A day in the life of… a sports massage therapist

Have you ever wondered what a typical day may be like in the life of a therapist? You can find out just that in our regular ‘A day in the life of…’ feature, found in every issue of our membership magazine, International Therapist. This is one of many ways we celebrate the wonderful work of FHT members.

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In our Winter issue, Sheree Phelps, MFHT, gave us a glimpse of what she may get up to on a typical working day. Read Sheree’s ‘a day in the life of…’ below:

8AM I normally wake up, have a quick read of the paper and go through my social media while lying in bed.

10AM After pottering around the house, doing laundry and having breakfast, I head down to the gym (three out of five days a week) and have a swim, then a body balance or aquafit class. I’m not always this disciplined – having such a physical job, I take each week as it comes.

11.30AM I set my room up, pop the heated bed on and send out messages to any new clients who came the day before to see how they have been since their treatment.

12PM I see my first client of the day for dry needling. My client has had a tremor in his left arm for more than three years. He’s had every test, prod and poke a doctor can give and they have shrugged their shoulders at what to do. After treating his family, they asked me if I could help. The results so far have been outstanding. After one session of dry needling his flexor and extensor forearm muscles, he had 10 hours without the tremor. The second appointment gave him two days’ relief, and the third, a whole weekend. We are continuing with one appointment a week and monitoring the progress. I may never know what started it, but if I can help slow or stop it, then it will be my greatest achievement.

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1PM My next client is a 78-year-old golfer who’s lost range of movement in his swing. A few simple sports massage treatments on his hips and glutes and he’s back on the course. He is my oldest client and even brought his wife along to meet me, so she could thank me.

2PM I have a mountain biker who always presents with new injuries, niggles, twisted kneecaps or delayed onset muscle soreness from his last ride. A regular in the clinic, he has referred many clients from the biking world to me.

3PM I’m jumping in my car, driving to a client’s home, while eating half a sandwich and drinking Pepsi Max (which keeps me going on long days).

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3.30PM I reach my client’s home and offer treatments, mainly for relaxation and lymphatic drainage. Her dog, Lulu, sits in with us and watches my every move. Lulu is happy to see me because I bring her a carrot each week as a treat.

4.30PM The other half of my sandwich is downed and often my client gives me a slice of whatever she has baked that day for me to have on the way home. I do love my clients, but not just for the free cakes!

5PM The first of the evening clients come in. This one is off to New Zealand, cycling the length of the two main islands for a charity, the Pilgrim Bandits, and raising money for ex-service personnel and wounded soldiers. I give him sports massage before and after his training.

6PM I often have a relaxation or pregnancy massage client in, and they feel ready to sleep when they go home. Some of them even bring their pyjamas to go home in. I don’t blame them, with the candles burning and dimmed lights, my treatment room is rather cosy.

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7PM I tidy up, clean the room and pop a towel load in the wash, then head home.

8.30PM I’m grabbing some dinner, not always the healthiest, but I try my best. I round up my day, replying to any messages and returning phone calls.

10.30PM I collapse into bed, grateful for the clients I have and the help I’ve been able to give. I smile, knowing that in the morning I’ll be waking up to a job I love.

 

Not yet an FHT member?

Join today and enjoy more articles like this in our online reading room and quarterly membership magazine, International Therapist. As a member, you can access lots of other benefits, too, such as tailor-made insurance policies and a listing on our Accredited Register of complementary therapists, independently approved by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care (eligibility criteria apply). Click here to learn more about the benefits of being an FHT member

 

 

FHT Ambassador in local press after inspiring students at a local college

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FHT Ambassador Louise Summerscales recently appeared in her local newspaper, Chad, following a talk at West Nottinghamshire College, where Louise inspired spa therapy students.

The article talks about how Louise gave students an insight into the therapy industry, promoting the FHT and the highest standards in professional practice, as well as sharing her own therapy journey and how she discovered the benefits of complementary therapies.

The FHT Ambassador programme puts a trusted, trained FHT representative in classrooms across the UK, giving students valuable information about regulating bodies, insurance, and all the valuable support the FHT has to offer at every step of their therapy career. Students are awarded two CPD points for attending these talks and are given a certificate for their portfolio.

As the article notes, Louise was also on hand to assess a practical-led session involving students giving her a professional detox body wrap.

Read the full article in Chad

Find out more about the FHT Ambassador Programme

FHT member takes bronze at European Massage Championships

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Many congratulations to FHT member Tamer Morsy who was recently awarded a bronze medal at the European Massage Championships.

Tamer, who started his massage career last year, finished third in the beginners category at the European Massage Championships, held in Italy from 30 March to 1 April.

Monica Paslaru

One of the expert judges for this category was Monica Paslaru, who is also a member of the FHT. Monica is pictured left with gold, silver and bronze medal winners, Valentina Albano (Italy), Daliana Dumitra (Romania), and Tamer Morsy (UK).

No stranger to awards, Tamer also received recognition at the UK’s inaugural National Massage Championships last year, coming in second place in the spa wellness category and third in advanced massage.

FHT member in the press

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An article about FHT Member Sarah Woodhouse recently featured on the website of Bury Free Press, highlighting her work as a reflexologist and Bowen practitioner.

The article talks about how Sarah has expanded her business, now offering treatments to children after she was able to support her son with a knee problem and asthma.

Sarah is quoted in the article saying, ‘I’m passionate about people and their long term health and wellbeing. I believe we can see holistic therapy working alongside our lovely NHS.

‘I enjoy being at Neal’s Yard as I can be out and about on the ‘shop floor’ meeting people and talking to customers. Children are our future and as I have had such great success with adults, I thought it important this is accessible to children.’

Read the full article here

Lavender farm fun for Chester FHT Local Support Group

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The Chester FHT Local Support Group enjoyed a visit to a lavender farm in Rainford, near St Helens, writes group coordinator Dee Kelsall.

We had a great turnout, with a group of 15, and the weather was glorious.

Attending a lecture, we learned about the growing of the plants, as well as the quality-control methods used at the farm. And we heard the interesting background story of the frankincense that is also distilled on the farm.

After going into the fields and picking lavender, we had the opportunity to take the lavender into the laboratory and watch it being distilled into oil.

In addition, we visited the rescued animals at the farm, had a farmhouse buffet lunch and visited the shop.

We look forward to returning to the farm this year and welcoming new members.

 

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 Winter 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.

 

 

 

 

School for thought

FHT’s Editor and Communications Manager, Karen Young, visits the NHS Natural Health School team in North Yorkshire

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From left to right: Karen Young, Gwyn Featonby, Beverley Harrison, Sarah Grant, and NHS Natural Health School student, Lorraine Cole

One cold morning in January, I travelled from Southampton to Harrogate to meet with Gwyn Featonby, Sarah Grant and Beverley Harrison – three members of the award-winning team that head up the NHS Natural Health School, based at Harrogate District Hospital, Harrogate and District Foundation Trust (HDFT).

I only had time to spend a few hours with this lovely trio but it was well worth the 500-mile round trip (actually, make that 507, because I overshot Harrogate station, checking emails on my phone!).

The school, which was officially launched in May 2018, is the first NHS-approved and owned complementary therapy school, run by NHS employees. It was developed to create a self-sustaining model of care for patients, delivered by therapists trained to the highest standards of care expected of any health professional working within the NHS. But as the team will be more than happy to tell you, this didn’t just happen ‘overnight’ – it took four years and a lot of hard work to get to where they are today.

When Sarah took on the role of Patient Information and Health and Wellbeing Manager at the Sir Robert Ogden Macmillan Centre, HDFT, in 2014, part of her responsibility was to develop and improve the existing complementary therapy service. At the time, it comprised of six self-employed therapists, who took turns to provide four hours of treatment a week to self-referring patients. While the therapists offered a very good level of service, there was no consistency for those accessing treatment, and no measures in place to show the true value of the service to patients and staff. As such, it was seen as more of a ‘nice to have’, informal spa, than a service that offered real therapeutic potential.

Sarah quickly set to work to future-proof and improve the complementary therapy service. As well as securing dedicated space for delivering therapies and training within the newly built Centre, Julie Crossman, MFHT – one of the original therapy team members – was tasked with overseeing an audit of the complementary therapy service using MYCAW*, so that they could start to build an evidence base of the treatments provided. A little later Sarah brought Gwyn on board, to develop a therapy training programme that would meet both CQC (Care Quality Commission) and industry standards and equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge to work confidently and safely with patients with complex health needs.

When I walked into the Centre less than a fortnight ago, I have to say, it felt very calm and welcoming, and as if the NHS Natural Health School has been running smoothly for many years as opposed to months. Today, the model created by Sarah, Gwyn and the team means that for each cohort of students they have on a training pathway at a time, 72 patients are removed from the complementary therapy service waiting list.

Self-referring is also a thing of the past, with all patients now being referred by a health professional working at the Centre. Many of these health professionals have experienced the treatments first-hand, after accessing these when a patient has cancelled or been unable to attend an appointment. Others have simply seen how different therapies have helped to resolve issues such as pain management or sleep difficulties in patients, which previously might have required referral to a specialist, costing the NHS even more precious time and money.

Sarah also highlighted that an unexpected benefit of providing health professionals access to the complementary therapy service is that they feel valued and cared for, and as word travels fast in the medical community, this has vastly helped to improve recruitment at the hospital. Staff who feel valued are also more likely to volunteer to do overtime, because they’re happy to ‘give a little something back’.

So, what’s next? Once the team are completely happy with the model, they hope to introduce it to other departments within the hospital and then, ultimately, license it out to other Trusts, so that these too can benefit from a self-sustaining complementary therapy service, which has quality and patient-centred care at the core. It certainly seems to be a win-win situation for all involved – namely a struggling NHS system, over-burdened health professionals in danger of burn out, therapists in need of hands-on experience working with complex patients and, most importantly, patients in need of support.

Keen to learn more about the NHS Natural Health School and team?

Read an article by Gwyn about the NHS Natural Health School

Learn more about Gwyn winning 2018 FHT Tutor of the Year

Read about Gwyn and Julie winning a Complementary Therapy Award 2018

*MYCAW (Measure Yourself Concerns and Wellbeing) is a patient-reported outcome measure often use by complementary therapists working in cancer care.

FHT award winner profile: Alison Brown, FFHT

FHT Fellow, complementary therapist and business mentor, Alison Brown, has won an award for providing support and advice to other professional therapists in her area (and beyond…)

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The award was presented to Alison at the 2018 FHT Conference: Supporting the Integrated Healthcare Agenda, held at The King’s Fund, London, on 29 November.

Organised by the FHT, the Excellence Awards aim to bring much deserved recognition to qualified practitioners, students and tutors working in the fields of complementary, sports and holistic beauty therapy, who are promoting high standards in therapy training and practice.

As well as being a successful and busy complementary therapist herself, Alison is the founder of Ali’s Therapy Academy, providing business support and advice to other professional therapists who are excellent at giving treatments but perhaps lack the confidence or knowledge in how to market themselves effectively.

On top of that she’s also an FHT Local Support Group (LSG) Coordinator for the Worthing area. This is a voluntary role that aims to provide support, advice and learning opportunities to other local FHT members, through regular meetings and activities. As many therapists are self-employed, these are great opportunities for them to network, offer mutual support, and expand their knowledge and skill set.

Like all of FHT’s Coordinators – who, collectively, head up more than 60 groups across the UK – Alison goes to a great deal of effort to provide her group with a varied calendar of events each year. This includes treatment exchanges and talks from different health, wellbeing and business experts. However, what made her nomination for the 2018 FHT Local Support Group Coordinator of the Year Award stand out from the rest was that she was nominated by an FHT member who doesn’t live in her area and hasn’t physically attended any of her meetings.

For personal reasons, the member who nominated her is unable to travel to the group meetings near where she lives, but she has been able to enjoy the content of Alison’s meetings through Skype, webinars and other online platforms. In her own words, ‘In many industries, the way in which Alison works is commonplace, indeed essential to business performance, yet online communication for some reason is behind in the complementary healthcare world. Through her knowledge of social media, she has been able to share information with those who are unable to attend their local FHT meetings. Alison has far exceeded the requirements set out by the FHT to provide a local support group.’

Speaking about her win, Alison says: ‘I am very honoured to win this FHT award and to be recognised by a national organisation. It gives me confirmation and pride in what I do and achieve. This award is also for my local group – we come together to support one another’

Read more about FHT local support groups