Herbalist garden wins silver at Hampton Court Flower show

A garden that promotes the role of plants and herbs in health has won a silver medal at this year’s RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.

Checkov's garden_low res

Anton Chekhov’s Garden, designed by Anna Benn and Hannah Gardner, is based on the country estate near Moscow, where Chekhov, one of Russia’s most notable writers, wrote his famous play The Seagull.

Chekhov, who lived from 1860-1904, was also a doctor and herbalism is said to play a very strong part in Russian medicine and culture. This is illustrated in the garden’s use of many medicinal plants, such as Calendula officinalis, Menthe piperata and Inula helenium.

The garden is sponsored by the Anton Chekhov Foundation, promoting his legacy, and made in association with the College of Medicine, who supported the garden due to its link with arts in health and the benefits of plants and herbs, the topics of two recent conferences held by the College.

Read more about Anton Chekhov’s Garden

Action for Happiness jump back this July


This month Action for Happiness urges us to take a step back by learning how to be resilient and cope with life’s ups and downs.

The movement publishes monthly calendars, offering daily affirmations on the theme of the respective month. ‘Jump Back July’ follows ‘Joyful June’, ‘Meaningful May’, ‘Active April’, ‘Mindful March’, ‘Friendly February’ and ‘Happy January.’

Suggestions for this month include the following:

  • Make a list of the things you’re looking forward to
  • Get the basics right – eat well, exercise and go to bed on time
  • Write worries down and save them for a specific ‘worry time’
  • And remember we all struggle at times – it’s part of being human

Download the calendar


NHS celebrates 70th birthday


On 5 July 1948 Aneurin Bevan, UK Health Secretary of the post-War Labour government, launched the National Health Service (NHS). He saw his vision realised, to have an overarching healthcare system that linked hospitals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, opticians and dentists, and was free for all at the point of delivery.

Today the NHS celebrates its 70th birthday, delivering lifesaving work since 1948.

Treating 1.4 million people every day, the NHS has countless success stories over the years, including discovering the link between smoking and cancer; introducing mass vaccinations for polio and other life-threatening diseases; reducing infant mortality dramatically; performing the first successful hip replacement and IVF procedures; setting up screening programmes for breast and cervical cancer; and more recently introducing a revolutionary robotic arm at St Mary’s Hospital in London for patients with fast or irregular heartbeats.

The NHS is asking the public to join in with the NHS70 celebrations, ‘talk about the wide array of opportunities being created by advances in science, technology and information’ and to thank the NHS staff, ‘the everyday heroes – who are always there to greet, advise and care for us.’

Find out more about NHS70



Public attitudes towards ageing can be harmful for our health and wellbeing

Elderly couple

The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) has recently published a new report highlighting how negative attitudes towards ageing can harm our health and wellbeing.

The report says that attitudes towards ageing are generated and reinforced with negative newspaper headlines, pressure from the beauty industry to use ‘anti-ageing’ products, prejudice in the workplace and lack of contact between older and younger generations.

The findings suggest that 64% of people don’t have a single friendship with an age gap of 30 years or more. The report also said that ‘Among those who identify as from a black ethnic background, attitudes to ageing and older people were overwhelmingly more positive.’

The RSPH calls for more to be done to promote positive attitudes towards ageing, including through educational and workplace programmes, analysis of the representation of older people in the media and to end the use of the term ‘anti-ageing’ in the cosmetics and beauty industry.

These anti-ageing narratives are described as particularly harmful for older women, who often experience severe dissatisfaction with their bodies, as a result of unrealistic beauty standards. As little as 12% of older women are said to be satisfied with their body size.

The report says that since we are all ageing and it is a natural part of life, it is dangerous and nonsensical to suggest it is somehow undesirable.

Read the report





Sensory-based food education in early childhood leads to healthy eating habits


Sensory-based food education given to 3–5 year-old children increases their willingness to choose vegetables, berries and fruit, according to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland. Sensory-based food education offers new tools for promoting healthy dietary habits in early childhood education and care. The findings were published in Public Health Nutrition.

The researchers used the sensory-based food education method, Sapere, which makes use of children’s natural way of relying on all of the five senses when learning new things: by looking at, smelling, tasting, touching and listening to new things. In the Sapere method, children are given an active role around food, and they are encouraged to share their sensory experiences.

The researchers compared children in different kindergarten groups. Some were offered sensory-based food education, while others weren’t. Children were offered a snack buffet containing different vegetables, berries and fruit to choose from, and the researchers took photos of their plates to analyse their willingness to choose and eat these food items.

The findings show that sensory-based food education given in kindergarten increased children’s willingness to choose vegetables, berries and fruit – especially among children whose mothers have a lower educational background. On average, children of lower educated parents tend to eat less vegetables, berries and fruit. This is how food education given in the kindergarten can help even out dietary differences between families.

“An interesting finding is that the Sapere food education method seems to improve the eating atmosphere in kindergarten groups. This encouraged children who, according to their parents, were picky eaters, to choose a more diverse selection of vegetables, berries and fruit on their plate,” says Nutritionist Kaisa Kähkönen, from the University of Eastern Finland.

Positive and personal food-related experiences gained in the early years can help modify dietary preferences in a direction that is beneficial for health. Dietary preferences learned in early childhood often stick with a person all the way to adolescence and adulthood.

The Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition at the University of Eastern Finland studies how food education in early childhood can promote good nutrition among children and promote the establishment of healthy dietary habits.

The study was carried out in collaboration between researchers from the Universities of Eastern Finland and Jyväskylä. The study was funded by the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation.





Supporting the wellbeing of carers

Closeup of old people hands holding together outdoor

Carers UK has today highlighted the importance of wellbeing in people who support the physical and mental health needs of others in a new report, published as part of Carers Week.

Carers Week runs from 11-16 June 2018, and aims to raise awareness of the challenges carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK.

Discussing the results of a recent survey, Carers UK says that the physical and mental strain of caring is jeopardising the ability of unpaid carers to care in the future, as more than half of UK carers expect their physical and mental health and wellbeing to get worse in the next two years.

It is estimated that there are around 6.5 million carers in the UK who support a member of family or friend with a disability, physical illness or mental health problem. However, a spokesperson from Carers UK says that “without the right support, carers often put their own health needs to the ‘back of the queue’. As a result, many see their physical and mental health worsen.”

There are 6.5 million carers in the UK looking after a family member or friend with disabilities, illnesses, mental health problems or extra needs as they grow older.

Heléna Herklots CBE, Chief Executive of Carers UK on behalf of Carers Week says, “Whilst caring can be hugely rewarding, it can also have a huge effect on us, our lives and our plans. Unpaid carers are often unprepared for the impact caring can have and frequently put their own health and wellbeing needs to the ‘back of the queue’.

This year, we’re asking individuals and communities up and down the UK to help unpaid carers stay ‘Healthy and Connected’. Whoever you are, whatever you do, you can make a difference by helping make it easier for people to recognise their role as a carer and get support from the communities and services around them.”

Recognising the need to support carers, FHT member and 2017 FHT Highly Commended Complementary Therapist of the Year, Anne-Marie Rose was recently quoted in an article by The Carers’ Centre (Bath and North East Somerset) charity. In the article Anne-Marie says, “I am keen to support carers in recognition for all their hard work and dedication to their caring role. I offer low cost reflexology sessions to allow carers an opportunity to take some time out from their caring duties, to focus on themselves and be nurtured in a calm and peaceful environment.”

If you are supporting carers this week, we would love to hear from you. Please send in a short post-event write-up and pictures to the FHT, so that we can potentially give you a mention in International Therapist and/or on our blog. Please email dralls@fht.org.uk, writing Carers Week in the subject box. Please ensure that the pictures you take are high-resolution, in case we would like to include these in the magazine.

Read the Carers UK Carers Week Research Summary