FHT Professional Development Conference 2022: Gina Reinge

A Q&A with Gina Reinge

[Image of Gina Reinge teaching in classroom]
  1. Tell us a bit of background about yourself… (Why and how did you get into the industry? What did you do before?)

I used to work in the Live Events industry, I was a production manager installing the lighting, sound, staging and sound systems for conferences and music events. It was a very rewarding job taking me all over Europe, but also a very stressful. Eventually the lifestyle took its toll and health issues lead me to have to rethink. I have been an avid sports woman all my life, competing at a competitive level in swimming, athletics and hockey, as a child, and Martial Arts as an adult. I was always amazed how I could watch a sporting event on TV and someone would be wheeled off injured one week but able to recover enough to play again the next week. Being heavily into martial arts, my injuries never healed that fast! So I wanted to learn this magic art of healing the body!

2. Are there any challenges you have had to overcome as a therapist? How have you overcome these?

Just after I qualified with an Advanced Diploma in Sports Therapy I ended up hospitalised for 3 months with an acute flare up of Inflammatory Arthritis, I had just started my Sports Science degree so would sit in hospital with lots of swollen joints reading my physiology books! This accelerated my start into the world of therapy as I could no longer work in the events industry. So, when I was eventually released and could walk again, I would strap up literally all my joints and head out to see my one client of the day and then head back to bed exhausted! This went on for some time until I found medication that worked and met Ian who helped me to tailor my exercise program and help myself. Although this was a hugely challenging time, what it did do was give me a unique insight into how my skills as a sports therapist and my knowledge of exercise science could help with medical conditions. I totally understand how my clients with arthritis feel now when they head into my clinic. This interest led me to complete a Masters degree in Exercise and Health Sciences and I now love treating people with complex health conditions. It is amazing how much simple strength work can help the most medically complicated presentation.

3. What interests you outside of work? (How do you normally spend your spare time?)

Prior to my son arriving, martial arts was a big part of my life. I am a 1st Dan Black belt in Goju Ryu Karate but also trained for many years in Thai Boxing. I would teach children at a local kids club and loved it. Pre children, Ian and I would head out on our kayaks hugging the coastline while we explored caves. I also really enjoyed archery, winning a few local club competitions. Since our son came along social life has been rather limited but having recently moved back to my home town I am now actively involved with my local amateur theatre. I first joined this theatre when I was 7 years old, so it is great to be back helping them with their productions. But mostly we spend our spare time having fun as a family, my son is now 7 and is great fun to play with.

4. What is your seminar about and what can viewers expect to come away with?

My seminar is looking at thoraco-lumbar fascia. This is a fascinating structure that many people know exists, but less people appreciate why it is there and what its function is. The more I learn about the body the more I realise that everything within our bodies is there for a reason, it is a very well thought out machine and nothing is there by chance. This structure is our link from the upper and lower body, it allows forces to translate through it. So, it is important when you walk, lift something and even breathe! A huge number of muscles attach into it and they all have a specific reason for doing so. How interesting is that. People will, I hope understand that this is more than just a basic fascial structure and is integral to healthy function.

5. What would be your one piece of advice for therapists wanting to grow and develop their therapy practice?

Ignore the people who tell you you should have a client base up and running in a few months. We have recently moved to a new area and have been setting up a new clinic in these difficult covid times. Having set up several clinics I know it takes years to build a firm client base, so be realistic. In current times you need to accept it will be harder and a 3 to 4 year plan to get to capacity is more realistic.

Also, you really need to understand social media and digital marketing. Don’t pay others to do it, you will save a small fortune if you buy some books and teach yourself. We live in a digital world and most clients will come from either google or word of mouth. We have found that getting out there and doing talks/ giving short free assessments/ treatments is the way to gain lifelong clients. But do start with a plan, map out where you want to be in 5 years and then step back and work out how to get there. It really does work and good luck with it.

6. What do you consider to be the most important traits for a therapist to have?

I would say empathy is so so important. I have noticed that with covid there has been a distinct lack of empathy from health care generally. Often these days clients just want a friendly ear to talk to and that can be just as important as the actual treatment you give. Really listen to them and never disregard their pain levels, even if you can’t work out why they are in so much pain. We had a lovely client who was in so much pain; once we had cleared the obvious issues and scan / x-rays had ruled anything further out she was still in agony. Everyone told her it was in her mind and psychological. Fast forward 3 years and it turns out the pain was a tumour pressing on her nerves that was so small no one could see it. She had stage 4 cancer before anyone took her pain levels seriously. So yes, empathy I would say is the most important trait you can have at the present time.

FHT Virtual Conference 2022: Rachel Fairweather

Fix in Six- The Jing Method for Getting Results with Advanced Clinical Massage

How do you feel when a new client walks through your door experiencing some kind of acute or chronic pain- for example; a herniated disc, persistent low back pain, frozen shoulder, carpal tunnel syndrome, whiplash, or a sports injury? Do you feel:

A. Excited at this opportunity to help someone get out of pain, gain a repeat client, and enhance your word-of-mouth reputation?

Or are you:

B. Unconfident, unsure of how massage can help, hesitant in your treatment, or feel that you should be referring the client on to a osteopath or physiotherapist instead?

If the answer is the (A) – then well done- put this article down and go and have a cup of tea or read some of the other excellent features on this blog instead! But if the answer is (B) then you may wish to read on – and don’t worry, you are not alone! 

Do you wish you had a massage mentor?

Lack of training in the treatment of pain is one of the most common gaps in knowledge identified by British massage therapists today. Most qualifying courses enable us to do a great relaxation massage but leave many of us lacking when it comes to those clinical problems so commonly seen in the general public- bad backs, sore necks, shoulder or wrist problems.

Even many therapists gaining sports massage qualifications are often unsure about how to go about getting results with some of the techniques they have learned. To be sure, trigger point and STR seem like great techniques but how on earth do you put them into practice when faced with a real live client in pain and desperate for help?

Discovering the tips and tricks that work consistently in clinical practice can be a long and frustrating journey – how many of us have wished we just had that personal wise and experienced “massage mentor” sitting in a chair in the corner of our massage practice and helping us to figure out exactly what to do with each client?

Well help is at hand – at Jing we have used our years of personal massage experience to develop a tried and tested approach that is highly effective in treating the pain conditions commonly seen by massage therapists.

Using a proficient combination of advanced soft tissue techniques, many clients can experience a reduction in their pain levels within 6 weekly sessions and often as few as 1-3 treatments. Although we are not quite able to sit in on your massage sessions, having the Jing “roadmap” of techniques at your fingertips is like the next best thing.  

How do we know our approach works? Quite simply because these are the combination of techniques that we have been using in our own clinics over the past 30 years to get consistent results with people in pain. We use these techniques, and so do our teachers and students– and we get results!

Feeling confident in treating chronic pain works wonders for your enthusiasm for your work and of course your marketing – nothing enhances your word of mouth publicity more than a treatment resulting in relief from pain.

Principles of the Fix in Six approach to treating acute and chronic pain

Can you really make a lasting result in a maximum of 6 weekly sessions? Our experience suggests you can; most common musculo-skeletal injury and pain responds well to this approach; frequently achieving a pain free period by weeks 3 or 4.  Once you have reached a pain free period, you can lengthen the time between treatments so you might next book your client in for 2 weeks time.  Eventually most clients can be moved onto monthly maintenance sessions to keep them out of trouble on an ongoing basis.

We have found that the most successful approach involves using a combination of a great assessment plus a combination of the treatment skills outlined below – you will need more than one tool in your massage toolkit to achieve effective results with different conditions. The best practitioners get results because they use a dynamic combination of skills, adapting each session with every client to create a unique and specialised treatment.

Summary of the Jing method: the power of HFMAST

So what exactly is the Jing approach? In addition to a targeted consultation, the techniques that form the cornerstone of the Jing method can be summarized by the mnemonic HFMAST. They are:

  • H-The use of heat or cold
  • F- The use of fascial techniques – both direct and indirect methods
  • M –Treating muscles with precise trigger point therapy – specifically treating ALL the muscles around an affected joint to release trigger points
  • A- Acupressure. Treating relevant acupressure points
  • SStretching – using stretching techniques such as static, PNF or active isolated stretching
  • T- Teaching the client self-help strategies that lie within the massage therapists’ scope of practice. This would include for example self-trigger point treatment, simple breathing techniques, stretching or mobilization exercises.

Putting in all together

Although this might seem like a lot of things to get into one treatment, it’s simple to learn the basics of the approach and start putting it into practice straight away.

The above steps are like a tried and tested recipe – include all these ingredients in your treatments and you will see an increase in your ability to get results. You will also need to use your own skill and creativity to determine which of the ingredients may be needed to a greater or lesser extent as the exact “recipe” will vary from client to client. So, each treatment will be different, challenging, and exciting for both you and the client!

Good luck with integrating some of the approaches above into your treatments – we would love to help you more in person so check out our talk on the FHT virtual conference on 11th July 10am or visit our website www.jingmassage.com for loads more great free content.

About Rachel Fairweather and Jing Advanced Massage

Rachel Fairweather is author of the best selling book for passionate massage therapists – ‘Massage Fusion: The Jing Method for the treatment of chronic pain”.

She is also the dynamic co-founder and Director of Jing Advanced Massage Training (www.jingmassage.com), a school providing degree level, hands-on and online training for all who are passionate about massage. Come and take part in one of our fun and informative short CPD courses to check out the Jing vibe for yourself!

Rachel has over 30 year’s experience in the industry working as an advanced therapist and trainer, first in New York and now throughout the UK. Due to her extensive experience, undeniable passion and intense dedication, Rachel is a sought-after international guest lecturer, writes regularly for professional trade magazines, and has twice received awards for outstanding achievement in her field.

Rachel holds a degree in Psychology, a Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work, an AOS in Massage Therapy and is a New York licensed massage therapist.

www.jingmassage.com

Tel: 01273 628942

FHT Virtual Conference 2022: Alastair McLoughlin

Q&A Questions with Alastair McLoughlin

[Image of Alastair at Stonehenge]

1.            Tell us a bit of background about yourself… (Why and how did you get into the industry? What did you do before?)

Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away – Well it was in the early 1980’s (it seems long ago) that I changed from a career in photography to learning therapeutic massage. I’m sure the change in career was borne from the need to have a more fulfilling profession. Helping people is a great reward in itself, and that has continued to be the case these past 40 years. Other techniques for helping people evolved over the years and added to my ability to help more and people.

2.            Are there any challenges you have had to overcome as a therapist? How have you overcome these?

There are many challenges in our profession. Relating to people in pain can be difficult sometimes. They don’t always know how to communicate what they feel. They don’t always realise when they feel better. Building your professional reputation in your locality, is an ongoing process and takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. Personal referral is always the best way for people to get to know who you are and what you do.

More recently, relocating to Germany,  there are even more challenges to face – besides the obvious language and cultural differences.

Building an international reputation with therapists in many countries and multiple languages is, once again, a challenge that takes time, patience and perseverance.

3.            What interests you outside of work? (How do you normally spend your spare time?)

I enjoy many genres of music and developing my skills playing the guitar. I also enjoy visiting and exploring the many beautiful towns of Germany and discovering their history. Even exploring the town in which I now live and I find many famous people, including Albert Einstein, Elvis Presley and General Patton, all visited this town in the past decades.

[Image of Alastair at the Golden Gate Bridge]

4.            What is your seminar about and what can viewers expect to come away with?

My seminar is about a subject that is often excluded from many bodywork courses: ‘Why Scar Tissue Shouldn’t Be Ignored.’  It is my hope that this brief exploration of this special type of tissue will help stimulate your interest in why the treatment of scars is often overlooked, but why scars can affect your treatment results if not addressed. 

5.            What is it about your topic that appeals to you and why is it useful for therapists?

Many years ago, I realised that scars have a restrictive effect on joints and tissue mobility. It’s so obvious when you look at them closely. Scars also created numb and desensitised areas and they can hold negative emotional states for some clients. ‘How could I change and improve these effects?’ – this was a question that prompted me to investigate and study their effects more closely – and then come up with a suitable treatment protocol that could be easily taught to practitioners.

6.            What would be your one piece of advice for therapists wanting to grow and develop their therapy practice?

You can’t help everyone – so be kind to yourself.

Do the best work you can. Learn more and explore new ideas.

Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things.

Be kind.

Listen more than you talk. Empathise.

7.            What do you consider to be the most important traits for a therapist to have?

Inquisitiveness. Persistence. Patience.

FHT Virtual Conference: Claire Snowdon-Darling

A Q&A with Claire Snowdon-Darling

[Image of Claire Snowdon-Darling]
  1. Tell us a bit of background about yourself…

I got into the complimentary health world when I was looking for solutions to my own health issues. In 2004 I nearly died giving birth to my daughter and the experience left me with PTSD, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome and eventually premature menopause. The solutions offered by the medical model were minimal and I needed to search far and wide to get the answers I needed to manage my conditions. Prior to this career I ran a theatre company for people with learning disabilities which I loved but when I stumbled upon kinesiology, I knew I had to start my own clinic.

2. Are there any challenges you have had to overcome as a therapist? How have you overcome these?

The main challenges I have faced have been around people not knowing what kinesiology is or how fantastic it can be at reducing symptoms and empowering us emotionally. Even if they do know there is still a lot of scepticism around complimentary medicine. I have tackled these issues by focussing not only on research and results but also building bridges with the medical community and looking at the gaps in their offering and how my work fills that gap.

I also struggled with how outdated much of the information we are taught as therapists is. The world and our bodies have changed radically in the past thirty years and a lot of training hasn’t been updated to reflect this. To overcome this, I started a college to ensure practitioners are offered the latest scientific research to support their clients with.

3. What interests you outside of work?

My spare time is usually spent doing a variety of hobbies such as cycling, tennis, badminton and paddle boarding as my partner and I love activities (preferably outdoors) and I have a three-year-old Weimaraner and he needs a lot of snuggles.  I’m also a member of a competitive chorus so I’m usually learning a new song. Other than that there is lots of adventures in the UK and abroad or festivals in my diary!

4. What is your seminar about and what can viewers expect to come away with?

My seminar is about the hormone issues at the root of client’s health problems. Viewers will come away understanding why most issues, even those such as acne, joint problems, fatigue and digestive issues are caused by hormone imbalances and how with some very simple tweaks to our diet and lifestyle we can create radical change. Hormone issues sound mystifying but actually most people are astonished how simple they are to understand and rectify.

5. What is it about your topic that appeals to you and why is it useful for therapists?

Having trained in a variety of different disciplines I wish I had known this information! It really doesn’t matter what therapy you do, this is essential information that people need right now to be as well as they can be! This topic is incredibly holistic because it talks about what “whole health” means on a real and practical level and how important we are in helping our clients achieve their wellbeing goals. It is full of nuggets of information that are real “aha” moments!

6. What would be your one piece of advice for therapists wanting to grow and develop their therapy practice?

Never stop learning! The world changes and science evolves so we need to keep our training up to date.

7. What do you consider to be the most important traits for a therapist to have?

               I truly believe the most important traits are:

  • The ability to change our recommendations when new information or research comes to light, so we stay current.
  • Listening skills and learning the ability to support our clients emotionally. We generally have the luxury of time with our clients which is more than the medical practitioners have. Being able to use that time to empower our clients is essential regardless of what our modality is.
  • Becoming comfortable with either speaking publicly either in person or on a video or writing a good blog. The world needs your knowledge and passion!!
[Image of Claire Snowdon-Darling]

Yoga and Life Balance

Research shows that yoga can help you achieve balance in life.

Sometimes balancing work and play can become overwhelming, and it’s no wonder that many working women feel like they’re not living life to the full. But, it seems that there could be a simple solution…Yoga. In a recent study, published by Cloud Publications, it shows that practicing yoga once a day can lead to a healthy balance of work and home life, from improving productivity at work; relieving daily stresses; helping you sleep better; find time for yourself; and, in turn, give you boosts of energy (Kumari, 2022).

Interested? Read the full research article here.

FHT Virtual Conference 2022: Teresa Heath

A Q&A with Teresa Heath

[Image of Teresa Heath]
  1. Tell us a bit of background about yourself… (Why and how did you get into the industry? What did you do before?)

I spent three years in Australia and Southeast Asia, teaching English. I was very young when I returned (working in the corporate world which was very stressful) and was not healthy. I got ME which completely debilitated me, but led me to the holistic world, firstly Reflexology which I learned (and then started applying lots of different self-care principles including affirmations).  I was then encouraged by others to get my teacher training qualification and started teaching holistic therapies.

2. Are there any challenges you have had to overcome as a therapist? How have you overcome these?

The Academy that I rented was shutting down, so I had to find alternative premises. I had students, which I taught from there, and it was while we were going through the transition of lockdowns that I also started teaching online and virtually, (changing many CPD courses to facilitate that) with videos for the students and regular zoom sessions to ensure they fully understood the teaching.  All the ITEC courses were taught from the new premises and via zoom. Some of the qualifications and the syllabus had changed slightly as well, like putting COVID restrictions in place.  I faced huge challenges and massive changes, but there was never any thought to stop as l had 26 students that were relying on me – who have now done their ITEC exams – which shows you really can achieve anything when you put your mind to it.

3. What interests you outside of work? (How do you normally spend your spare time?)

I enjoy playing tennis. I like dancing with my husband. We will jive or salsa as part of our daily activity!  I also go cycling and/or walking. However, we have just brought a Puppy Vizla, so those hobbies have changed a little.

4. What is your seminar about and what can viewers expect to come away with?

A holistic journey that helps you find healing through the different Chakras.

It’s really difficult trying to feel fulfilment at home and in the outside world.

Its now time to reclaim our power and get back in touch with each Chakra and identify what needs to be shifted, so that you can achieve more contentment in your world.

5. What is it about your topic that appeals to you and why is it useful for therapists?

I want to bring people back to healing their bodies through simple techniques of using chakras, so they’re no longer relying on fear to paralyse them.  It’s about getting back in touch with your chakras and realizing you can move out of your comfort zone confidently.

We will look at three simple steps:

  • How you can heal your chakras and your intuition, no matter what is going on around you and what challenges you face.
  • How you can continue to grow.  It is important never to take life for granted. Trust your chakras to talk to you. You can take  the next step and you can  keep moving forward.
  • Many people have been caring for others, therefore it is important to master ourselves, our relationships and take them to another level. To realize we can go deeper and have fun in the process!

6. What would be your one piece of advice for therapists wanting to grow and develop their therapy practice?

Be Heart Centred in all you do – listen to your Chakras as they will guide you.

7. What do you consider to be the most important traits for a therapist to have?

I see many therapists that have been in a state of fear and stopped looking at what they’re capable of.  Some feel they have limitations.  I want them to open up their hearts and learn to listen and trust their chakras. Also, they will go away with a set of principles to move them out of their comfort zone with love. I believe they are capable of making changes and going in new directions and I shall show them techniques in how they can do that.

[Image showing the chakras of the body]

FHT Virtual Conference: Nicolle Mitchell

A Q&A with Nicolle Mitchell,

Holistic Massage Practitioner and Trainer and Creator of Massaging Persons Living with Dementia CPD course.

[Image of Nicolle Mitchell]

Tell us a bit of background about yourself… (Why and how did you get into the industry? What did you do before?)

I remember in the 90s when I was working in residential care, looking after children and young people, I became increasingly interested in therapy. I was already helping children work through some of their hurt with play therapy and was interested in the healing properties of herbs which I used at home. It was only natural that aromatherapy resonated with me, although it wasn’t until I moved to Cornwall in the late 90s that I qualified and started my own massage and aromatherapy practice.

I blame mum for opening the door for me working with people living with dementia. She worked in accounts in a local nursing home and thought my services would be beneficial for some of the residents there. She put me in touch with the matron & we worked out a plan to visit some of the residents most in need of massage & nurturing touch. So yes, I’d definitely say it was all mum’s fault!

I searched for courses supporting persons living with dementia to inform my practice but found nothing in the complementary health field. I looked for literature and read widely on the subject wanting to support my clients as best I could. I also went on Penny Garners training course which was an inspiring, fun day which gave me confidence in how to start adapting my approach.  I was learning so much on the subject of dementia, that it made sense to bring it all together and develop my own training supported hugely by the FHT. A year after I launched the course now known as “Massaging Persons Living with Dementia” I was awarded the FHT Excellence in Practice Award for Innovation and have received further recognition for my work since.

Sadly, a huge twist of irony meant mum developed dementia at the time I was branching out and starting to facilitate my course. However, everything I learned became increasingly valuable in our relationship and mum was always generous in sharing her knowledge and experience to inform my practice and teaching. She lives with advanced dementia now, but still teaches me, I just have to listen.

Are there any challenges you have had to overcome as a therapist? How have you overcome these?

I think one of the biggest challenges I had to face as a therapist was seeing people who struggled with “usual” communication methods being treated as less than. Often people would talk about a person living with dementia as if they were not in the room, or not include them in the care being given to them. They would often be dismissed as aggressive or “cut-off” and therefore to be avoided or ignored. Not only that but they were often further disabled from creating natural, meaningful, incidental connections by being seated in such a way as to isolate them even more.

This is why consent is such a big deal to me. I feel that if I was losing control of aspects of my ability I would want to be enabled and be given genuine choice about my life decisions. I would want to be included in processes involving me every step of the way.

I realised that part of my role as a therapist was to advocate for vulnerable people. There have been numerous times I have made myself unpopular to the point of losing business when confronting what I have seen as a compromise to a person’s rights or dignity. Learning about the law and how it supports people with reduced or fluctuating mental capacity has been helpful in challenging poor practice and has become a key part of the course I teach. It’s important to keep having conversations about how we enable people to retain agency in their lives when their brains or bodies fail them and to include them in that conversation.

What interests you outside of work? (How do you normally spend your spare time?)

Outside of work I love spending time up our land developing a food forest garden. We are 5 years into our young project and it has been an emotional sanctuary during the pandemic as well as a focus on doing something productive. We hope to grow more food using permaculture principles, “Earth Care, People Care, Fair Share”.

We mix mix layers of fruit trees, shrubs and perennial veg so that in the future we can reap the rewards of our hard work to supplement our diet in a world where food security and food miles is a real concern.

Medicinal herbs and plants with practical uses are also welcome along with the rogue volunteers which nature sends along. Already the biodiversity of the land has increased with a rise in the numbers of moths, such as the cinnabar moth, butterflies, newts, frogs and toads and birds which have been a constant source of joy for me. I’ve been utterly entranced by “charms” of finches which now flurry from the trees and hedges dotted around the field.

Our polytunnel has been a gamechanger too meaning that we have an extended growing season and produced an abundance of salad and greens to share all year round.

What is your seminar about and what can viewers expect to come away with?

I aim for people attending my seminar to come away more confident about asking permission to treat a person lacking capacity, as a lack of confidence may create a barrier to people obtaining such a service. We will explore what may be involved in the process and how to we can look for signs of consent or non-verbal refusal. We will look at the main points of the Mental Capacity Act and the overarching principle to decide whether a person has capacity and what that means in practical terms. I will also give guidance on where to go if you have safeguarding concerns that can’t be addressed solely by yourself.

What is it about your topic that appeals to you and why is it useful for therapists?

When people start to lose capacity for whatever reason, the anguish that is felt as autonomy is lost can be further disabling. The stress that is involved can shut down our brains into survival mode and disable a person yet further.

I see therapy not so much as healing and fixing people, but more as enabling people to heal, process and make choices for themselves. I feel that my role as a holistic therapist is to offer genuine choice and sometimes that includes a role of advocacy.

Often therapists are well placed to observe, challenge and make changes. If we are professional in our practice and approach, if we understand our rights as well as the rights of our clients, we can confidently make a stand for them when needed, challenge things that don’t feel right and know where we can look to for support within the system. We can be part of the positive changes for overall integrative health and social care by acting on our knowledge.

What would be your one piece of advice for therapists wanting to grow and develop their therapy practice?

Nurture something that lights a fire inside you. Your passion will be infectious & you will never tire of learning about it, which will make it easier for you to keep abreast of progress and learning in your field as well as motivate you through the drudge of inevitable admin.

[Image of Nicolle holding hands with a patient]

What do you consider to be the most important traits for a therapist to have?

There are so many qualities a therapist needs, but acceptance of a person and their story is a good place to start, to meet a person where they are in that moment. This alongside appropriate curiousity & empathy are vital too … and don’t worry if all this is new to you or you struggle with these qualities, you simply need to focus on what you need to develop and put your time and energy developing those aspects of yourself much like you would any muscle. Also, we need to be truly present, listening deeply with our ears, eyes, hands and hearts.

Finally, we need to walk our talk. By that I mean attending to our own self-care, self-empathy and self-compassion. We need to look after ourselves so when we offer advice and support it comes from a place of lived-in knowing. I always ask people attending my course if they have therapy themselves and if not, that they are curious with themselves as to why. Their answer may be the difference as to whether someone would consider booking in with them or not, especially for longer term courses of treatment. Clients often ask me, “who does your massage?” and I think they feel reassured that I benefit from a dose of my own medicine.

[Image of Nicolle working on client]

FHT Virtual Conference: Jennifer Young

A Q&A with Jennifer Young

[Image of Jennifer Young with FHT’s Tutor of the Year Award]

Tell us a bit of background about yourself… (Why and how did you get into the industry? What did you do before?)

From a qualification perspective, I have a BSc (Hons) in Biology, postgraduate qualifications in occupational health and law, I am a nutritional therapist, an associate member of the Royal Society of Medicine, a qualified aromatherapist, beauty therapist and product formulator. I have also been accepted by the courts as an expert witness for occupational health cases, and am active in medical research.

My work in therapist training and skincare has, to date, been focussed predominantly on making touch treatments available to anyone being treated for, living with or recovering from cancer.  It began when my local NHS hospital asked me to work with them and create specialist skincare and cosmetics for their patients going through active treatment. That eventually led to the launch of my skincare line, Beauty Despite Cancer, in 2013, designed to ease the effects of cancer treatment on the body.

As a therapist however, I know how impactful touch therapies can be, especially when you are unwell, and historically spas have had to turn cancer patients away because they didn’t have the therapist training to support vulnerable clients, and because the insurance industry wouldn’t provide cover. That’s where Jennifer Young Training began, creating protocols for a globally accepted standard of specialist oncology touch therapy training, which is now available at spas around the world and in the NHS and private hospitals, hospices and charities.

This year, we have taken our knowledge in skincare and hormonal wellness a step further and have launched www.themenopuaseplus.com,  MPlus. It aims to provide practical support for women going through menopause, to change the way we talk about menopause, and also to provide therapists with the training they need to support clients, both physically and emotionally. We have two courses for MPlus, our Hormonal Wellness Mentor and Coach training, and our Hormonal Wellness Spa Treatments, which launched in April.

Are there any challenges you have had to overcome as a therapist? How have you overcome these?

I have always seen it more as there being barriers in the industry, and I have taken it upon myself and my team to change that.

So, when it came to cancer, therapists just weren’t being given the knowledge they needed to tailor treatments to individuals at different stages of the cancer journey – they didn’t know what to expect if someone had a mastectomy or a stoma, and they weren’t taught about how cancer treatments affect the body. Instead they were put in a position of fear because they were taught they would do harm. In addition, the lack of support from the insurance industry made it impossible to treat clients who had cancer, and having to turn people away was upsetting. I knew there was a way to change that.

Now, with MPlus, 90% of women have menopausal symptoms but as many as 40% don’t feel able to talk to their doctor and many who do get a binary response – HRT or no HRT. Lots of people find it easier to talk to their therapists, but therapists are once again not given the training to support their clients, which places a huge emotional burden on them. So we wanted to create training and provide knowledge so therapists can support their clients through this phase – physically and emotionally – whilst also looking after themselves.

What interests you outside of work? (How do you normally spend your spare time?)

My daughters, my husband, my dog, and having a few spa treatments of my own. I love a good facial. I’m a big traveller, these days that seems like another challenge to add to the list.

What is your seminar about and what can viewers expect to come away with?

We will be discussing menopause, the biology, the symptoms and the solutions. I hope I have participants rather than viewers as mine is a live seminar. I enjoy interactive sessions and am happy to be led by the learners. Attendees will leave with a better understanding of menopause and, I hope, will be able to see the positives as well as the often discussed, not so positives.

What is it about your topic that appeals to you and why is it useful for therapists?

I thought that cancer was the last taboo. I was wrong, not only are people more likely to have a conversation about cancer, any conversation about menopause is darker and heavier than any about cancer.

I was shocked when my eyes were opened to this truth and, so, once again, I decided to make change. My new site is called www.TheMenopausePlus,com for a reason. It’s time to balance the conversation for everyone, but particularly for therapists. Therapists can’t help anyone if they remain stuck in a limited, negative narrative.

If we were to be more commercia about the use of the seminar, we could mention that the menopausal spending power equates to £45billion.

What would be your one piece of advice for therapists wanting to grow and develop their therapy practice?

I think it’s really important to keep learning – both formally and informally. So if you work alone, find forums and groups of other therapists to talk to, look for learning opportunities, ask questions and on a formal level look for additional training opportunities that interest you so you can keep topping up your skills.

The knowledge around treatments keeps evolving, so it’s important to stay up to date. That’s particularly true when it comes to treating vulnerable clients like cancer patients because it’s not just learning about touch treatments, it’s also about understanding what medical treatments your clients may have had or be having, knowing how they are evolving, and being able to have a sense, at least on a practical note, of what clients might be facing.

If you have a team of therapists, make sure you’re helping to provide those training opportunities to your team – keep them engaged, help them to feel empowered and safe at work with training that gives them confidence and passion. I also think it’s important to sometimes refresh the basics, especially if you specialise and generally work in one area most of the time.

On another note, I think finding a community of other therapists to communicate with is really important. Therapists have a tough job, it can be physically, mentally and emotionally demanding so having a supportive network of people who understand, and who you can put questions to is really important.

What do you consider to be the most important traits for a therapist to have?

A willingness to keep learning is important both for you and your clients. Almost all therapists I know, especially those who want to learn about oncology touch treatments or supporting vulnerable clients, are extremely empathetic, which I think is an important quality but it’s also all the more important to make sure you have the skills to look after yourself as well when you’re taking all of that on.

FHT Virtual Conference 2022: Jane Ford-Farrand

A Q&A with Jane Ford-Farrand

[Image of Jane Ford-Farrand]

1. Tell us a bit of background about yourself… (Why and how did you get into the industry? What did you do before?)

I’m a singing teacher, choral director, holistic voice coach, sound therapist and therapeutic sound training provider. My background is in classical music and most especially, early music repertoire which I still love to sing – mainly in a small ensemble. My work with voices over many years led to my understanding of the connection between voice use and overall well-being.

2. Are there any challenges you have had to overcome as a therapist? How have you overcome these?

Life is full of challenges! Early on, it was the idea that I was going to have to delve into people’s backgrounds: early childhood, possible trauma and life experiences. This filled me with utter dread! I wasn’t interested in other people’s ‘stuff’! However,  I recognised that this was my path so I had to learn to embrace this aspect of my work.

3. What interests you outside of work? (How do you normally spend your spare time?)

I walk every day, practise the Five Tibetan rites and play tennis and LOADS of golf! I discovered this latter activity during lockdown and have never looked back!

4. What is your seminar about and what can viewers expect to come away with?

My seminar is concerned with encouraging people to sing – whether they want to or not! Simply because it is a fundamental feature of being a human being and therefore we are not fully complete if we don’t use the singing voice. What would we think if the birds stopped singing??

5. What is it about your topic that appeals to you and why is it useful for therapists?

This topic is really the cornerstone of my professional – and personal – life. As an holistic therapist, I’m interested in the whole person and the voice is the single most obvious (yet intensely personal) aspect of self. Often, being told that we can’t sing is a message which we carry throughout life and can have devastating effects upon self-esteem, resulting in a whole host of issues – physical, mental and emotional. This notion applies to the whole human race, therapists sincluded!

6. What would be your one piece of advice for therapists wanting to grow and develop their therapy practice?

My advice for therapists is to maintain integrity – at all times. In the long run, this will pay dividends.

7. What do you consider to be the most important traits for a therapist to have?

I think my answer to this question is as the previous response. Integrity – that’s the key.

FHT Virtual Conference 2022: Ana Bott

A Q&A with Ana Bott

  1. Tell us a bit of background about yourself… (Why and how did you get into the industry? What did you do before?)

I’m Ana, my pronouns are she/her/they/them and I’m an advanced clinical massage therapist specialising in working with Transgender patients.  I came to massage following a previous career in sexual trauma.  Whilst my two careers can often seem worlds apart, in reality they are remarkably similar.  Working with people with such acute trauma rooted in touch taught me about the devastating impact of trauma on the body and its musculoskeletal systems, and most importantly, how to create safe spaces for that to be held.  As I neared the end of my time in that field, I knew in depth how much trauma exists in our world and the role it plays in our pain patterns. Looking around me in the LGBTQ+ community, I saw in my Transgender friends the tell tale signs of bodies loaded heavily into the sympathetic nervous system and locked into fight or flight.  This was mirrored in their health trajectories, of which in nearly every area; cardiovascular, blood, cancer, sexual, mental, addiction etc, Transgender people experience higher than average rates.  They are also the only demographic to experience the pathology of Gender Dysphoria.  There was a clear connection between experiences of Transgender trauma and their pathologies and subsequent pain levels. The moment I started talking about it and training in massage I knew I was on to something.  By the time I graduated I had a month long waiting list of Transgender patients who wanted to see me regularly and my clinic was born.  I have never looked back.

  1. Are there any challenges you have had to overcome as a therapist? How have you overcome these?

When I first started to talk about making massage inclusive for Transgender people and understanding the health issues prevalent to that community, there were a few raised eyebrows.  Not everyone got it.  But the idea stuck and the community embraced it, offering up their bodies both to receive treatment and to allow me to write about them for seminars and textbooks so that others could learn too.  Seeing first hand  how massage could be used to support Transgender patients to experience not just less pain but to be held whilst going through hormone treatments and surgeries spurred me on.  My clients reported drops in Gender Dysphoria symptoms, less pain patterns and feeling connected to their body again.  Where there was hate, we replaced it with love and that’s how it was overcome.  Love and the power of oxytocin, literally lead the way.

  1. What interests you outside of work? (How do you normally spend your spare time?)

Trying very hard to stop working!  My work with Transgender people and their pathologies is really central to my life but I try to carve out time for gardening, reading and drawing.

  1. What is your seminar about and what can viewers expect to come away with?

I have two seminars.  The first is an introduction for those who are just starting to consider how to make spaces more inclusive for Transgender patients and tackles 5 really simple adaptations we can make which can have a big impact.  The second is a more clinical look at the health trajectories and prevalent pathologies of the Transgender community and how our work as bodyworkers could be instrumental in changing this trajectory so that they can live happier, longer lives.   Did you know Transfeminine patients on hormones are more likely to develop bloodclots?  Did you know a Transmasculine patient on Testosterone will run at a higher temperature and may require a cooler room to be comfortable? Did you know fibromyalgia is one of the number one complications of genital gender affirming surgeries?  Come to my seminar and find out how as bodyworkers can meet this need.

5.            What is it about your topic that appeals to you and why is it useful for therapists?

A recent study into the poor health trajectories of Transgender people found that the biggest contributing factor was lack of clinical awareness amongst health care professionals as to the health issues Transgender people face.  It is tragic to think that so many Transgender people live with chronic pain and low life expectancy not because of their health issues but because of lack of awareness.  But in this is hope!  We can fix a lack of training and awareness so easily.  I’m passionate about this topic because we could literally change the physical and mental health trajectories of this community simply by training professionals to be able to work inclusively. I think that’s an amazing thing. Imagine if this generation did that!    

6.            What would be your one piece of advice for therapists wanting to grow and develop their therapy practice?

I’d say lean into your own biopsychosocial markers and consider what you can bring to the table.  If you don’t see yourself reflected in the textbooks you are given, then the health issues of your community isn’t either and change is required.   Be completely fearless in your pursuit of that change.

7.            What do you consider to be the most important traits for a therapist to have?

There’s a Zen proverb: “it takes a long time to know nothing.”  We can read all the textbooks, attend all the seminars and gain all the qualifications but we must always be ready to be pulled up short and know nothing. That’s when we make discoveries and make big changes.  Always be ready that the next patient that comes through that door is the patient who will blow everything out the water and get you learning.  Always be ready to meet that person as an individual and give them care as an individual.