When FHT Fellow and Accredited Training Provider, Mary Atkinson, received her 2015 FHT Excellence in Leadership Award she asked to be photographed with red felt hearts as a sign of respect and support for the victims of the Japanese tsunami in 2011.
The award was given in recognition of Mary’s work with a Japanese charity, Cocoro, founded by Japanese aromatherapist, Takiko Ando, in 2011 to provide aromatherapy and positive touch activities for adults and children in the devastated area. Cocoro means mind/heart in Japanese and the charity works hard to provide for the changing needs of local people in terms of emotional and mental health and well-being. In 2012, Mary was invited to Japan by Takiko Ando and the experience of sharing holistic therapies with the victims of the tsunami left such an impact on her that she is now the UK Representative of the charity.
“The red heart is a symbol that we are thinking of those people who are still coming to terms with the destruction and loss of their families and homes,” says Mary, “We have started a Heartfelt Project inviting people to send photographs holding a red felt heart. It is a simple idea but it means so much to the local people to know they are not forgotten by the rest of the world. One of the Cocoro team put together this beautiful book of Heartfelt photos from around the world to give to the local people.”
As UK Representative for the past four years, Mary has travelled around the country, giving talks and sharing her experiences and the valuable lessons she has learnt as a therapist and Story Massage Instructor working with trauma. This work has resulted in a team of more than 100 Cocoro UK supporters, many of whom are FHT members, who actively use their therapy skills to run awareness and fundraising events for the charity. Indeed, many FHT Local Support Groups are featured in the book (picture above).
Mary runs FHT accredited courses in Indian Head Massage and Story Massage, both of which she found beneficial during her visit to the tsunami destroyed area. Indeed, the popular Story Massage book and training course that Mary now runs alongside fellow therapist, Sandra Hooper, was founded as a result of the therapeutic impact of combining story telling and simple massage strokes on the children in Japan. Read more about Story Massage at www.storymassage.co.uk
The Cocoro team of therapists visited the tsunami area again this month. During a four-day visit, they worked closely with local people to provide relaxing activities for both adults and children. They also organised two workshops to train the local Aroma Care Workers and Child Care Workers in new skills to share with the community. Read an update by Tomoyo Nosaki, an Aromatherapist and Story Massage Instructor.
Images: Mary Atkinson / Cocoro