FHT Professional Development Conference:

Q&A questions Karen Gilbert from Fragrant Alchemy

[Image of Karen Gilbert]

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

I fell into the industry by accident back in 1990 when I got a temp job on the promotions team for the Shiseido launch in the UK. I decided to train as a make up artist at The London College of Fashion but realised that I actually preferred the behind the scenes formulating in the lab. My tutor got me work placement at a large fragrance manufacturer (IFF) and it opened up a whole new world of fragrance that I didn’t know existed. I’d always been interested in essential oils for wellbeing and aromatherapy but it wasn’t until I started working full time for that same company that I learned about the sense of smell and how powerful it is as a tool for wellbeing. I then went on to work in product development and training for Neal’s Yard Remedies before leaving in 2004 to start my own business.

2. Are there any challenges you have had to overcome since joining the skincare and perfumery industry? How have you overcome these?

Totally! One of the most common myths is that you can’t make perfume unless you have been industry trained or been handpicked by one of the elite perfumery schools. One of my aims in my business is to show people that they can create a successful artisan perfumery business without training for 10 years in France.

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

As a Londoner all my life I never dreamed I would move to the country, but in 2016 I upped sticks and moved to The New Forest. Being surrounded by nature every day has been so good for me and outside of work (which I honestly don’t think of as work really) I am generally to be found hanging out amongst the trees or tinkering in my perfumery studio.

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

When we think of scent in wellness products, we automatically think of essential oils and their aromatherapeutic benefits. Whilst the active components of natural aromatic materials play their part, we often overlook the psychological benefits of scent and how it ties into both wellbeing and creates a powerful connection between the client/customer and your product or service. In this seminar I’ll share some fragrance industry secrets as well as the science behind creating scents that make your customers feel good and keep them buying your products and services.

5. What is it about your topic that appeals to you and why is it useful for people entering the industry?
Smell is one of the most powerful tools we can use to bypass our cognitive thought process and link us straight to a memory of a time we felt good. ​It is more powerful and immediate than anything I have ever experienced before. ​I learned about aromatherapy when I was quite young and always blended my own scents to make me feel better. When I fell into the fragrance industry by accident, I discovered that there was real science behind it.​
There is so much research that goes into the development of fragrance, beauty and wellness products. This research is used in the development of fragrances for both products and environments in retail stores, hotels, spas, and restaurants. Understanding this is essential if you are thinking of selling or using scent in any way in your business.

6. What would be your one piece of advice for individuals wanting to start their own perfume business?

Start small, and don’t think you need to produce a whole product line before you start selling your products. Get some training so you know what you are doing especially around the safety aspects of selling cosmetics and start by creating bespoke one-off scents for individual clients. This will be easier on the purse strings and help you to test your ideas and get more confident before manufacturing 100’s of bottles to pitch to retailers.

7. What do you consider to be the most important traits for an individual to have when starting their own business?

A solid work ethic and resilience. Running your own business is rewarding but can be tough if you are the sort of person who gives up easily or is sensitive to criticism. Don’t expect to be an overnight success and don’t compare your year one to someone else’s year 5 in business.


FHT Professional Development Conference 2022: Clare Riddell

Q&A with Clare Riddell

[Image of Clare Riddell]

Q&A questions

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

I studied a sport Science degree at Loughborough University in 1994, then trained as a PE and Maths teacher.  This taught me that i didn’t want to teach kids Maths!  I have always had a keen interest in sport and competed to a high level in athletics, martial arts and rugby.  I had never experienced massage before until a teaching colleague of mine offered free massage as part of their body massage case studies.  This was a life changing moment and a profession i had never considered before.  I immediately looked for a sports massage course and trained in 1998.  Since then i have worked as a mobile therapist for many years until i opened my own clinic in Arnold, Nottingham and now have a client base of over 500. I have also used my teaching qualification to start my own training company and run a variety of full VTCT courses from L3 to L5 sports massage and over 25 1-day CPD courses.

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

The biggest challenge to begin with was getting a strong client base that would pay my mortgage.  Going self-employed for the first time took courage but also self-confidence.  The biggest and best advertisement for your business is word-of-mouth and client reviews.  This takes time but if every person tells one other person about their positive experience, your client base will grow quickly.   Everyone knows someone with a bad back!

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

I am a keen runner and have completed many half marathons. There’s nothing better than an early morning run before the rest of the world are awake and enjoying the fresh air.  Recently i have got my handicap in golf and enjoy playing socially.  Being self-employed means i can be flexible with my own time and if i teach at the weekend, i make sure to take a weekday off to experience a cheaper and less busy golf course.  I love going on holiday and have been exploring the UK more since lockdown, but am looking forward to worldwide travels again from next year.

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

The seminar is on foot and ankle anatomy.   It teaches how to palpate bony landmarks, tendons, ligaments and muscles and includes some special tests for dysfunction.  It also shows how to identify if flat feet (pes planus) are structural or functional

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

The foot is one of most important parts of the body as this is the link between the environment and the client.  Many body issues are caused by poor foot biomechanics which can cause dysfunction through fascial lines.  A previous client of mine had shoulder pain for months, but once he had his verrucae treated, his pain went away!

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

Never do the same treatment and become complacent.  Every person that walks through your door is unique and you need to adapt your techniques, pressure, body areas and advice to suit.  You need to keep up-to-date with new methods and research and keep learning.  The more you know, the more you realise you don’t know!

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

You need to listen to your client and ask questions to bring out the information they forget to tell you.  It doesn’t matter how good your treatment is, they need to feel comfortable with you and at ease.  Problem solving is such an important skill for a sports massage therapist.  Combine your questioning, listening, communication and analytical skills to design the best treatment for your client – where the pain is, the problem isn’t!

[Image of Clare massaging client with elbow]

FHT Professional Development Conference: Lisa Pollitt

A Q&A with Lisa Pollitt

[Image of Lisa Pollitt]

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

Hello, I’m Lisa, I live with my wonderful partner in Stockport and I have 1 amazing son who is now 30, where has time gone!  I am also known as Nana to 2 beautiful little girls (soon to be 3) through my partner’s family.

Growing up I always wanted to work in the film and theatre industry but it was my Father who told me to ‘learn to do a proper job’ and because of that I had always worked in an office since the day I left school, apart from taking 2 years out to run my own pub but when the smoking ban came into play (not that I am a smoker but 95% of my customers were) it literally nosedived overnight because back then no one wanted to stand out in the rain for a smoke.  At that point I made the decision to go back to work in an office.  I have worked for several different types of industries, from those who made mattresses not only for everyone in general but also for hospitals and not just your standard hospital mattresses but also pressure care mattresses to help those who were long term patients to help stop the development of pressure sores.  I have worked in the sports nutrition industry and worked for a company who shipped radioactive goods worldwide.

In 2013, my Father passed away after suffering for quite a while with asbestosis amongst other things and as I sat there one night contemplating life if you like, I decided I was going to go back to college to learn something new.  I’d worked in an office all my adult life and wanted to learn to do something different.  That something different led me on to the path that I am on now.

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

I started my ‘therapist’ journey back in 2013 and had spent 5 years training in different therapies.  Even though I could have worked in this industry earlier it was only in 2018 after my Mum passed away and after I’d completed my Reiki Masters that I got this little voice in my head telling me that now was the time to take the next step and go and do what I enjoyed doing. 

It was such a huge jump moving from everything I had known, stepping out of my comfort zone, to setting up running my own therapy business.  Where would I start?  How would I get clients?  Where would I work from?  There were a lot of hours spent getting everything in place, from finding the right venue to creating my website and I’ve hit a fair few obstacles since I took that leap of faith.

I started off in a small room which was part of a large rehabilitation gym.  It was a good starting point for myself because it was cheap but in winter, oh my word it was freezing.  I used to have to go in about 2 hours before an appointment just to warm the room up.  I only spent 6 months there before finding another room which was in the back of a barber’s shop.  He had the front of the shop, and I had the back.  All was going well till he decided to shut up shop.  Then I had the worry of what I was going to do then.  I had 3 weeks in order to find something else otherwise I’d have either had to give up or put everything in to storage.

Then I believe someone was looking down on me because I’d rang somewhere I’d been told about which I knew wasn’t the right place really because it was another room in a shared building and not in the right place.  I was told by the receptionist that the owner would ring me back that night to talk to me about it.  That afternoon, I lost my voice.  I was literally squeaking by tea time.  The chap rang and my partner had to tell him I’d ring him back.  The next day I woke up and I didn’t even have a squeak.  I tried to talk but nothing came out.  Absolutely nothing!

Then I received a phone call off the chap who, I later found out, was to take over the shop I was in.  I let it go to voicemail because I couldn’t talk.  He left a message and I text back explaining I’d lost my voice.  He rang back again and because I knew he knew I’d lost my voice I answered the phone anyway and he basically said ‘I know you can’t talk so just listen.  I’m moving out of a shop into your shop and where I’m moving out of I believe would be just perfect for you.  The rest is history.

I moved in where I am now in January 2020.  Then god forbid, Covid struck!!!

All sorts of things were running around in my head but I had a plan and this was something that I believe my parents and grandparents were watching over me and pushing me to make that jump because it is one that changed my life for the better.

Believe in yourself!

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

I love spending time with my family and my partners family.  I am Nana to 2 amazing little girls (the 3rd little one is due in May) and love spending time with them. 

I love reading and have just finished reading a little gem of a book with all interesting facts all about Manchester.

I love the countryside being a ‘country bumkin’ as my Nan used to call us all and I have also recently found a new found interest in golf.  Something I never thought I would but in looking for a birthday present for my partner (who does play golf regularly) I saw an advert for golf lessons and went along to one.  I was totally amazed, absolutely gobsmacked that I actually hit the ball and basically I was hooked.  I now try to play 3 times a week when I can, weather permitting……I’m a fair weather golfer.  I can’t be doing with rain, cold and mud!

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

An introduction to Reiki and how I got into it and how it has led me to what I am doing today.  I hope that this little introduction to Reiki will give you a little bit more of an insight to what it is all about and even if you’ve never tried it before, that you will at least try 1 session to see what it can do for you.

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

I just think that Reiki is an amazing therapy that can help everyone with whatever they are going through whether it be stressful or suffering with pain threshold i.e. headaches working alongside conventional medicine to help those who are suffering with the side effects of that medicine. 

I used to be a person who would get stressed about most things and suffered majorly with headaches and migraines etc….  I think I took after my Mother in that way.  But now, because of the ability of knowing how to channel the Reiki energy and being able to do my self-healing on a regular basis, I very rarely get stressed and headaches and more so, migraines, for me, are virtually non-existent. 

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

Be specific about what it is that you want to do.  Be positive about yourself and your business.  As much as you love doing what it is you are doing, it is a business at the end of the day, not a hobby, even if it started out as that.

Know that relationships with clients can take time and never judge the client. Relationships take time to build. Your first few sessions may be fairly surface-oriented, built on small talk and only occasional disclosures. Your investment in these early interactions is an investment in the trust that will ultimately help a client open up.

Although focusing on getting new clients and growing your client base is an excellent way to start but one important thing when in business is also about having returning clients who come back to you time and time again is just as critical as getting new clients. But it’s also important to know what the average new client is worth to your private therapy practice in terms of how much they spend on a session, how many sessions will they need over a specific time and how long they’ll need treatment.  One of the number one ways to grow your private therapy practice is referrals for new patients. In fact, they are the engine that runs any successful private practice. Depending on your practice and specialization, the best referral sources for therapists can come from clients who have been to you for a treatment, fellow therapists and professionals who refer others to you.

For anyone who has referred someone to me for the first time, I will personally give a little thank you to the person who has done the referral as a way of thank you for the recommendation.

It takes a long time to build a successful private therapy practice, and it can be slow to start. Unless you have a large enough cash reserve to keep you afloat, it’s smart to start with a part-time private practice, just as I did then you are able to build momentum as a side hustle while keeping your main form of income until you have enough clients to fully go out on your own.

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

There are several things that I consider to be important when thinking about becoming a therapist.

First and foremost, you must have a love of wanting to help others.  A good therapist can empathize with a wide variety of people, understanding their choices and feelings even if, as a therapist, you do not agree with them. You will need to be emotionally attuned to individuals’ needs and will also have to be able to help them whether it’s help to relieve a back pain with a massage, or have them leaving the therapy room feeling a million dollars after a facial, or have them leaving feeling stress free and ready to face the say after a Reiki session.  If a therapist doesn’t enjoy helping others they [the client] will sense it and may find it difficult to relax.  They have to have trust in you and a good therapist will help them to feel comfortable as soon as they arrive. 

Being a therapist is also all about listening and understanding what it is that your client needs and having a love for helping them achieve what it is they want.  You will find that no matter what therapy field you work in, your client will often see you as their agony aunt and want to use your shoulder to cry on and bend your ear from time to time.  What is the absolute first and foremost the most important rule is that your client can be assured of confidentiality.  I have had clients come to me because they found out that their previous therapist had been gossiping about them with other clients.  Each and every client who comes to me knows that they can trust me and that privacy and confidentiality is assured at all times within the framework of the law.  The last thing your client wants to hear is you gossiping about other clients or therapists in a negative way.

FHT Professional Development Conference 2022: Susanna Terry

A Q&A with Susanna Terry

[Image of Susanna Terry by Massage bed]
  1. Tell us a bit of background about yourself… (Why and how did you get into the industry? What did you do before?

As I was growing up I would see people suffering from physical or emotional/mental complaints offered conventional treatments which were invasive and often had side-effects and unsatisfactory outcomes.

At that time, I intuitively felt that there must be some natural and gentler treatments to address ill-health. Initially I studied spiritual healing.

Later on, I decided to study Homeopathy. I found that this complementary approach to addressing a person’s physical, emotional and mental constitution as one totality was in tune with the holistic approach I was seeking.

I was especially drawn to methods that both individualised the person’s treatment and which had no side effects. Some years later I was invited to a homeopathic conference to present the case of a 9-year-old girl. She had developed a severe form of chorea and her doctors had given up hope of being able to help her. She received homeopathic treatment and within three months she had fully recovered.

It was while I was studying homeopathy that I was invited to attend a ‘Light Touch’ therapy course. The course was run by an osteopath, a lady who believed that it was this treatment that helped her recover from multiple sclerosis. When I attended the course, I was impressed with the precision that could be achieved by the assessment of a person’s bodily misalignment at a plumbline. This approach was used to enable the practitioner to exactly ‘customise’ the treatment to the person’s particular needs.

When I graduated as a Painless Spinal Touch practitioner I started combining the treatment with homeopathic consultations. I then discovered that there were occasions when a Painless Spinal Touch treatment would address the problem more effectively than a homeopathic remedy.

My ‘light touch’ treatments became very popular as clients would refer family and friends to me. Quite often I would help people who had tried all sorts of therapies before to no avail. After my osteopath teacher passed away due to an accident, I was asked to take on the teaching of this gentle yet powerful light touch treatment and travelled to the USA to train as a Spinal Touch instructor with the late Dr.Rosquist, a chiropractor and the developer of the Spinal Touch treatment.

I’ve now been running Painless Spinal Touch courses face-to-face in Devon for just short of twenty five years. I have also developed an online study course for people who are too far away to join courses in person.

Having taught the therapy to more than 200 holistic therapists and chiropractors, I have seen practitioners build thriving practices offering this light yet dynamic treatment to their clients.

I love helping holistic therapists build busy practices with Light Touch therapies, enabling them to work less and yet achieve better results.

I have also developed another course called Bio-Stress Release which complements Painless Spinal Touch and other holistic therapies beautifully. The response of clients to the Light Touch treatments is that they are’ magic’ as they eliminate pain almost instantly.

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

I love dancing, swimming, walking and reading.

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

My seminar covers research on ‘Light Touch’ from scientists and practitioners. It also discusses the therapeutic impact of light touch when it is accompanied by the application of particular fulcrums.

Viewers will come away with a clearer idea of the physiological cause of musculoskeletal problems and discomfort. At the same time they’ll discover how a specific kind of touch during treatment can gently yet effectively remedy such complaints.

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

What appeals to me about Light Touch therapy is that there is actually a physiological and scientific basis for effective non-force treatment. As a holistic body treatment that is very closely adapted to the needs of the individual, it addresses complaints such as backache and most musculoskeletal problems but it also helps restore general health and vitality. It can also be helpful for people suffering from more serious health challenges such as MS, rheumatoid arthritis, and more.

As to why it is useful to therapists I would give you an example of one of the graduates of my courses. She is an acupuncturist and she sent me a message telling me: “Now, I first give my clients this Light Touch treatment – in particular to those who are afraid of needles. Then instead of using ten acupuncture needles as I did before I only need to use one.”

The reason for this is that during the treatment we are, in effect, working on the body’s meridians but without the use of needles.

A couple of Spinal Touch therapists who graduated from my course and then moved to Australia sent me an email saying: “We are now treating more than 90 clients a week just giving this light-touch treatment and a bit of massage”

The reason that therapists are able to treat so many people is that the treatment does not place any strain on the practitioner while at the same time is very relaxing for the client.

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

I would suggest that, in order to avoid burnout, they find a treatment that is not demanding on them as a therapist. At the same time, they need to offer a treatment that consistently brings therapeutic results.

Clear therapeutic outcomes will produce happy clients. Enthusiastic clients will refer family and friends to their therapist and help them grow their practice fast.

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

I think intuition is a very important trait for a therapist to have. Each client who comes to see us for help is on their own journey and they need us to create the space for them to facilitate their own healing. The therapies we practice are the channel that enables this healing. Our intuition will guide us into tuning to our client’s particular healing needs. A treatment that helps not only the client’s postural realignment but also their energy field is the one that will produce sound therapeutic results and lead to a busy and ‘magical’ practice.

FHT Professional Development Conference 2022: Amanda Oswald

Fascial Connections in the Pelvis with Amanda Oswald

[Image of Amanda Oswald]

About 10% of adults, men and women, develop chronic pelvic pain. It’s a difficult and sometimes embarrassing condition for many people as the symptoms can include rectal, genital or abdominal discomfort or pain; pain that gets worse with sitting or after sexual activity; and urinary frequency, urgency and hesitancy.

Because chronic pelvic pain is such a sensitive subject, people often take a long time to seek help. Common medical diagnoses for the symptoms include urinary tract infections (UTIs), non-bacterial prostatitis for men, and vaginismus or vulvodynia for women. Treatment typically starts with strong antibiotics, followed by rehabilitation exercises such as kegels to strengthen the pelvic floor.

If you think of the pelvis as a cereal bowl, the pelvic floor forms the bottom and supports the pelvic organs – the bladder, bowel, prostate in men, and uterus in women. The urethra (from the bladder), vagina and rectum all pass through the pelvic floor which has a role in managing flow out of the body. The pelvic floor muscles also have a role in posture supporting your back to keep you upright and providing muscular stability when you move, hence their other name as the core muscles.

However, the pelvic floor does not work in isolation. Due to its central location it is intimately connected with the fascia of the whole body at many different levels from the skin to deep inside the body. If you imagine a cross section of the pelvis, the pelvic fascia wraps all the way round from the front to back creating several continuous layers of support, a bit like a girdle. This fascial wrapping is not just limited to the pelvic floor, but encompasses the abdominal wall, groin, bones and muscles of the pelvis and spine, internal organs, and extends to the muscles of the hips, back and thighs.

When working normally the pelvic fascia is mobile and balanced providing support and free body movement. If there are any changes to fascial function, however, this will affect not only the affected area but potentially also any other areas connected through the pelvic floor.

As an example, abdominal surgery to remove an infected appendix creates scar tissue which changes the function and tension of the abdominal muscles and fascia. Similarly, high intensity exercise such as long-distance cycling creates sustained pressure on the fascia of the pelvic floor while overworking the muscles of the buttocks and legs.

Either of these situations will create fascial restrictions that thicken over time until their altered tension affects sensitive structures such as the genitals, or organs such as the bladder.

As the pelvic floor is the conduit for internal pelvic tension, changes such as these can cause the pelvic floor muscles to go into a state of cramp which adds to the pain felt and stops effective function. This can lead to problems such as sexual dysfunction or urinary issues as the “tubes” that pass through the pelvic floor are no longer supported but instead held in spasm.

This fascial understanding of the pelvis differs from the commonly held medical belief that chronic pelvic pain is due to weak pelvic floor muscles. Instead, it is more likely that the problem is over-contracted pelvic floor muscles that need to be loosened, not strengthened.

It is also important to recognise that many pelvic pain symptoms come from imbalance or restrictions elsewhere in the body. This helps to explain why many diagnoses of pelvic pain conditions, such as non-bacterial prostatitis, are not correct as the symptoms are due to fascial restrictions not a problem with the prostate. It also explains why many people are told that there is no cure and they will just have to live with their symptoms when they fail to respond to standard medical treatments.

When you think from a fascial perspective, using myofascial self-care exercises to release restrictions in other areas such as the abdomen, buttocks, back and thighs, can be very effective in helping to alleviate symptoms. Regular exercises can gradually help to release restrictions that are causing the problem and return the pelvis to more normal pain-free balance.

In our video we go through some simple self-help myofascial exercises that you can try for yourself and/or share with your clients.

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.


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.