewheat pasta, broccoli, carrots, beans and pulses, nuts and seeds, berries, pears, oranges, and potatoes with skin.

Read an abstract of the review, published in the Lancet




FHT award winner profile: Brian Jauncey, MFHT

Awards Student of the Year winner Brian Jauncey PR

Brian Jauncey won the title of 2018 FHT Student of the Year at our annual Excellence Awards, held towards the end of last year.

The award was presented to Brian at the 2018 FHT Conference: Supporting the Integrated Healthcare Agenda, held at The King’s Fund, London, on 29 November. The Excellence Awards aim to bring much deserved recognition to high-calibre practitioners, students and tutors working in the fields of complementary, sports and holistic beauty therapy.

Brian entered the field of complementary therapy as a mature student at the age of 42. The simple act of twisting to get out of a car one day resulted in two prolapsed discs which meant he couldn’t work for 16 weeks, leaving his career as a welder in jeopardy. Spinal surgery was recommended, which he promptly refused, and it was when trying different therapies to help with his back problem that Brian discovered the benefits of massage and acupuncture. In his own words, ‘Through these modalities, I was able to manage my pain, mobility and quality of life to a degree that I never thought possible’.

With the support of his family, he decided to enrol onto a BSc (Hons) Complementary Therapy for Healthcare degree at Wrexham Glyndŵr University, so that he could help others in a similar situation. Brian quickly developed a passion for learning and as the nominated representative for his course, helped to promote the university at open days, performing demonstrations and talking to prospective students. Having just gained a first for his degree, he is already looking at other ways to expand his skills and knowledge.

Speaking about his win, Brian says: ‘I’m very proud to receive the Student of the Year Award, and to receive recognition by an organisation such as the FHT is a great honour. I am continuing my studies with a PGCE course, alongside running my own practice, Heka Complementary and Alternative Therapies, in Wrexham. I’m then hoping to go on to do a Masters degree.’