Spread joy this June


Action for Happiness, a charity dedicated to creating more happiness in the world, has launched its latest calendar of daily suggested actions designed to encourage us to live better lives.

Joyful June aims to help people experience more positive emotions and enjoyment in life and is available to download in 14 different languages in both PDF and JPG formats.

Suggested actions for this month include the following:

  • Reframe a worry and try to find a positive way to respond
  • Ask someone what brings them joy and listen to their answer
  • Go outside and find the joy in doing something active
  • Make a list of favourite memories you feel grateful for
  • Be kind to you. Treat yourself the way you would treat a friend.

Download the Joyful June calendar here

Whole grain foods can alter serotonin in the gut


Adults consuming whole grain rye have lower plasma serotonin levels than people eating low-fibre wheat bread, according to a recent study by the University of Eastern Finland and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). In the study, the consumption of cereal fibre from rye or wheat was also found to reduce serotonin levels in the colon of mice. In light of the results, the health benefits of whole grain cereals may be linked, at least in part, to the alteration of serotonin production in the intestines, where the majority of the body’s serotonin is produced. The results of were published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The consumption of whole grain cereals has been associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers, but the underlying mechanisms are still poorly understood. There may be effects on bioactive compounds contained in whole grains, phytochemicals and fibres from which different metabolites are produced by intestinal bacteria.

The new study explored how the consumption of wholegrain rye modulates concentrations of different metabolites in the bloodstream. The study employed untargeted metabolite profiling, also known as metabolomics, which can simultaneously detect numerous metabolites, including those previously unknown.

For the first four weeks of the study, the participants ate 6 to 10 slices a day of low-fibre wheat bread, and then another four weeks the same amount of wholegrain rye bread or wheat bread supplemented with rye fibre. Otherwise, they didn’t change their diet. At the end of both periods, they gave blood samples, which were analysed by a combination of liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. Their plasma metabolite profiles between the different diet periods were then compared .

The consumption of wholegrain rye led to, among other things, significantly lower serotonin concentrations when compared to consumption of low-fibre wheat bread. The researchers also tested in mice whether the addition of cereal fibre to the diet changes serotonin production in the intestine. The diet of the mice was supplemented for nine weeks with rye bran, wheat bran or cellulose flour. The mice receiving rye or wheat bran had significantly lower serotonin in their colon.

Serotonin is best known as a neurotransmitter in the brain. However, serotonin produced by the intestines remains separated from the brain, serving various peripheral functions including modulation of gut’s motility. Increased blood serotonin has also been associated with high blood glucose levels.

“Whole grain, on the other hand, is known to reduce the risk of diabetes, and on the basis of these new results, the effect could at least partly be due to a decrease in serotonin levels,” says Academy Research Fellow Kati Hanhineva from the University of Eastern Finland.

The researchers are also interested in the association of serotonin with colorectal cancer.
“Some recent studies have found cancer patients to have higher plasma serotonin levels than healthy controls,” Scientist Pekka Keski-Rahkonen from IARC adds.

The consumption of wholegrain rye bread was also associated with lower plasma concentrations of taurine, glycerophosphocholine and two endogenous glycerophospholipids. In addition, the researchers identified 15 rye phytochemicals whose levels in the bloodstream increased with the consumption of rye fibre.





Government launches campaign on cosmetic procedures

The government has recently launched a new campaign to raise awareness about the potential risks of cosmetic procedures and to help the public make an informed decision before have a treatment.

The campaign comes amid a rise in demand for cosmetic procedures and the growth in unregulated companies offering cheaper services.

The advice and information for patients is applicable to all types of cosmetic procedure, with a focus on the most popular types: Botox®; dermal fillers; breast augmentation; liposuction; and lasers and light treatments.

Health Minister Jackie Doyle-Price said: ‘Many people don’t think fully about the consequences – both physical and mental – of having a cosmetic procedure. These are serious treatments, and you should think carefully before you leap in.

‘I’m particularly worried about people seeking treatments which are unsuitable for them, or who are not prepared for the mental health impact of an aesthetic change.

‘But we also need people to do their homework on the company or individual carrying out the procedure – if a deal looks too good to be true, then don’t be afraid to walk away. The consequences of botched procedures can be dreadful.’

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‎As part of the campaign, the government has published advice on the nhs.uk website, setting out the questions people should ask before they undergo any cosmetic procedure, including:

  • speaking to a professional about the outcomes you can expect;
  • choosing a reputable, safe and qualified practitioner who is trained in the specific treatment and either a regulated healthcare professional (for example, a doctor or nurse) or listed on an Accredited Register, overseen by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care; and
  • avoiding being pressured into making decisions on treatments without time to fully reflect.

Serious complications of cosmetic procedures can include infection, nerve damage, blindness, blood clots, scarring, and in rare cases have resulted in death.

Yoga could help with depression during pregnancy

Yoga pregnancyYoga-based therapies can help manage antenatal depression, according to a review published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice.

A team of scientists in the UK and Singapore conducted a systematic review of six clinical studies, involving 405 pregnant mothers, that examined the effects of yoga on depression during pregnancy.

All six studies showed reductions in depression scores, indicating that yoga is a ‘promising non-pharmalogical modality’ for improving the psychological health of expectant mothers.

Participants recruited for the trials reported mild depressive systems, therefore larger studies may be needed to examine the effects of yoga on severe prenatal depression.

Read the review at fht.org.uk/IT-128-yoga-pregnancy

We hope you enjoyed this article, which was first published in the Spring 2019 issue of International Therapist!

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Quote of the week

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In an article on yoga for dementia in the latest edition of International Therapist, Tania Plahay tells us that yoga is highly adaptable and for everyone.

Tania says, ‘Older people often say to me, “Oh, I’m too stiff to do yoga.” To me, that is like saying, “I’m too dirty to have a shower.” Yoga is highly adaptable and suitable for all people.’

Read Tania’s article

Manchester North coordinator promotes FHT Local Support Groups in new video

Manchester North FHT Local Support Group (LSG) coordinator Martin Thirlwell has recently created an informative video to highlight the benefits of the FHT and being part of an LSG.

The video gives us an interesting glimpse of a recent meeting, where group members attended a workshop on first aid, learning potentially life-saving skills.

Group members talk about their impressions of the meeting and how beneficial it is to network with other local therapists.

Martin says: ‘We came up with the idea to film the promotional video to give people an insight into what the LSG evenings involve, what they include, and what you can learn from attending these events. We always try to involve audience participation and make these evenings as interesting as possible.

‘It also gives the opportunity for people to share the video to promote what the LSG meetings are all about, demonstrating holistic therapies from a range of qualified speakers and bringing together likeminded people for a chance to network.’

Find your local group and feel part of a therapy community!

Local groups are a valuable hub for all those with a passion for therapies. Come along to hear from excellent speakers about the latest therapies and business ideas, take part in outings and social events, enjoy treatment swaps and share best practice.


We hope you enjoyed this article, which was first published in the Spring 2019 issue of International Therapist!

International Therapist is the FHT’s membership magazine. Published on a quarterly basis, it offers a broad range of articles – from aromatherapy and electrolysis, to sports injuries and regulation updates. The magazine is a membership benefit and is not available off-the-shelf or by subscription.

Join today to start receiving the leading magazine for professional therapists.


A big ‘Thank You!’ to our nurses


Held on the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birthday, Nurses’ Day is held on 12 May each year to celebrate the contribution that nurses make to the health and wellbeing of all.

The day is recognised and supported by the Royal College of Nurses, which provides guidance and resources to nurses looking to mark the day with a special party (see www.rcn.org.uk/nurses-day/event-guide for more information).Janet Cairnie.jpg

Janet Cairnie, MFHT, is lead Complementary Therapy Practitioner (Renal Services) at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, where different activities will be held throughout the hospital to celebrate Nurses’ Day. Along with several members of her therapy team, she will be based at Salford hospital on 12 May, to offer free mini treatments to nurses, including massage, aromatherapy, reflexology and reiki.

‘It’s our way of showing our appreciation for the long hours, dedication and commitment provided by the nurses we work alongside,’ Janet told the FHT.

‘While we are normally based in the renal unit, all nurses, from all departments, are invited to have a treatment, including those working in the smaller satellite units, like Wigan and Bolton, where we will have one or two therapists present on the day. The nurses are so busy that they usually only get the chance to come and see us during their breaks, but it’s still nice to see them smiling and relaxed, even if it is just for 10 minutes!’

We’d love to hear from other FHT members who are getting involved with activities to celebrate Nurses’ Day, no matter how big or small the event or initiative. Please get in touch with us by email at communications@fht.org.uk