Indoor air pollution as harmful as car fumes, study finds


The shampoo, deodorants, air fresheners, cleaning products and even perfumes in our homes could be creating as much air pollution as the transportation sector, a new study finds.

Conventional wisdom maintains that outside air pollution from cars, industry and public transport are the main sources of air pollution. While this was true in previous decades, today particle-forming emissions from chemical products are about twice as high as those from transportation. According to this new study, as cars get cleaner, VOCs come increasingly from consumer products.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) atmospheric scientist Jessica Gilman, a co-author of the new paper, attributes this disparity partially to differences in how we store those products versus fuels. “Gasoline is stored in closed, hopefully airtight, containers and the VOCs in gasoline are burned for energy,” she said. “But volatile chemical products used in common solvents and personal care products are literally designed to evaporate. You wear perfume or use scented products so that you or your neighbor can enjoy the aroma. You don’t do this with gasoline,” Gilman said.

What are volatile organic compounds (VOCs)?

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are any chemical compound that evaporates into the atmosphere at room temperature, potentially causing health effects within the environment.

Many VOC concentrations are up to ten times higher indoors than outdoors. They are emitted by a wide array of products, including paints, varnishes and wax, as well as many cleaning, disinfecting, cosmetic, degreasing and hobby products. It is thought around 350 different types of VOCs exist in our indoor environment.

What effects can VOCs have?

VOCs can react with the atmosphere to produce either ozone or particulate matter—both of which are regulated in many countries due to the potential health impacts, including lung damage.

There’s a wide range of long- and short-term health effects associated with exposure to VOCs, including eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, loss of coordination, nausea, and some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans.

How can you reduce VOCs in your home?

Store paint, paint thinners, pesticides, particle board, fuel, cleaners, and similar materials in a detached shed or garage to protect your family from VOCs.

Let fresh air in by opening a window, or using exhaust fans in the kitchen or bathroom.

Decorating with houseplants is an easy, inexpensive way to absorb VOCs and other toxins. Some of the best plants for cleaning your air are aloe, spider plants, chrysanthemums, Chinese evergreens, and peace lilies.

Cleaning regularly can reduce VOCs already in your home, and can be done without introducing new VOCs. Use lemon juice and olive oil as a healthy wood polish, or a few drops of tea tree oil mixed with water to prevent mildew in your bathroom.

Dig into DIY deodorisers. Herbs and flowers can make a lovely potpourri, and simmering cinnamon sticks, orange slices, cloves, or other spices on the stove will produce a welcoming aroma. Natural essential oils are also popular as air fresheners.

Read about the study here. You can also learn more about making your own products with essential oils at our 2018 Training Congress, where Penny Price will be running a session entitled Making Aromatherapy Skincare Products. Find out more on our website.



Psychologies readers wrap their minds around mindfulness

Sean Collins pictureThe FHT was delighted to receive a request from Psychologies for a web article by Seán Collins, about how mindfulness techniques can help to protect the health and wellbeing of complementary therapists. A speaker at this year’s FHT Training Congress, Seán teaches meditation and mindfulness to therapists and other health professionals, as well as hospices, charities, corporate companies and universities. He is also a senior mentor within Zenways, where he mentors almost 20 qualified mediation teachers.

You can read his run down on winding down here.

Want to learn more?

Seán will be giving a talk on mindfulness for therapists as part of the 2018 FHT Training Congress, taking place at Holistic Health Show, NEC Birmingham, on Sunday, 20 May and Monday, 21 May.

The two-day event will feature a range of expert speakers, educating you on various topics, from therapy specific modalities to general business advice, all of which will gain you one point to count towards your continuing professional development (CPD)With 24 CPD sessions for you to choose from, don’t miss the opportunity to learn new skills and grow your business.

Sessions cost only £12 for FHT members and £15 for non-FHT members.

Book your FHT Training Congress tickets here

Remember to also register for free entry to the Holistic Health Show on their website here.

FHT 2018 Training Congress at Holistic Health

One in four Brits have never checked for skin cancer

Woman With Suntan Lotion At The Beach In Form Of The Sun

Nearly a quarter of Brits have never checked their skin for life-threatening changes, despite a surge in skin cancer deaths over the last decade, new research suggests.

One in four (23%) adults in Britain admit they have never checked for changes in appearance or number of moles on their skin, which can be a major warning sign of the disease.

The independent study of 2,027 people was commissioned by skin checking app Miiskin, which has teamed up with the British Skin Foundation charity in the campaign to battle the most common cancer in the UK. £1 for each free UK download of the app will go to charity for one month.

The study also revealed that three per cent had a mole they were concerned about for more than three months, but hadn’t had it checked by a medical professional. With one in 50 currently having a persistently itchy or bleeding mole.

Surprisingly, 17% of Britain’s under-35s believed they were too young or weren’t exposed to the sun enough to develop skin cancer. Just under one in 10 under-45s (9%) thought they should only check their skin if advised to by a medical professional.

The self-checking message does seem to be sinking in for some though, with nearly a third (31%) doing monthly checks – the frequency recommended by the British Skin Foundation.

Almost a fifth of under 35s are now taking ‘selfies’ to monitor their skin for moles, with 18 per cent using photos to document changes.

However, people are still taking risks with their skin health. One in 10 (11%) use tanning beds – 13% of which admit to sessions once or multiple times a week.

Only two fifths of Brits (38%) say they always use sun cream when exposed to the sun and despite warnings about the dangers one in 20 under 35s (5%) say they rely on sunbeds for a winter tan.

Skin cancer is on the rise in Britain, with more than 100,000 new cases diagnosed annually and 2,500 deaths from the disease every year. Latest Government statistics indicate a 35.8% 10-year rise in skin cancer deaths.

Jon Friis, founder and CEO of Miiskin, said: ‘With cases of skin cancer increasing in the UK, the self-checking message is starting to sink in for some, but not all. Keeping track of changes to your skin can be a challenge – and many people are now using technology to spot and document changes to their skin. Early detection is important for successful treatment.’

Skin cancer is mainly caused by over-exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. Non-melanoma skin cancers are the most common, with melanoma being one of the most dangerous.

The Miiskin app, which has already received 100,000 downloads globally, including 20,000 in the UK, was created to help people digitally track how skin and moles look, with reminders to routinely check for changes. It does not try to diagnose skin cancer or tell users that they are at risk or not. Those who do spot changes should seek advice from their GP or another medical professional.


To read guidelines on identifying potential signs of skin cancer on clients’ skin, click here

Low-cost CPD with expert speakers at FHT’s 2018 Training Congress – Get your tickets NOW!

FHT 2018 Training Congress at Holistic Health

The FHT is proud to be hosting the 2018 FHT Training Congress at the Holistic Health show in Birmingham. The two-day event will feature a range of expert speakers, educating you on various topics from therapy specific modalities to general business advice, all of which will gain you one point to count towards your continuing professional development (CPD). With 24 CPD sessions for you to choose from, don’t miss the opportunity to learn new skills and grow your business.

mary and maria

FHT Vice Presidents Mary Dalgleish and Maria Mason both gave two talks at the 2017 FHT Training Congress.

The FHT Training Congress is being held in three private seminar rooms, just outside of the Holistic Health Show hall in hospitality suites, 28, 29 and 30. You can find the training congress using this map. Also, come and see the FHT stand at D12 and D18 to chat to the team and enjoy discounts in your Members’ shop.

Remember to also register for free entry to the Holistic Health Show on their website here.

Sessions cost only £12 for members and £15 for non-members.

1cpdroundel1Here’s a snapshot of what’s on this year…
  • Ayurvedic foot massage
  • Effective use of crystals for stress and anxiety
  • Laughter yoga
  • Kinesiology taping for the athlete
  • Fascia – facts and fiction
  • Charge what you’re worth and get it
  • Mindfulness for therapists and their therapies
  • Getting the most out of social media

Book your FHT Training Congress tickets here

speaker triptych

Ten tips for men to get in shape in 2018

Press ups pexels-photo-176782

Ashley Verma, Founder of Define London, says men need to embrace different exercise methods this year, including ‘the trend taking over the nation: barre.’ Barre workouts involve a series of postures, aided by a stationary hand-rail, as used in ballet.

Verma has outlined 10 top tips that men should follow if they want to get in shape in 2018:

1) Be patient and set realistic goals

A lot of men who have a competitive nature tend to be in a rush to achieve results: to be the strongest, the fastest, the best. Take a step back and really think about what you want to achieve and at what point in your journey. This will give you the best results in the long-term.

2) Run in ad breaks

Keep active wherever possible, even if that’s jogging on the spot or squatting in the five minute ad breaks in between your favourite TV shows. Why not try and fit in 50 press ups in between penalty kicks? Or do weights while your football team sing the national anthem? Quick hits make a difference, while getting your head into the right mindset at the same time.

3) Be more flexible

Ensure you spend double the time stretching your tight muscles as your flexible muscles. Frequent male problem areas are the hamstrings, shoulders, and lower back so pay extra attention here to avoid preventable injuries.

4) Vary your fitness routine

Alternate your exercise activities to stay motivated to work out — variety is good for both the mind and the body, and you may learn new things about your body with the different workouts you do. Don’t be afraid to try the more stereotypically feminine forms of exercise such as yoga, ballet barre and pilates, as many top athletes swear by these methods, and you may be surprised by the results…

5) Find a fitness buddy

If you need more motivation to stick with your fitness and diet plan, don’t feel like you’re alone. Workout with a friend to heighten your focus on fitness, but also to add an edge of competition. Go further by choosing a buddy who’s a bit more advanced, stronger or faster, as they’ll make you feel challenged. Working harder to keep up will help you reach your fitness goals.

6) Develop strength-training exercises

For strength training, all you need is your own body weight. Strength training means using resistance to create work for your muscles. Instead of just focusing on strengthening the upper body one day and then the lower the next, pair it all together. This way you get a full-body workout that will maximize your daily calorie burn.

7) Get stronger fast

Do the same amount of exercise in 10 percent less time. This will force your muscles to work harder, whilst improving your endurance at the same time. A bonus is you will have more time to catch up on the sports highlights.

8) Create music playlists that will inspire and take you further

We can all relate to certain tracks making you feel happier and more upbeat, so make sure your playlist reflects the mood you want to be in while you work out. Quick motivational music will give you better results in the long-term.

9) Listen to your body

Your body is your greatest ally when it comes to working out, so it’s important to never ignore what it is telling you. If it’s telling you to slow down, abide. If your body is telling you that you have more to give, turn it up. You may embark on a certain training method to find that is not the body type you are striving for. A week in you may hit setbacks, will you be prepared to mentally handle them? Have a game plan and adapt as you go along.

10) Journal your workouts

Write down progress, thoughts and how you found certain workouts. It can be an invaluable tool for checking progress and analysing what works for you, what doesn’t, and why. Journal your gym sessions and look back weeks ahead for motivation and ideas of what to try next.



Seaweed extract could protect skin from UV radiation

seaweed_low res

Scientists from King’s College London have discovered a compound in seaweed that could protect human skin from sun damage without having a negative impact on marine ecosystems.

Known as palythine, the mycosporine-like amino acid, is produced by organisms found in shallow water that are exposed to a lot of sunlight. Under laboratory conditions, the palythine was found to absorb harmful rays from the sun and protect human cells from UV induced damage.

Most formulations of sunscreen contain synthetic UV radiation filters that can cause damage to the environment if they make their way in to water systems, potentially harming vulnerable marine life, including coral, microorganisms and fish.

Further research on palythine could therefore lead to the development of more natural, non-toxic sunscreen that would protect human skin effectively without negatively impacting the environment.




A single workout may provide immediate protection for the heart

muscular legs with a resistance band

A new review published in JAMA Cardiology and led by Liverpool John Moores University’s Professor Dick Thijssen, suggests a single workout can immediately protect the heart against cardiovascular disease.

It is widely accepted that a physically active lifestyle can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, this observation is generally attributed to exercise’s ability to reduce cardiovascular risk factors such as body mass, cholesterol levels, insulin levels and fat mass, among others. Usually this takes several weeks or even months.

Benefits of exercise, however, seem to be present far sooner. This new research shows  that only one episode of exercise may provide early protection of the heart for two to three hours, followed by a more robust and longer period of protection that emerges after 24 hours and remains for several days.

This theory is based on the well-known concept that the heart is protected against  a blockade of blood flow, such as a myocardial infarction, when it is repeatedly exposed to short periods of blood flow blockade, prior to the event. This ‘prepares’ the heart against damage. Various types of exercise seem to induce a comparable effect, leading to protection of the heart.

Dick Thijssen, who is a Professor in Cardiovascular Physiology and Exercise at the LJMU School of Sport and Exercise Sciences explains:

‘Protecting the heart through exercise is an easy, inexpensive, and powerful therapy that deserves greater recognition and further resources to establish the optimal dose. This is a key review summarising how a single bout of exercise can have a clear impact in keeping the heart adequately supplied with blood. Firstly, this means that one bout of exercise can cause clinically relevant protection against cardiovascular disease. Secondly, this means that benefits of exercise are present, even in the absence of changes in risk factors. These are both important and powerful messages for all who want to take up exercise.’

Researchers have recommended that one way clinicians could use this to help patients is with ‘prehabilitation’: a few sessions of exercise planned for the days preceding planned cardiac intervention. The authors hope this may reduce in-hospital mortality and morbidity, assuming, of course, that patients have the capacity for physical activity.