The 2017 Excellence Awards are now open!

The FHT Excellence Awards were launched to showcase the enterprising and innovative work being carried out by practising complementary, beauty and sports therapists, as well as those setting the bar in education.

At the FHT, we know the most rewarding aspect of your therapy work is seeing the difference you make to others. Dedicating yourself to the health and well-being of others is a noble cause and we want to celebrate the difference you make – big or small.  Let us recognise and share your stories, and show the world at large what excellence looks like in daily practice.

Award Categories:
  • Complementary Therapist of the Year
  • Beauty Therapist of the Year
  • Sports Therapist of the Year
  • Student of the Year
  • Tutor of the Year
  • LSG Coordinator of the Year

Whatever type of therapy you specialise in, there’s an award for you! The winner of each category will receive a £250 personal cheque, award trophy and certificate. 

Find out more at 

International Therapist Spring 2017, Issue 120

The Spring issue of International Therapist is on its way to members…

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This issue includes articles by:

  • Jean Danford – yoga therapy for Parkinson’s disease and MS;
  • Cameron Reid – case study of a hurdler with shin pain;
  • Jonathan Hobbs – facial acupuncture cosmetic enhancement;
  • Michael Morris – a look at setting up a community interest company;
  • Jennifer Young –  appearance and well-being support for people with cancer; and
  • Action Fraud – advice on how to avoid becoming a victim of fraud.

Plus a look at the FHT Training Congress 2017; interviews with Carrie Grant, vocal coach, TV presenter and patient lead for the College of Medicine, and Leon Chaitow, therapy author and academic; the results of the 2017 FHT Member Survey; updates from our FHT local support groups; a day in the life of Lorraine Ryder, winner of the 2016 FHT Student of the Year award; members’ news, looking at Carole Pender’s career journey; essential oil profile; research; medical A-Z, news updates, your views, tell me about and lots more…

Don’t miss the opportunity to win 4 Anti-Ageing Serum, worth £50, in the members’ competition and a £20 Amazon gift card and FHT branded polo shirt in FHT spiral no. 22.

Landing from Thursday 27 April. You can also login to read this issue (from Thursday 27 April) and past issues online at

Sports therapist Nicholas Flanagan reveals why he chose a career in care

Following the release of the FHT’s second ‘My therapist helps me..’ case study, we have caught up with sports therapist Nicholas Flanagan who revealed why he chose a career in care.










Why did you decide to train as a sports therapist?

‘I started my journey on a complementary health therapy course which introduced me to massage and many other types of therapy. When the course ended, I found myself wanting more – I had developed a thirst for learning. I went on to complete a BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy degree and have recently embarked on a master’s degree in Physiotherapy at Teesside University.’

What do you enjoy most about your role?

‘I really enjoy working with people who have developed seemingly unwarranted aches and pains, whether that is due to poor posture as a result of working at a desk or from not having a correctly balanced gym programme. Being able to assess the root of these issues allows me to help people to understand the cause of their problems and therefore provide them with treatment or tools to help correct these. The best feeling is when people return to the practice with a feeling of self improvement and greater understanding of their body.’

What are the most common problems you help your clients address?

‘I see a lot of people dealing with low back pain, and back, neck and shoulder issues due to poor posture as well as a variety of sport related injuries. They all have one thing in common; regardless of how the problems occur, people want to improve their function and reduce pain.’

What has been your greatest achievement while working as a sports therapist?

‘I couldn’t define one moment but rather a general feeling. When you are in a position to help people improve their function, you gain an insight into how significantly these problems can affect people’s lives, and that can be tough – people can be really down and feel hopeless. However, with some encouragement and therapy, I often see people return to the practice with a positive attitude and feeling like they can make a difference in their lives. That gives me joy; it makes me proud to have been an influence in that transition.’

What did winning the 2016 FHT Sports Therapist of the Year award mean to you?

‘”Wow!” first of all, considering the competition of Adrian and Nicholas, I didn’t think I stood a chance against such strong calibre, high achieving therapists.

‘For me it was a real validation of the work that I do, not only in practice but also as a volunteer. To be recognised as somebody that makes a difference has always motivated me; it inspires me to keep learning and developing and to continue thinking outside the box. It has already afforded me so many new experiences, and this is only the beginning.’

Tell us about your part in the FHT’s ‘My therapist helps me…’ campaign.

‘I had an inordinate amount of fun taking part, especially being given the opportunity to go on this journey with my wonderful client, Kevin. Kevin is a real inspiration and such a go-getter; he is determined not to let life get in the way of his ambitions. Being able to help him manage his body was good enough for me, but to see him push forward and keep coaching the rugby team was the icing on the cake. I also have to mention the hard work that the FHT does to make the campaign flow seamlessly; it puts me at ease knowing that there are such competent and dedicated professionals working to best represent me and fellow therapy professionals.’

What inspired you to take part in the 2017 FHT Training Congress and what should guests expect from your seminar?

‘Truthfully, I jumped at this opportunity. In the past I have lectured to new learners but never to peers. I am always seeking a new challenge as I believe working outside your comfort zone is essential for both personal and professional growth.

‘This seminar on age and exercise is going to be a lot of fun and will get your heart beating. I have some relevant and informative research to highlight, and will be presenting a collection of recommendations for practice, received from very well recognised practitioners. There is also a nice surprise in store for you – I am all about experiential learning and so I ask you to bring an open mind, a positive attitude and comfortable footwear!’

What’s next for Nick?

‘I have just begun studying a master’s degree in Physiotherapy which will be my main focus over the next two years. I also work at The Westoe Practice in South Shields; we are a multidisciplinary center for health and well-being. I am part of an amazing team of people who are passionate about helping people improve their quality of life through various physical, psychological and spiritual modalities. I hope to offer the highest quality of service to those in need and continue to develop my craft by learning from my clients and peers.’



Nicholas Flanagan will be hosting the “Age and Exercise” seminar at 10:30 on Sunday 21 May at the 2017 FHT Training Congress.

Book here






You can find out more about Nick and Kevin’s case study here

Obese people have lower pain threshold, new research shows

An extra layer of fat won’t provide a cushion against pain – in fact, obese people are more sensitive to pressure pain than those who are not overweight, and they are equally susceptible to extremes of hot and cold.


A new study, carried out at Leeds Beckett University, highlights the differences in pain response between different groups of people. The results could reinforce the argument for weight loss programmes being part of pain management plans for obese people suffering from chronic pain.

The team investigated 74 volunteers, categorised as obese, overweight or normal according to their body mass index (BMI) – a standard way of measuring if a person is at a healthy weight for their height.

Volunteers in each group had pressure, cold and heat applied to two different areas of the body. The first experiment tested the hand, at the base of the thumb, an area that has little body fat. The second measured responses near the waist, in an area where extra fat is stored. Volunteers were asked to report at what point the pressure, cold or heat first felt painful.

Each volunteer was also asked to report their experience of cold pain by putting their hands into icy water. Again, they were asked to report the point at which they felt pain.

In the obese group, volunteers reported feeling pain from pressures equivalent to around 4.3kg per square centimetre, while those in the group with normal BMI reported pain at about 8.6kg per square centimetre. Interestingly, the middle group, those classed as ‘overweight’, had a slightly higher pressure pain threshold than the ‘normal’ group, with pain being reported at 10kg per square centimetre.

In terms of response to hot and cold temperatures, there was no significant difference across any of the groups, when tested at the waist. Only a small increase in sensitivity was reported in tests on the hand, suggesting that an extra layer of fat is no protection against extreme temperatures.

“Obese people are more likely to experience pain from factors such as the mechanical impact of increased weight on joints than people with a normal BMI,” explains Dr Osama Tashani, a senior research fellow at the Centre for Pain Research at Leeds Beckett University. “But our study suggests that even in areas of the body which are not bearing weight, obese people are more susceptible to pressure pain.”

“The overweight group had the highest pressure pain threshold, which might be because there were more people in this group taking part in physical activities, which could also affect how a person feels pain,” says Dr Tashani.

The results, published in the European Journal of Pain, show that obese people are likely to have the lowest pressure pain threshold – but it could also suggest that those with a low pressure pain threshold are more likely to become obese.

“It could be the case that a person who is more sensitive to pain is less likely to do physical activity and therefore more likely to gain weight and become obese,” says Dr Tashani.

The team plan to carry out further research into the factors that make people more susceptible to pain. This includes examining the chemicals secreted by fatty tissues in the body which could affect the response of pain receptors.

2017 FHT Training Congress: tickets are selling fast!

There is just 5 weeks left to go before the FHT will be celebrating all things holistic at the Holistic Health UK show!

Tickets for the 2017 FHT Training Congress are selling fast, with over 100 delegates already booked to attend a variety of seminars from 32 industry experts. Don’t miss your opportunity to attend.

Seminar topics include: 

  • Holistic well-being in the beauty salon
  • Dorn Method/Breuss Massage for Back and Joint Pain
  • Working with people living with and beyond cancer
  • Salon etiquette
  • Age and exercise
  • Five golden rules to increase your revenue
  • Holistic therapies to support autism
  • Ayurvedic foot massage
  • A social media strategy for your business
  • Auricular diagnosis
  • WaveStone cellulite massage
  • Reiki energy and working alongside reiki guides
  • Aromatherapy and the skin
  • All about the Emmett Technique
  • Facial acupuncture
  • Reflexology for stress,anxiety and pain
  • Manipulative therapy
  • Examination and treatment for the sacroiliac joint

And much more…

To see the full range of seminars on offer click here.

The FHT will be at stand A32 introducing our membership to attendees and selling discounted FHT shop stock. FHT therapists will also be on hand, offering treatments to guests to showcase the benefits of complementary therapy.


Guest blog – is your website working hard enough for you?

In this blog, WebHealer – a supplier of websites to members of therapy associations – shares its tips on using a therapist website to save time, and improve the quality of client service.

The paperless office

Slowly but surely we are seeing paper replaced by digital solutions in most people’s everyday lives. In advertising, for example, you’ll be aware that Yellow Pages is a lot slimmer than it used to be – everyone uses Google these days. Administrative procedures too are now much easier to perform digitally than via paper, but are you taking advantage of this as much as you could be?

At WebHealer our primary goal is to help our customers improve the performance of their therapy practices. Often we are advising on matters related to search engines or marketing, but another important area of opportunity is to incorporate your website into your business procedures. Look at repetitive manual tasks that might be carried out more efficiently using online resources. We recently received some very encouraging feedback from one of our customers, Amanda Weller, at who has been working on improving her admin procedures.

‘I send a link to a website page (hidden from the menu) with my intake form on it to every single new client for them to fill in. Easy, no paper – brilliant. I have another page set up as a ‘thank you’ page which is automatically activated when someone sends the form back to me.

‘I really feel happy referring potential clients to my website, as it’s an effective resource which enables them to find answers to questions they may have before making the decision to work with me. I also use it with existing clients when I want to refer them to certain resources, or remind them how to do a DIY technique, etc’ said Amanda Weller.

Resource pages

If you have a website already, you probably have an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page, which can answer questions potential clients are wondering about. But, as Amanda suggests, consider pages to store information sheets which you may otherwise have printed or stored somewhere else. The convention on the web is that downloads should be in PDF format (as it is safer from viruses), so if you create something in Microsoft Word just remember to save it as an Adobe PDF.

Interactive / feedback forms

Another area with a lot of potential is online forms. These are now within the reach of anyone with a small website. If you have a WordPress website there will be plenty of standard plugins for this. WebHealer clients have an option called PHD Forms, which Amanda uses. You can also just Google ‘online form builder’ and find a number of options at different levels of price and complexity. The more sophisticated (and typically expensive) ones might store the data for you or they might just email the results of the form to you. 

Forms can be used in lots of ways such as:

  • Patient information or client information questionnaires
  • Feedback forms
  • Suggestion forms
  • Booking forms for courses or events

Automate for ease

Using online forms should not make things more complicated for you. Standardise your procedures and incorporate automated tools to make your life easier as well as providing a more consistent and therefore higher quality service to your clients. By making it easy for you to send forms and collate the answers, it becomes practical to do this as a standard procedure. You can now invite feedback from clients routinely and perhaps pick up ideas to improve the quality of your service or modify things that clients may find confusing.



For more tips and advice on how a website can improve the performance of your practice, see the WebHealer eBook “Using the Web to Attract More Clients”, which has just had a major revision. Download the full eBook, here.