Meet the speakers: Dr Laura Marshall-Andrews, GP and founder of Brighton Health and Wellbeing Centre

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The 2019 FHT Conference, taking place at The King’s Fund, London, on 29 November, is a great opportunity to learn from those who have successfully brought together the best of conventional medicine and complementary healthcare to provide a truly holistic approach for patients.

We’re delighted to be joined by experts in education, healthcare and research, who will deliver talks on a range of topics and share tips on how you too can be a part of the future of integrated health and social care. This week, we’re highlighting the incredible work of speaker Dr Laura Marshall-Andrews…

About Laura

Laura is a GP, the founder of the Brighton Health and Wellbeing Centre and the College of Medicine Lead on Integrated General Practice. She is extremely passionate about patient-centred care and integrated medicine, saying that ‘“I learn more every day from the people I see in clinics than I do anywhere else”.

Laura also has a strong interest in ‘slow medicine’, which views the patient as an organic being that needs time and the right conditions to heal, as opposed to a broken machine that needs to be ‘fixed’.

About the Brighton Health and Wellbeing Centre

The Brighton Health and Wellbeing Centre is an NHS GP surgery. Integrating mainstream medicine with complementary approaches is their primary focus when working with patients to develop treatment plans that reflect not just the illness, but the person who has the illness. As well as offering a range of healing arts services, Laura and her colleagues have carefully chosen a range of the most effective complementary therapies and treatments to offer patients at the centre including aromatherapy, massage, reflexology, acupuncture, nutrition, craniosacral therapy, Alexander technique, talking therapies and many more.

Laura’s talk

In her presentation, Laura will explain to delegates what she thinks good integrated healthcare ‘looks like’, including an overview of the services available at Brighton Health and Wellbeing Centre. She will also provide an introduction to the key principles of ‘slow medicine’ and will share some tips on how therapists can make the most of current opportunities in the health and care system and forge links with relevant health professionals and organisations in their local community.

Tickets to the 2019 FHT Conference are just £85 for FHT members (£105 for non-members) and include a networking buffet lunch, drinks reception and refreshments.

Last year’s conference sold out early, so we strongly recommend booking soon if you would like to secure your place.

Find out more and book your ticket

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FHT Fellows promote therapies and raise money for charity at Shropshire events

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FHT Fellows Jacquelene Buller and Janet Capstick, directors of Timeless Partnership, recently attended two major county agricultural shows in Shropshire to promote the benefits of complementary therapy and raise money for charity.

As well as offering taster sessions in reflexology and chair massage to show competitors and the general public, they raised funds for Parkinson’s UK, specifically for the Telford and Wrekin Support Group. Since attending this type of event Jacquelene and Janet have raised more than £1,000 for the charity.

Parkinson’s UK has been their company’s chosen charity for many years, as they are the Telford and Wrekin Support Group’s ‘resident therapists’, providing group members access to different complementary therapies and the Healthy-Steps Exercise Programme.

“The FHT banners we hired were perfect for raising the profile of the FHT and helped to draw in the crowds to the stand, from warming up the show jumping competitors’ muscles, to helping relieve tension in the legs of those walking around the shows for hours,” says Jacquelene. “Regular clients returned and new ones enjoyed the benefits of holisitc therapies.”

Both events were well supported by the general public and the fine weather contributed to their overall success.

In past years Timeless Partnership has raised funds for Macmillan, Marie Curie, Breast Cancer Care and children’s charities.


International Therapist Issue 130 (Autumn 2019)

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

Knowing how passionate our members are about the environment and sustainability, we’re also delighted to announce that after a small but successful trial, your latest issue of the magazine will arrive in a biodegradable wrapper (please see the carry sheet enclosed for advice on how to dispose of the wrapper appropriately).

In this issue, you will find:

  • A special reflexology feature, providing case studies of how this therapy can be used to support a four different client groups, plus results from our special 2019 FHT Reflexology Survey
  • An introduction to the Full Circle Fund, an integrated service for hospital patients with life-challenging illness, by Suzanne Ruggles, MFHT
  • How to identify your dream client, by Jill Woods
  • Providing complementary therapies as part of a social prescribing project, by Teresa Meeking, MFHT
  • A look at green products and initiatives from seven of FHT’s valued advertisers
  • A look at common injuries in breakers (break dancers)
  • How to get GP referrals, by Dr Toh Wong

Plus an essential oil profile on frankincense; the latest FHT local group news; a day in the life of Hazel Tudor, MFHT, complementary therapist and local group coordinator; the latest research; expert advice; medical A-Z; an interview with Dr John Hughes, director of research at Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine and co-chair of the Research Council for Complementary Medicine; a look at the 2019 FHT Training Congress; public affairs and lots more…

And don’t miss the opportunity to win one of four Physique Taping Starter Kits, worth more than £40 each, and a £20 John Lewis & Partners gift card and FHT poster of your choice in the latest spiral quiz.

Landing on your doorstep from Thursday 17 October. You can also log in to read this issue (from Thursday 17 October) and past issues online at

Study shows reflexology eases anxiety and depression in patients


It has been reported that up to 20% of patients with cardiovascular diseases experience anxiety and depression during hospitalisation (Chamberlain et al 2011, Meneghetti el al 2017).

A study recently published in the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork looked at the effects of foot reflexology massage on anxiety and depression in female older adults suffering from acute coronary syndrome (Bahrami T et al, 2019).

Ninety female patients over the age of 60 who had been hospitalised for one day in an Iranian cardiac care unit were randomly assigned to either an intervention group or control group. Those in the intervention group received routine care and a 20-minute reflexology treatment, which included a general foot massage and working the solar plexus, pituitary gland, brain, heart, large and small intestines, vertebral column, adrenal and kidney reflexes. The control group received routine care without foot reflexology massage.

Measurements taken before and immediately after the sessions showed that hospital anxiety and depression in the reflexology group significantly decreased compared to that of the control group.

The researchers concluded that foot reflexology massage is an efficient, ‘safe and non-pharmacological intervention that can be used, along with pharmacological measures, to reduce psychological symptoms and improve quality of care in patients with acute coronary syndrome’. They also recommend that ‘future studies with a larger sample size and long-term follow-up are needed to examine the effect of foot reflexology massage on psychological parameters in cardiac patients’.

Read the full study

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The FHT features research summaries in each issue of International Therapist magazine. To find out more about the many benefits of being an FHT member, visit

FHT’s Mary Dalgleish provides an introduction to aroamtherapy at 2019 Integrative Health Convention

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Now in its second year, the Integrative Health Convention gathers together professionals involved in conventional medicine, complementary therapy and self-care, to explore ways of working together to improve health outcomes in patients, limit overprescribing, manage stress, and possibly reduce overall NHS spending.

The Convention is organised by Dr Toh Wong and Dr Naveed Akhtar in association with the College of Medicine, and helps to raise the profile of complementary therapies and other health interventions that are safe and appropriate, bridging the gap with conventional Western medicine.

FHT Vice President, Mary Dalgleish, was invited to give a presentation on aromatherapy, providing delegates with an insight into the therapy’s history, how different essential oils are produced, their therapeutic properties, supporting research, and guidance on safe practice.

SM Mary Dalgleish at IHC“I was privileged to represent the FHT and our aromatherapy members as a speaker at this year’s convention, which took place in London on 5 and 6 October. The audience included doctors, medical students and complementary therapists, and it was an honour to be able to share my passion for aromatherapy and answer questions on the topic. I also attended several talks myself and participated on the Q & A panel at the end.

“Overall I found it to be a very inspirational event that brought together different therapists and representatives of the medical community. As well as discovering more about other therapies, I was very impressed to learn about different integrated health initiatives already happening all over the UK. My thanks to the organisers, Dr Wong and Dr Akhtar, for setting up such an amazing event.”

If you are passionate about integrated healthcare, we still have some places left at this year’s FHT Conference taking place at The King’s Fund, London, on 29 November. See the full programme and book your place at But hurry – tickets are selling fast!

Research shows pressure massage may help Achilles tendinopathy

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Achilles tendinopathy (AT) is a common problem that affects runners and other athletes, as well as the general population.

According to a recent study published in the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine (Stefansson et al, 2019), pressure massage may be a useful therapy for supporting clients with AT.

A team of researchers from the University of Iceland and University of Copenhagen conducted a randomised controlled trial to determine whether pressure massage to the calf muscles is a useful treatment for AT, by comparing it with an eccentric exercise protocol.

Sixty patients with AT were recruited and randomly assigned to three groups: one with the eccentric exercise protocol, another with pressure massage, and a third where participants underwent both the eccentric exercise protocol and pressure massage. The researchers asked the participants to complete a questionnaire and to undergo a series of tests to monitor progress.

The exercise protocol required participants to stand on a step, lift up their toes, put weight on their injured leg and slowly lower their heel as far as possible until a maximal stretch was felt. This was performed with both straight knee and bent knee for 12 weeks.

In group two participants received pressure massage from a therapist twice a week for six weeks and once a week for the next six weeks.

The results showed that symptoms improved in all three groups, but the pressure massage group improved significantly more than the eccentric exercise group after four weeks, suggesting that although both interventions improved outcomes, pressure massage achieved faster results. Improvements in range of movement were found equally across all three groups.

In the conclusion, the researchers stated that: ‘Pressure massage is a valid treatment for AT and is at least as effective as eccentric exercises as measured with the VISA-A-IS questionnaire and ROM in ankle dorsiflexion’ and ‘Because trigger points might contribute to the pain in AT, we suggest that treatment to the calf muscles be included in future treatments for Achilles tendinopathy.’

View the full study

Access references (see ‘Research’ section)

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The FHT features research summaries in each issue of International Therapist magazine. To find out more about the many benefits of being an FHT member, visit

FHT introduces Natural Health readers to the power of thyme

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We are delighted to regularly contribute to Natural Health magazine, to promote the FHT, our members and the therapies they practice.

In the October issue, we look at the health benefits of thyme, examining its historic therapeutic use and how the plant’s essential oil can be used to strengthen the immune system and prevent and fight infection.

Read FHT’s introduction to thyme