MND Association needs complementary therapists

The Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association is on the look-out for trained therapists to volunteer at high profile events this year.

runners marathon

Every year, high numbers of the public raise money in support of those with MND, including at the London Marathon in April and Prudential Ride London in July.

The MND Association is in need of volunteer therapists to help their fundraisers with massages and treatments following their activities.

Therapists must:

  • Be a full FHT Member or Fellow
  • Hold valid insurance
  • Be qualified to Level 3 in any massage modality
  • Provide their own equipment

In return, the MND are willing to pay £50 expenses and supply you with a branded T-shirt to wear on the day.

If you would like to give your time and help out those raising money for a great cause, please contact Stephanie

If you get involved please let us know – it would be great to feature you in International Therapist! Email Dan, our Deputy Editor, at


Volunteer therapist needed to help homeless people this Christmas

National homelessness charity Crisis is calling on FHT members to provide complementary therapies for homeless people at its temporary centres this Christmas.

Crisis at Christmas 2015

Crisis at Christmas 2016 runs from 23 – 30 December, with centres set to open across London, Birmingham, Newcastle, Coventry and Edinburgh. As well as warmth, companionship and hot meals, guests will receive healthcare and specialist advice on housing, work and benefits.

The massage and natural healing services provided by volunteers are hugely valued by guests, giving them access to treatment they may otherwise miss out on during the rest of the year.

If you practice traditional massage, shiatsu, reflexology, Indian head massage or aromatherapy please sign up as a Massage Volunteer when applying. Massage Volunteers will work as part of a mobile service based at Link Rough Sleepers Centre, with transport provided to and from the other centres in London.

If you practice natural healing, reiki or cranio-sacral therapy, please sign up to be a Natural Healer Volunteer.

Crisis at Christmas centres are run by thousands of volunteers from all walks of life with registration now open at

Homelessness has increased markedly in recent years, with rough sleeping more than doubling since 2010, rising by 30% in the last year alone.

Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: “Christmas can be an extremely isolating time for those without a home to call their own. Many of us can take for granted the companionship and shelter we enjoy at Christmas, yet one in four homeless people spends the festive period alone. This year, the number of rough sleepers in England has continued to rise at an alarming rate, and across the UK tens of thousands of people do not have a proper place to call home. Unfortunately, Crisis at Christmas is as important as ever this year.

“It is only through the generosity of thousands of volunteers that help make Crisis at Christmas happen for homeless people. Volunteers can not only bring some much-needed cheer to our guests but also encourage them to take up the life-changing opportunities on offer all year round at our centres across the country.”

FHT Members – we know that many of you have been kind enough to support Crisis in previous years. Please let the FHT know if you support Crisis this Christmas, as we’d welcome a short write-up for International Therapist.

Support MND Association at the London Marathon

Calling all qualified Body/Sports Massage FHT members. Last minute space on therapy team supporting MND Association at the London Marathon – can you help?

Calling all qualified Body/Sports Massage FHT members. Last minute space on therapy team supporting MND Association at the London Marathon – can you help?

Date: Sunday 24 April, 2016

Venue: Regus Building, 1 Northumberland Avenue, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5BW


11.15am on-site briefing
12.00pm lunch
13.00-13.30pm (approx) first few runners could start coming through (there are some very speedy ones in the team)
14.00-16.00pm busiest times
16.00-17.30pm (approx) late runners and closing

Treatments: Ideally, approx 20 minutes per runner. Primarily leg massages.

Expenses: You will be reimbursed £50 for your travel expenses.

Events crew t-shirts: You will be provided with an MND Events Crew t-shirt to wear on the day.

For more information and to take part please contact Trudi Sadler, Events Manager, Motor Neurone Disease Association: T. 01604611834 E.

Hayley McQueen backs £1.5m fund to create new grassroots football teams for underrepresented groups

Football Foundation Ambassador and Sky Sports News anchor, Hayley McQueen, has announced that £1.5m of funding, designed specifically for grassroots clubs to start new teams and qualify more coaches to cater for under-represented groups, is set to open for applications.

Belper Leisure Centre

The Grow the Game scheme is designed to increase participation in our national game by helping clubs with the costs associated with creating new teams, which will give opportunities to those who have limited options to join a team.

Funded by the Premier League and The FA, Grow the Game is delivered by the Football Foundation, the nation’s largest sports charity.

The fund will boost playing opportunities for three specific sections of society for whom the opportunities to play football have always been traditionally limited. These are:

  • women and girls;
  • disabled players;
  • and male teams of Under-14s-and-upwards.

Applications are only being accepted for teams within these target groups providing they meet the basic eligibility criteria.

£1,500 is available for each new team that a club creates with the grants, the amount is aimed at covering the costs incurred for league entry, referees’ fees, first aid kits, FA coaching courses, football strips and more.

The application window for Grow the Game applications will open on Monday 1 February 2016 and close on Thursday 10 March 2016. Clubs seeking more information on Grow the Game should contact their local County FA or visit

Funding for underrepresented groups2

Hayley is urging clubs to take advantage of this funding to create new football teams. She said: ‘The Grow the Game scheme is an excellent chance for grassroots clubs to expand and get coaches qualified. I think getting more people playing sport is very important so to give football teams the resources to do this is fantastic to see.

‘The Football Foundation’s partnership with the Premier League and The FA in delivering the Grow the Game scheme has had incredible results since it began in 2010, last year’s window alone saw nearly 2,000 new teams created.

‘The application window opens on Monday 1 February, and any clubs who believe they match the criteria to apply, should visit, or speak to their local County FA, to find out more information.’

As well as delivering Grow the Game, the Football Foundation delivers the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund on behalf of the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England. Since 2000, the Foundation has supported over 14,000 grassroots projects worth more than £1.3bn.

Together at the table for healthy hearts and households

Research shows that there are many health benefits for families that regularly share meal times. Sadly however, this once traditional habit of eating together around the table appears to be falling out of favour.

Happy family having lunch together

Heart Research UK, in partnership with has launched a new campaign encouraging households to eat together at the table and put the family’s dinner time at the heart of the home in a bid for healthier hearts.

According to research, whether it’s every night or just a few times a week, eating Together at the Table is an excellent way to bring families together and promote healthier eating habits in a supportive and sociable setting.

6 reasons to eat Together at the Table:

Controls portions and waistlines

Turning off distractions like the TV, phones and tablets while eating at the table could help you to focus on what, how much and how quickly you eat. Mindful eating is a great way to tune in to your body’s natural fullness cues preventing you from over-eating and reducing the temptation to over-eat, which could help to control your waistline.

Control what’s on offer

Ditch the ‘TV dinner’ – ready meals and takeaways are often high in fat, salt and sugar which can have a negative effect on heart health. A more structured mealtime routine around the table could give you the incentive to make that extra effort to prepare delicious healthy meals from scratch.

Lead by example

Set a good example to children by sharing the same healthy meal together at the table, including a variety of different vegetables. Children copy the behaviours of those around them and evidence suggests that children who eat with their families are more likely to eat their vegetables. Remember, it can take up to ten tries for children to accept new foods, so keep exploring new and innovative ways to increase the veggie content of family meals.

Develop skills for life

Make mealtimes a family affair and give everyone a role from the food shopping and preparation, to stirring and laying the table, setting them up with positive skills for life. Working together will instil a sense of pride and make cooking and eating as a family enjoyable rather than a chore.

Nurture happy minds

Turn off distractions and let the conversations flow around the table as you enjoy meal times together. Sharing your day, worries and aspirations with those around you creates a supportive and nurturing environment boosting social skills, intellect, self-esteem and ability to manage stress.

Adopt healthier behaviours

Sharing mealtimes as a household will help to build a healthy relationship with food and could make teens less likely to fall into risky habits like smoking, alcohol and substance abuse or develop eating disorders. Use the household’s change towards healthier lifestyles to exploit other opportunities to embed change such as putting out jugs of water on the table, using smaller plates, experimenting with new flavours, textures and ways of cooking or simply enjoying the ambience of the shared experience.

For the sake of you and your family’s future health and well-being, make a pledge today to share more mealtimes together at the table– you’ve got so little to lose and so much to gain because happy minds lead to happy hearts.

Heart Research UK and have lots of ideas to help you make a healthy start for 2016 and make eating Together at the Table a habit for life. To read more about the campaign or to find out how you could make the change go to:


FHT Fellow supports victims of the Japanese tsunami

When FHT Fellow and Accredited Training Provider, Mary Atkinson, received her 2015 FHT Excellence in Leadership Award she asked to be photographed with red felt hearts as a sign of respect and support for the victims of the Japanese tsunami in 2011.

Mary Atkinson - Cocoro

The award was given in recognition of Mary’s work with a Japanese charity, Cocoro, founded by Japanese aromatherapist, Takiko Ando, in 2011 to provide aromatherapy and positive touch activities for adults and children in the devastated area. Cocoro means mind/heart in Japanese and the charity works hard to provide for the changing needs of local people in terms of emotional and mental health and well-being. In 2012, Mary was invited to Japan by Takiko Ando and the experience of sharing holistic therapies with the victims of the tsunami left such an impact on her that she is now the UK Representative of the charity.

“The red heart is a symbol that we are thinking of those people who are still coming to terms with the destruction and loss of their families and homes,” says Mary, “We have started a Heartfelt Project inviting people to send photographs holding a red felt heart. It is a simple idea but it means so much to the local people to know they are not forgotten by the rest of the world. One of the Cocoro team put together this beautiful book of Heartfelt photos from around the world to give to the local people.”

As UK Representative for the past four years, Mary has travelled around the country, giving talks and sharing her experiences and the valuable lessons she has learnt as a therapist and Story Massage Instructor working with trauma. This work has resulted in a team of more than 100 Cocoro UK supporters, many of whom are FHT members, who actively use their therapy skills to run awareness and fundraising events for the charity. Indeed, many FHT Local Support Groups are featured in the book (picture above).

Mary runs FHT accredited courses in Indian Head Massage and Story Massage, both of which she found beneficial during her visit to the tsunami destroyed area. Indeed, the popular Story Massage book and training course that Mary now runs alongside fellow therapist, Sandra Hooper, was founded as a result of the therapeutic impact of combining story telling and simple massage strokes on the children in Japan. Read more about Story Massage at

Cocoro 2015The Cocoro team of therapists visited the tsunami area again this month. During a four-day visit, they worked closely with local people to provide relaxing activities for both adults and children. They also organised two workshops to train the local Aroma Care Workers and Child Care Workers in new skills to share with the community. Read an update by Tomoyo Nosaki, an Aromatherapist and Story Massage Instructor.

Images: Mary Atkinson / Cocoro