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

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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.

FHT’s Maria Mason talks about her business activities during COVID-19

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Maria Mason is an FHT Vice President and owner of a multi-award-winning salon, BeautyTime, in Bristol. In this piece, Maria talks about what she has been doing to support her clients during the COVID-19 lockdown and to start getting her salon ready for business, when government guidelines allow…

Like all of our members, I was initially shocked and saddened when it became apparent I would have to put my business on hold as a result of COVID-19. I knew it was the right thing to do, to help protect my clients and staff from this awful virus, but it was still incredibly hard to say farewell to my team and close the salon doors at the time.

However, in the back of my mind, I had already considered what I would need to do if I had to shut down the business for any length of time, so it didn’t take long to put an action plan in place…

The personal touch
My first priority was to contact all of our clients. As an established salon, we have hundreds of people on our books, so I started by making a list of our top 100 clients, who I then contacted by telephone. As you can imagine, it took a long time to speak to them all in person, but without exception, they were incredibly grateful for the call. After helping them with any immediate wellbeing concerns, we moved any upcoming appointments to a later date in the diary and agreed to review these nearer the time. I explained to them the different ways I was planning to support clients during lockdown, asked them if they would be interested in any of these support measures and, if so, how they would like to be contacted moving forward.

For the remainder of our clients, I contacted them all by email – again, explaining what services I could offer and asking them how they would prefer to be contacted with information and updates.

In many ways, it was a unique and welcome opportunity to talk at length to my most loyal clients about their health and wellbeing needs and to refresh their communication preferences.

BeautyTime’s remote support for clients
I decided to offer my clients two key services. The first is remote 1-2-1 consultations, which are free of charge. The majority of these take place by telephone or a video app such as FaceTime, whichever means of communication best suits the individual client. Based on what they tell me during the consultation, I will recommend products and self-help techniques that they can use safely at home, from wheat bags and essential oils to taking part in an online meditation or yoga session.

The second is a ‘click and collect’ service. Many of my regular clients buy products from the salon, so I put measures in place for them to easily order and pick up products when they are passing the salon. The payments are taken over the phone or online and there is a pick-up point in our car park. I deliver products to my most vulnerable clients, or those self-isolating, and leave them outside (at no extra cost).

Professional development and salon upkeep
When I’m not supporting my clients, I am keeping myself busy and getting the salon ready for when we return to full business. I have been using this opportunity to review our policies, to research new treatments, and directing my staff to online training opportunities, which then can do while my business takes advantage of the government’s furlough scheme.

I’ve also been redecorating and deep cleaning every inch of the salon, as well as tending to the outside areas too, such as the Zen garden we have and repainting the fence in the car park. I make a point of doing these mundane tasks mindfully; using my experience of meditation from the various monasteries I have travelled to. I find this helps to keep my own health and wellbeing in check.

I made the decision to donate our face masks and various other hygiene products to our local hospital. And when it is safe for the salon to reopen, I am planning to do a free one-day meditation workshop, for the local health professionals and key workers who have been bravely supporting our community throughout this time.

From a business point of view, it’s important that we are communicating all of this positive work to our clients. That way they know we are already taking steps to ensure that the salon is a safe and welcoming environment for them to return to when we open again.

A couple of business tips to other therapists…
While this situation is as unique to me as it is every single FHT member, I thought it would be helpful to highlight a couple of things I have already learnt from experience.

The first is not to offer your support and services to everyone. Make sure that some of your remote business offerings are exclusive to your regular clients – whether it’s a private group on social media that they can join or another service that’s just for them. It’s important for them to feel special and extra cared for at this time.

The second is to maintain professional boundaries, which I know is easier said than done. Of course, it is vitally important that we connect with others during this time but when we resume business, our clients need to see us as their ‘friendly professional therapist’ rather than their ‘friend’ – for both their sake and ours.

Stay safe and well and I wish you and your clients the very best for the future.

 

2020 FHT Excellence Awards open for entries

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We are pleased to announce that the 2020 FHT Excellence Awards are now open for entries.

First launched 10 years ago, the FHT Excellence Awards showcase how you, our members, are making a difference to people living in your local community – from helping clients to improve their health and wellbeing, to providing tailored learning and support to students and qualified therapists.

This year, we have introduced a new category – FHT Green Therapy Business of the Year – as we know that more than 50% of our members are embracing sustainability and looking at ways to make their business practices more environmentally friendly.

Our full range of awards categories are:
• Complementary Therapist of the Year
• Sports Therapist of the Year
• Beauty Therapist of the Year
• Student of the Year
• Tutor of the Year
• Local Group Coordinator of the Year
• Green Therapy Business of the Year

Entering the FHT awards is free of charge and you can enter, or nominate someone else, for more than one category.

As well as gaining much deserved recognition, our winners will receive a certificate, trophy, logo for marketing materials and PR support to help spread the word in their local area, and nationally.

Finalists will be published on the FHT website in August and the winners announced later in the year (date to be confirmed). Entries close on Tuesday 30 June.

Click here to learn more and enter this year’s awards

FHT contributes to Holistic Therapist Magazine

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We have contributed an article about boosting morale to the issue 34 of Holistic Therapist Magazine.

In this feature, we look at how to boost your personal morale when working independently and make your therapy space a more satisfying place to work.

We take encourage readers to reflect on their day, connect with nature by carving out time for a walk and to spruce up their workplace by creating uplifting images for therapists and their clients to enjoy.

FHT regularly contributes to magazines to promote the FHT, our members and the therapies they practice.

Read the full article here.

International Therapist magazine gets a fresh new look this Spring! 

Dear Members,

Given the gravity of the current situation we all find ourselves in, I hope you don’t mind me giving a small drum roll and ‘Ta-da!’ as I announce that we have given International Therapist a redesign in time for the Spring issue! 

FHT_cover_Mockup-whiteWhen your copy arrives through the post (any time from 30 April), you’ll see that it has a contemporary new look and feel, supported by a nature-inspired colour palette and new fonts. And while 98% of you told us in our latest FHT Member Survey that you think the editorial content is ‘very good’ or ‘good’we’ve reviewed this too, just to make sure the articles continue to reflect your needs as a professional therapist, working in an ever-evolving industry.  

Alongside your favourite therapy, health and business-related features, you can now enjoy a new set of regulars including ‘Things for Spring’, ‘Six ways to…’ and a special guest column, with Dr Michael Dixon, GP and national lead for social prescribing, kindly taking up the post for 2020.  

I’m sure many of you will appreciate that a lot of the content in the Spring issue was already under way before COVID-19 had hit our nation’s headlines, which means some of the articles will highlight practices or events that sadly aren’t possible at this time. We hope that where this is the case, rather than feel dejected, you will feel inspired by the possibilities that lie ahead, when you are once again able to provide your full and invaluable support to others. 

And finally, I’d just like to say a big thank you to you all – not just for helping us to shape the industry’s leading membership magazine, but for being some of its biggest champions. We are genuinely touched by the lovely comments we read or receive each time International Therapist is published. We hope you enjoy the latest issue and as always, we’d love your feedback  please email us at internationaltherapist@fht.org.uk or get in touch via social media. 

Best wishes and stay well, 

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Karen Young
Editor and Communications Manager, FHT